Monday, December 24, 2012

All about (Christmas) Eve

You would think that being Jewish on Christmas Eve I would feel left out. Actually I love Christmas Eve. Here are two reasons why:

The first is an excerpt from my book, THE ME GENERATION… BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE ‘60s) – the perfect last minute gift.

On Christmas Eve, (my brother) Corey and I went to Disneyland. This is a secret only Jews know: Disneyland is empty on Christmas Eve. Practically all Christians are preparing for the big day so the park is wide open. No lines for anything. And when they have the big Christmas parade down Main Street there’s maybe twelve people watching it. In 24 hours they’ll be hanging on the light poles, but on December 24, the Magic Kingdom was ours.

The other great thing about Christmas Eve for me was that back in my disc jockey days I always worked that night (along with Christmas). In addition to making double-time for the long shifts ($5.00 an hour in Bakersfield! Multiply that by eight hours and suddenly I’m rich!!), the jocks who I substituted for always owed me. At one station the program director got the brilliant idea that it would be a great stunt for me to ride a rollercoaster for six hours. One of my fellow jocks graciously “volunteered” to go in my place. He grumbled to me that it wasn’t a fair trade-off and I said waa waa. “I had to play The Little Drummer Boy every 45 minutes,” I replied. “At least you’re allowed to throw up.”

But I generally enjoyed those shifts because I knew no one in management was ever listening. In between Brenda Lee and Nat King Cole Christmas standards I was out of control. Howard Stern woul’ve said “Jesus, man, tone it down.”

New Year’s Eve shows were also off-the wall. I didn’t do too many of those but an absolute classic was Howard Hoffman on WABC, New York in 1979. And for the first time since it originally aired it will be replayed in its entirety on Great Big Radio, one of the internet’s best radio stations. Also, from now until New Year’s Ever Great Big Radio will be playing the hits of 1979 along with stories that went along with that year. At the moment I can't think of any significant event that happened that year or any musical trend that was groundbreaking but I'm sure there were.  Check it out here

Whatever your plans are, have a safe and happy Christmas Eve. I’ll probably be at a deli.

14 comments:

Mitchell Hundred said...

Dateline: Washington, D.C., February 1979. President Carter's dalliance with the Afro hairstyle has ended after precipitating an international diplomatic crisis. Sources have informed Reuters that during a routine visit from OPEC envoy Bashar Suleiman, the President's fabulous frizzy locks accidentally poked the envoy's face several times. Offended, Suleiman threatened a repeat of the 1973 oil embargo, a prospect only headed off by assurances from President Carter and his staff that the problem would be dealt with immediately. White House Press Secretary Jody Powell released a statement saying that: "The President has recently undergone a very traumatic operation, and requests that the press leave him alone to grieve with his family over the loss of his hair."

Seriously, Ken, how could you forget about this story? It was all over the papers.

Mike Barer said...

Anymore, Christmas has become a secular holiday. If you work in retail, you notice that 90 per cent of Christmas songs talk about the Winter, the snow and the season in general. My wife loves Christmas, but hangs a menorah ornament, as well as some other Jewish type things on the tree, I also get a Hannukah corner in the house, amongst the decoration. I have long bragged that I have the best Christmas tree of any Jewish person around, although my late grandma Barer may not have seen the humor in that.

MCP said...

Article about Jews who wrote Christmas songs:

http://www.interfaithfamily.com/arts_and_entertainment/popular_culture/The_Jews_Who_Wrote_Christmas_Songs.shtml

According to the article, 12 of ASCAP's 25 Top Holiday songs were written by Jews.

goodman.dl said...

Christmas is great, except for how hard it is to get a table at the Chinese Restaurant.

Ray Barrington said...

I'm not Jewish, but I am working until midnight today, and yes, I'd rather be at Disneyland.

Jeff Rogers said...

Ken,
Surely you must have heard the terrific SNL film : "Christmastime for the Jews"

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/christmas-for-the-jews-song/1177606/

Rich Shealer said...

Well November 4th 1979 was my eighteenth birthday and the world would never be the same. Oh, and that was the same day the Iranian Hostage situation started and ran for the next 444 days. Which in turn spawned such blockbusters as Nightline and Argo.

Paul Duca said...

Except, of course, when Christmas Eve fell on Monday or Tuesday, and the park was closed then during the off-season.

DBA said...

Ken, how things have changed. Disneyland is super overwhelmingly Christmas-ey now, and for their trouble, that place is PACKED this whole week (pretty damn busy last week too). No more empty park on Christmas eve, not recently anyway.

Ron Rettig said...

I love the way you promo your book in the blog Ken. It reminds me of my youth when radio shows such as Jack Benny and Fibber McGee & Molly artfully and not so artfully worked the commercial into the show. Heck even early Tv shows did the same thing, so you are continuing a grand tradition of comedy writing.Happy Holidays!

Matt Patton said...

My favorite visits to Disney World both involved Christmas. One was a freezing-cold Friday after Thanksgiving. I was there with a church group, and I think we were about the only people in the park. Absolutely wonderful in spite of the rain turning to sleet. Main Street was lit up by lights in spite of the fact it was two in the afternoon it was so gray out.

Second time was the week before Christmas, 1992. More sun, more heat, but not many people, which did stop them from Christmas-ing full blast. I suspect that everybody by now has figured this out and that the park is stuffed. Which is a pity . . .

Bob Claster said...

The other great theme park secret is that the best day of the year to ride roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain is... Super Bowl Sunday.

Ron said...

Which day is best to visit Pacific Ocean Park (POP to the aficionados)? I especially like the ride in the revolving drum with the floor that drops away.

chuckcd said...

You mean you don't remember THE KNACK?