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"Scary ghost stories" for Christmas?
Submitted by Kevin Wuzzardo on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 9:15am.
As the old song says, it's the most wonderful time of the year. But every year at this time, that very song (It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, for those of you lagging a bit today) perplexes me thanks to one line. I guess it was back before Christmas 2004 when it first happened.
Back then I was working at a TV station in Lexington, KY, and was out on a story with a photographer named Brian Gilbert. As we drove around rural Kentucky one of the station's live trucks, we listened to Christmas music on the radio. I think it was Brian who first questioned the strange line in It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year that goes "There'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmas long, long ago." Huh?
In our glut of free time that day, Brian and I racked our brains trying to figure out what that line means. Now, we are far from the first or only people to wonder this same thing. Comedian Lewis Black even went off on a rant about the line in one of his performances. The only explanation Brian and I could come up with, and the only one I've been able to find so far, is that the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol is about three ghosts visiting Ebeneezer Scrooge to teach him the meaning of Christmas. But that's not good enough for me. That's just one story. And the song specifically says, "There'll be scary ghost stories" plural!
I discussed this dilemma of reasoning the other night with my fiancee and her parents. My fiancee suggested it was because perhaps the writers could not come up with anything else to rhyme with "tales of the glories." I've heard other people suggest this, but again, I don't buy it. How about "religious-themed stories" or "treasured old stories" or "family love stories" or "favorite gift stories," etc.? I could go on and on. The point is that there surely were other options to rhyme the line. So there must be a basis for it.
I have searched the Internet for answers. All I've been able to find out is that Eddie Pola and George Wyle (who also wrote the theme for Gilligan's Island) wrote the song in 1963 for singer Andy Williams. Alas, I can find no explanation about the scary ghost stories. If you have any answers or suggestions, please let me know. Until then Brian and I and so many other fans of Christmas song will go on wondering who is telling ghost stories as part of their yuletide celebration.
By: Kevin Wuzzardo