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Little-Known Santa No. 19
C’mon, all you thousands upon thousands of avid Barbra-ficionados! You know this by heart! Sing along with me! Everyone!
“People! People who need presents — are the luckiest people in the world!”
Little-Known Santa No. 19, Santa Barbra was born Saanta Barbra in, of all places, Santa Barbara, California, seat of Santa Barbara County, in a region sometimes known by the nickname of Santa Bruton. Her birth city lies to windward of the Santa Ynez Mountains, not far from the city of Santa Maria.
(Whew! That’s a lot of Santas!)
Babs (as she is known to her true idolaters, both gay and straight) changed her name early in life from Saanta Barbra to Santa Barbra. She felt that dropping a single letter ‘a’ made her name distinctive, without changing its sound, pronunciation or overall recognition factor. Smart career move, I say! After all, SB did not get to be the most critically and commercially acclaimed singing Santa of all time by making questionable career decisions. No sirree!
This mezzo-contralto with the immediately recognizable visage began her exceedingly long performing career sometime in the 1880s (I think), with the release of her first scratchy wire recording of “A Basking Beartrap Gecko”, as performed in the central ring of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Rodeo Show at its opening gig in Omaha, Nebraska. Since then, the indefatigable lady with the stirring sterling pipes has set a world record, by managing to notch a tune among America’s top ten pop rankings in each of the last consecutive 14 decades. (Looks young for her age, doesn’t she? It must be the hairdo.)
Over that very extended tenure atop the charts and in our hearts, it is estimated that Santa Barbra has grossed a total income of well over $418 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars) — of which bumbling Democratic political candidates over the past 40 years have burned through donations of about $247 billion, and counting. This diva’s astronomical income is not all that surprising, though, once one factors in the typical cost of one of her recent concert’s front row seats: $17,952.87, not including valet parking, tour jacket, photo op, program, tee shirt, popcorn, soda or jujubes.
It seems that just about every living American (plus quite a few who are dead) has a favorite Santa Barbra tune. Who could ever forget such classics as “The Way We Wished We Were”, “You Don’t Bring Me Knishes”, “Don’t P on my Parade”, “Baloney End” and “What Kind of Singer Am I?”
But it wasn’t just as a singer that SB made her name and fame. Movie-goers loved her as the Mildly Amusing Girl, The Princess of Tide, and in the heart-wrenching reflections from My Two-Faced Mirror. Babs was cast decidedly against glamour-type to take on the role of an impoverished North London bean-paste seller in Lentl. Critics raved that “Santa Barbra and her co-star Bob Bedford captured exactly the way we’d all like to appear to be to others” in The Way We Wish We Were, perhaps America’s finest example of foolishly fallacious film fantasy fiction. Little did we know that our beloved Barbra would come back in recent years to regale us with her antics as the elderly door hardware saleslady in Little Knockers.
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