The Night Before Christmas
It vas de night before Xmas, ven all tru de place vere I vas staying
Dere vasn’t nobody making no noise, not eefen som mouses
except my brudder-in-law and he is a rat.
De stockings vere hanged by de shimney kinda careful
Because dat feller vit de red knickers vas supposed to be dere.
De little shavers vas all snug in dere beds
Vile visions of sugar plums vas dancing in dere heads
And mama in her curlers and ay in my night shirt
Had yust vashed our feet for a long vinter’s nap.
Ven out on de Northrup, King lawn dere arose a heck of a noise
Ay yumped out of may bed to see if it vas de boys,
Avay to de vindow ay flew like a flash
Ay coulda made it faster but ay’d yust ate some hash.
De Moon vas shining on de new snow wot had yust come down
And it vas kinda shining like it vasn’t night
And vat to my vondering eyes should appear
But a teeney-weeney sleigh and eight tiny horses.
Dere vas a tiny little driver — so sudden and quick
Ay could tell right avay in may night shirt it was yolly St. Nick
More faster dan eagles his horses dey came
And he whistled and hollered and called em bad names.
Now hasher — now trasher — now vixer — now prancer
On Cosmetics — On Stupid — On Visconsin — On Pittsburg
To de top of de porch to de top of de vall
Now pass avay, pass avay, pass out for cat’s sake!
And in two shakes of a skunk’s tail ay heard on de roof
Dose animals monkeying around mit dere feet
As ay sucked in may head and tripped over de cat
Down de shimney came Santa Claus flat on his back.
He vas fat as a old hog — right yolly old elf
And ay laughed ven ay seen him — ay couldn’t help it.
A vink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know ay didn’t have nothin to vorry about.
Vat vas left of his pipe he held in his tooth
And de smoke wrapped around his head like a hoop.
He was qvite broad in places — he had a round little belly
Dat shook ven he’d snicker — like a bottle of likker.
His eyes dey vas glassy — his suit vas de berries,
His cheeks vas like roses — his nose like some Cherries
His droll little mouth vas drawed up like a bow
And de beard on his chin dragged down in de snow.
He didn’t say nothin — but vent straight to his verk
And put lots of pretty stuff in de hosiery and turned vit a squirt
And putting his fingers in front of his nose
He says — “You know me Kids” and, holy smoke! he vas gone.
He yumped in his big open yob, and to his team gave a vistle
he had promised em for Christmas
And dey yumped up and ran like dey had sat on some tistles
Ay heard him say as he scrammed out of dere
“A Snappy Christmas to all and to all — Ay hope yu get vat yu vant.”
Axel’s famous version of
The Night Before Christmas
(recorded in 1964)
In 1964, WCCO-TV issued a seven-inch record that featured Axel’s famous version of “The Night Before Christmas” on one side, and “Close Call for Santa” starring Clancy the Cop and Willie Ketchem on the other. Both sides were produced by Allan Lotsberg (Willie Ketchem), who also wrote the Clancy & Willie story. Clellan Card (Axel) had been doing his Scandihoovian parody of “The Night Before Christmas” on television and radio since 1938; this record preserved it forever.
AXEL: Hi, kids! Diss iss Axel, sending Christmas greetin’s to all of you, all the way from the Treehouse! Now, have a nice holiday season, won’t you kids, hah? Oh, say — there’s someone else here who wants to send Christmas wishes. Oh, uh, Carmine!
CARMEN: Yes, Axel! I’m out in the kitchen making oatmeal Christmas cookies.
AXEL: Well, come out here on the Treehouse porch and say hi to alla da kids, and say — bring me one of those oatmeal cookies, will ya?
CARMEN: O-kay. Here’s one of my cookies, Axel. Hi there, boys and girls. I want each and every one of you to have the merriest Christmas ever, you hear? Okay?
AXEL: Uh, say, Carmine, I don’t want to dampen your Christmas spirits but aren’t dese oatmeal cookies a little soggy?
CARMEN: They’re supposed to be — I haven’t baked them yet.
AXEL: Oh, well, they sure ain’t the way Gramma used to make ’em anyways. Say, let me know when dey’re all cooked, will ya, and I’ll help you lift ’em outta da oven. [laughs]
CARMEN: [laughs] Say, your Grandma Torgeson is someone very special, isn’t she, Axel?
AXEL: She sure is, Carmine. You know, I remember each Chrissmoose she used to get us all gaddered around the fireplace and tell us in her own special way the Night Before Christmas story. Would you like to hear it the way Gramma used to tell it, Carmine?
CARMEN: Oh, I’d like that very much, Axel.
AXEL: All right. Sit down next to me now and listen real good.
Was the night before Chris’moose
When all through the place I was stayin’ at
There wasn’t nobody makin’ no noises, not even some mouses
Except my brooder-in-law, and he is a rat!
The stockings was hung by the schimney kinda careful-like
Because the fella wid dose red knickers was s’posed to get dere!
The monsters was tucked all snug in their beds
While wisions of sugar plums dance in their heads.
Mama in her curlers and me in my nightshirt
Had just washed our feet for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the grass dere rose a heck of a noise
I yumped outta my bed to see if it was the boys!
Over to the window I flew like a flash
(I coulda made it faster but I was fulla mama’s hash).
The moon was shining on the new snow what had just come down
And it was shining kinda like it wasn’t night
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a teensy-weensy sleigh and eight teensy-weensy reinhorses!
There was a tiny little driver, so sudden and quick
I could tell right away in my goosepimples — it was yolly Saint Nick.
More faster dan eagles, his horses they came
And he whistled and hollered and called ’em all names:
Now Hasher, now Trasher, now Victor, now Prancin’!
On, Tackhead! On, Stupid! Onnnnn, ‘Sisconsin!
To da top of da porch, to da top of da wall
Now dash away, dash away!
Would you reinhorses please get da heck up on da wall,
If you don’t mind please?
Then in two shakes of a wildcat’s tail
I heerd those aminals monkeyin’ around wid their hoofs
As I sucked in my head and tripped over the pewsycat
Down the schimney come Santa Claus — flat on his back.
He was a fat old fella, right yolly old elf
And I laughed when I seen him — I couldn’t help it.
A vink of his eye and a tvist of his neck
Soon give me to know I deent have nothin’ to worry about.
What was left of his pipe he held in his toot’
And his smoke wrap’d around his head like a hoop
He was quite broad in places, and he had a round little belly
That shook when he giggle like a bowlful of yelly.
His eyes they was glassy, his suit was the berries
His scheeks was like roses and his nose like a scherry
His droll little mouth was drawed up like a bow
And da beard on his schin dragged clean down in da snow.
He deent say nothin’ but went straight to his werk
And filled up the hosiery and turned wid a squirt
And pewtin’ his fingers alongside of his nose
He says, “Have a good time, schildren!”
And up the shimney he goes — psssshhht!
He yumped in his sleigh and to his team gave a vhistle
They yumped up and ran like they sat on a tistle!
I heard him say as he scrammed outta dere
“A Merry Christmas to all, and to all Good Night!”