Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo: The Muscial Life of Hecky Krasnow-Producer of the World's Most Beloved Children's Songs


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.”

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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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In her fond and frequently fascinating memoir . . . Ms. Krasnow's childhood memories ring vividly true."  —The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595800268
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

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.
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Table of Contents

Foreword: Music That Lasts   Bill Harley     9
A Gut Instinct Produces a Classic     13
The Violin and the Fiddler     29
Hard Times and New Beginnings     45
A Profession for the Fiddler     63
Ballads and Baseball     79
Pink and Blue     95
Another "Gene" and a Hunter     103
Josef Marais and Miranda     111
Success Creates a Market     121
A Rhino Named Rhumpy and a Tuba Named Tubby     133
Rosie Becomes a Household Name     147
A Bitter Divorce     161
A Red Caboose, a Harpsichord, and Horn & Hardart's     175
Television, Cowboys, Marbles, and McCarthy     185
Bookworms     193
A Tribute at the Rodeo     211
Parties and Payola     219
Westward Ho!     235
A Little Red Monkey and a Marriage     249
Veal Scaloppini     263
Goodbye McCarthy, Welcome Back Burl, Hello Art Carney     279
A Doctor, a Bishop, Disney, and a Captain Named Kangaroo     295
Riding the Crest of the Wave     311
What Goes Up Must Come Down     329
Gobbledegook     349
A Singer NamedNina and a Trio Named Chad Mitchell     363
A Wedding Song, Lullaby at the Zoo, a Fiddle Again     383
Epilogue     401
Index     403
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    Enchanting and captivating!

    The stories are enchanting, charming and absolutely fascinating! It feels like we are on a journey into the past getting to see and experience what it was like to sit in on these incredible recording sessions. The behind the scenes stories of some of my all time favorite songs and the people who made them captivates and many made me laugh out loud! Be warned - it was hard to put down and you might just find yourself humming or singing aloud as you read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    I was on the air last year at Christmastime and after playing Gene Autry's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I mentioned it was recorded in 1949. I received a phone call right away from a woman who mentioned her uncle produced the record and was from Hartford. Dede Krasnow and I stayed in touch and this fall she told me about the new book about Hecky's life. Thanks Dede, and thanks Judy Gail Krasnow, Hecky's daughter,(the book¿s author) for autographing and sending me 'Rudolph, Frosty and Captain Kangaroo: The Musical Life of Hecky Krasnow - Producer of the World's Most Beloved Children's Songs'. I'm in 'Baby Boomer' heaven after reading the book. Hecky was a wonderful musician and friend to the stars and best of all, a warm, loving human being who loved his kids and all children. The list is endless: Gene Autry, Bob Keeshan (Capt. Kangaroo), Rosemary Clooney, Art Carney, Burl Ives and many more. The photographs are a trip down memory lane, recalling memories of my sister Deane and I waiting to open our presents on Christmas day. If you are having trouble getting into the spirit, read this book and remember what it was like being a child, full of hope and love. Thanks Dede for calling that day and telling me the story about Hecky Krasnow, and thanks Judy for writing a delightful, informative book about what Hecky left us all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    With her extraordinary story-telling skills, author Judy Gail Krasnow has colorfully written what it was like to be a young girl in America during the 40¿s and 50¿s. While reading her book, I felt like I was right there, growing up with her at 143 Douglas Avenue in Yonkers, New York. Her text is sprinkled with fascinating first hand accounts of recording sessions of now classic songs and a few pretty darn hilarious private parties hosted by Columbia Records most famous and fabulous of that time. Best of all, her love and admiration for her parents rises to the surface of every page, and at the close of each chapter, I found myself thinking back to my own childhood. Reading this book is like taking off the winter chill, sitting by a crackling fire ¿ it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and wanting to share it with family and friends. That¿s why I bought three copies: one for me to keep and two to give away!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    A special 'behind the scenes' VIP tour of children's record production

    I have just finished reading 'Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo', Judy Krasnow's loving memoir of her father, Hecky Krasnow. His career in the children's music recording industry of the 1940s and 50s as a writer, producer, and all-around cheer-leader is described in such colorful and interesting detail, that I came away from the book wishing that I could have been Judy's best friend, or even better, a brother or cousin, growing up with her and sharing all of the wonderful adventures that she had being involved with her Dad as a pre-teen in the recording sessions, parties, etc. This book brought to life the very large collection of vintage kiddie records that I own, including just about all of the records produced by Hecky. Prior to reading this superb book, the records on my shelves had an inanimate quality to them. That reality has been radically altered as a result of Judy's sharing of her personal account of the stories behind the records that Hecky produced for Columbia records. But the book goes way beyond just the discussions of the records themselves. It is a great look into an era of 'innocence' in our nation's history as seen through the eyes of a kid growing up after World War II in the New York City area. It has been my distinct pleasure to know you, Judy. Thanks!

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