Much like watching It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, one of my annual Christmas traditions is to listen to John Cleese’s adaptation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Never mind that there have been endless readings over the years by the likes of Art Carney, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Perry Como, Dick Van Dyke and Henry Rollins, we’re talking classic Python here.
Published anonymously in 1823 under the title ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas‘, the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American”. It is said to have largely been responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. While there are conflicting camps that believe both Clement Clarke Moore and Henry Livingston, Jr be recognized as the author, there can be no mistaking one of the best modern-day renditions. No, we’re not talking Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We’re talking Python.
It was a mere seven short years ago in 2007 when one, John Cleese, set his Pythonesque sights on the traditional reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. In John’s own words from his podcast of thoughts, observations and musings, this is his attempt to alleviate the planet from holiday stress “…that finds everyone assembled around a blazing fire, where families eat themselves sick, drink themselves silly, and fight for their entertainment options with unaccustomed ferocity.”
From Tellyspotting (and, John Cleese), Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!