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Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo is a memoir by Judy Gail Krasnow about her father, Hecky Krasnow, the producer of such classic children’s records and holiday tunes as Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Frosty the Snowman,” I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas,” Peter Cottontail,” Suzy Snowflake,” I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” The Captain Kangaroo March,” Smokey the Bear,” Davy Crockett,” Little Red Monkey,” and The Little Engine That Could.”
The book includes remembrances of Hecky Krasnow’s working relationships with such legendary artists as Gene Autry, Rosemary Clooney, Dinah Shore, Nina Simone, Art Carney, José Ferrer, Burl Ives, Arthur Godfrey, and Captain Kangaroo. In addition to his profound influence on the children’s record industry an enormous business during the mid-twentieth century Hecky also produced, wrote, or engineered such adult fare as Rosemary Clooney’s Come On-a My House” and Me and My Teddy Bear”; Nina Simone’s classic album The Amazing Nina Simone; and the landmark Chad Mitchell Trio debut, The Chad Mitchell Trio Arrives!
Set against the dramatic backdrop of McCarthyism, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the birth of television and rock and roll, Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo is rich in anecdotes about the politics and history of the era, the stars Hecky produced, and an array of talented composers and conductors with whom Hecky collaborated, including Mitch Miller, Johnny Marks, Percy Faith, J. Fred Coots, Tommy Johnson, Sir Thomas Beecham, Rudolph Goehr, André Kostelanetz, and Arthur Fiedler.
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Judy Gail Krasnow is a professional storyteller, historical portrayal artist, Chautauqua scholar, singer-songwriter, speaker, and author. The younger daughter of Hecky Krasnow, Judy was often at her father’s side as he produced quality records for children. She sang backup and acted on many of Hecky’s projects with stars of the era, such as Captain Kangaroo and Art Carney, and even once performed on the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. She lives in Jackson, Michigan and Miami, Florida.From Publishers Weekly:
The producer of such classic children's songs as "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "Davy Crockett" and a bevy of others, Hecky Krasnow was involved with an inordinate amount of music that has since become ingrained in popular culture. In this wide-ranging narrative, youngest daughter Judy tells his story in great, at times frustrating, detail. As a child, Krasnow was able to meet and interact with virtually every star her father worked with, including Gene Kelly, Jackie Robinson, Rosemary Clooney and Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, and her encounters make for a number of warm anecdotes. Present for many recording sessions, including Gene Autry's canonized recording of "Rudolph," Krasnow takes readers into the studio and behind the scenes of the changing cultural climate of the 1950s and '60s. Unfortunately, her memoir is hampered by a tin ear for dialogue and a strong tendency toward overmodified attribution ("'But there is already an inbuilt audience for the song,' my father continued his case."), and slowed by an abundance of irrelevant minutiae, such as verbatim snippets of concerts and seemingly every recording Hecky participated in, successful or not. Though there are bright spots to be found (and a handy index for skipping to them), a thorough editing could have made this memoir a real holiday treat.
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