Join us weekday mornings at 7:10 when we play I Know That Song! Of course you know the song, but do you know the story behind the song? We dig up stuff even we didn't know.
Today's singer was a very successful stage and screen actor as well as a folk singer. He shared a screen with Paul Newman in the film Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and acted in The Big Country, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Today’s song was written by songwriter Johnny Marks, who had already written the Christmas classic "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," a song the stop-motion animators at Rankin-Bass created a half-hour TV special to expand on the song. Today’s singer was brought in for star power to play the narrator, Sam the Snowman.
This singer attended Eastern Illinois State Teachers College (now Eastern Illinois University) where he played football. During his junior year, while listening to a lecture, he suddenly realized he was wasting his time. As he walked out of the door, the professor made a snide remark and this singer slammed the door behind him, shattering the window. Sixty years later, the school named a building after its most famous dropout
The song didn't chart when it was first released, but since then the song has since become one of the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs for the first five years of the 21st century.
This singer was identified in the 1950 pamphlet Red Channels and blacklisted as an entertainer with supposed Communist ties. In 1952, he cooperated with the House Un-American Activities Committee and agreed to testify, fearful of losing his source of income. Ives' statement ended his blacklisting, allowing him to continue acting in movies, but it also led to a bitter rift between Ives and many folk singers, including Pete Seeger, who accused Ives of naming names and betraying the cause of cultural and political freedom to save his own career.