Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas

Who's Pat O'Brien? (For those who know, please feel free to skip ahead).

Pat O'Brien was an actor whose work for Warner Brothers back in the 1930s and 1940s is legendary. He appeared eight times together with Jimmy Cagney; most notably in "Angels With Dirty Faces" in 1938.

Two years later, he was forever immortalized in "Knute Rockne All-American" playing the lead role. Remember Ronald Reagan saying "win one for the Gipper?" This is it!

My personal favorite role of O'Brien's came many years later in 1959. He played the Chicago cop who tracked down George Raft (and Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon to a degree) in "Some Like It Hot".

By the late 1950s, movie roles for O'Brien were scarce. He began appearing on television quite regularly in westerns, drama anthologies, and the like.

In 1964, O'Brien scored a television special entitled "Here Pat O'Brien" which featured him singing and reciting stories. Someone at Recording Industries Corporation (RIC) thought quickly and issued a soundtrack of that TV special. It apparently sold well enough to let O'Brien try his hand with a Christmas album.

This album contains eleven tracks. But the record labels shows seventeen stories and poems contained within the eleven tracks. Hmmm...

When I transferred this, I decided to offer two versions of this. The first is in its original LP format - all eleven tracks preserved the way it is. The second version is the separate tracks version with each story or poem all to itself - for those who want to skip directly to a certain poem or story within.

O'Brien does a masterful job reciting poetry and reading stories (O Henry's "The Gift Of The Magi" is presented in its entirety here). The singing? Well...

Do you remember a favorite grandfather or uncle who took part in the Christmas sing song at your homes on Christmas? Their faint voices adding to the mix? Sounding like they were half asleep or about to pass out due to lack of oxygen? Then this will bring back some memories.

Click two for the Gipper:

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas (Original LP version)

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas (Separate tracks version)

Happy listening...


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