Wednesday, October 08, 2008

GM Chorus Flexi & Dodge Lawrence Welk Flexi (TWO REVIEWS)

In a previous post, I talked about the great website that is and mentioned several of the people I've met there. In today's post, we get to look at not ah-one, but ah-two Christmas cardboard flexis that were submitted by two longtime FLLLL members.

The first flexi was posted by Shemp at the Members Share forum of FLLLL. This was downloaded by me on November 28, 2006 at 3:25 PM.

Recorded especially for GM employees by GM employees, The General Motors Chorus was established in 1933 as one of the earliest employee activities within General Motors. I'm assuming this flexi was given to file and rank employees as a Christmas bonus.

Or perhaps they were played in the background throughout GM lunchrooms and UAW halls at Christmas time. In any case, you get a medley of standard Christmas carols on each side - all accompanied by a lone organ. The voices blend terrifically, the organ isn't too intrusive, and the end result is pleasing to the ear.

It's also a testament to its time. Back in the day, General Motors proudly sponsored this chorus - sending them to GM functions across the country. That ended back in 1978 when the GM Chorus became fully self sustained.

Today, there are approximately 80 members in the chorus, and less than one-half of the members are employed by, retired from, or spouses of GM employees. Membership is now open to anyone who loves to sing (and who preferably lives in the metro Detroit area).

If interested, check out the GM Chorus' website!

The same evening I downloaded the GM flexi, our friend PDMan, a longtime member of FLLLL, was inspired by Shemp to post his Christmas flexi - which I snagged at 9:12 PM.

I first learned of this Lawrence Welk Christmas flexi years earlier while visiting the Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records curated by the wonderful folks at WFMU-FM. If you dig deep enough, you'll find this very flexi and you can hear a snippet of this one-sided flexi.

Back in 1958, Lawrence Welk was hosting not one but TWO television shows for ABC - both sponsored by the Dodge Motor Company. So when Dodge needed help to push their new line of 1958 cars, they asked Welk if he'd be willing to lend a hand.

The idea was if you test drove a brand new 1958 Dodge, you would walk away with this flexi as a thank you. In some cases, people drove home with the flexi in their new Dodge!

With the assistance of "the luvly little Lennon Sisters", Welk opens the record by greeting us on behalf of "your nearby Dodge dealer." The Lennon Sisters sing "Merry Christmas From Our House To Your House" with wunnerful assistance from The Champagne Music Makers.

Welk thanks the Lennon Sisters, wishes you a very Merry Christmas, and utters a true Welkism as his closing line: "We'll be looking at you on television!".

Back cover of the Welk flexi

Shortly after Shemp and PDMan posted their flexis, I got into the spirit. On November 29, 2006, I posted an entry for the only Christmas flexi in my collection at that time - a 1954 Christmas Greetings Flexi from the one and only Liberace!

Earlier this year, an antiques store here in Fort Wayne had a physical copy of the Welk flexi which I picked up in ah-one and ah... I already used that joke earlier - no fair repeating. So that now makes two Christmas flexis in my collection!

I would love to find other Christmas flexis - I do recall that some time last year, a copy of the High Society flexi in the holiday section of the Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records sold for $80 or $90 on eBay.

And I would walk on through the wind, even walk on through the rain for a chance for to purchase this flexi.



Ernie said...

I've always had a soft spot for flexi-discs myself, ever since that one with whale sounds on it came in the mail with a National Geographic all those years ago. Back during Christmas in July, I pulled a plain brown bag out of a record sleeve when I went to record the record. Opening it up, I discovered a couple of postcards with embossed grooves! I need to dig those out and share them someday.

CaptainOT said...

Ernie - National Geographic had two flexis that I owned as a kid.

The first was Sir Winston Churchill's funeral (1965) and the other was the Apollo 11 moon landing (1969).

And I just found a Willie Tyler & Lester flexi training you to become a ventriloquist!


PDMan said...

My favorite Flexi that I had growing up came from an issue of Mad Magazine. The song (if you can call it that) was called "It's A Gas". You can figure it out from there I'm sure.

Cap'n - I sent you an e-mail -- hope you got it!

CaptainOT said...

PDMan - I have "It's A Gas" on my hard drive - it's a fun tune (belches notwithstanding).

I did get your e-mail - thanks for that and I'm greatly looking forward to hearing your shares this year!