on your sleeve

Scrooge’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Christmas. Various Artists. 1984.

This is the soundtrack to a television special/home video release called Scrooge’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Christmas starring rock and roll has-beens from the 1960s and 70s like The Association, Paul Revere & The Raiders and Three Dog Night and whoever else needed the work (all of whom I would have assumed had fallen further than this by then).

Throughout his fifty-one year acting career Western heavy Jack Elam had worked with a number of top-drawer directors including Fritz Lang, King Vidor and Sergio Leone, but here he finds himself directed here by a Lou Tedesco, some guy whose other professional credits included some games shows or something (I don’t know what the hell most of those things listed are). Elam gives new meaning to the phrase “phoning it in” with his turn as the titular character in the show’s framing device which sees Scrooge peering into a magical snow globe that contains the various musical acts performing Christmas songs in very soft rock arrangements. Elam’s Scrooge is prompted along by a cheerful soap actress and if there’s a story at all it’s that Scrooge rightfully doesn’t care for any of the songs or performers until he has a Citizen Kane-referencing breakthrough mid-way through which allows him to at least half enjoy the remaining numbers.

This is the sort of production where the biggest musical star on hand is undoubtably Mike Love who gets to lip sync his way through 3 songs wearing 2 different styles of winter hat. That Mike pets a lamb throughout his first performance seems to be an unintentional homage to the cover of Pet Sounds. It’s all pretty poor quality stuff that can be viewed in its entirety on dailymotion if you have an hour to waste. I’d recommend it.

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