Holiday Horrors: Marshmallow World

Continuing the fabled tradition begun all the way back in 2009, Scratchbomb presents Holiday Horrors and Holiday Triumphs: an advent calendar of some of the more hideous aspects of this most stressful time of year–with a few bits of awesomeness sprinkled in.

“Marshmallow World” is one of those marginal Christmas-y tunes that inexplicably remains at the fringes of the Yuletide canon. It is not among the top ten most popular holiday tunes, or even the top 100. But you are guaranteed to hear it at least once a year over a PA system if you dare go shopping in an actual brick-and-mortar store. It survives for the same reason that shows like According to Jim remain on the air for so long: nobody loves it, but nobody hates it, either.

They say you shouldn’t go food shopping when you’re hungry. You probably shouldn’t write lyrics when you’re hungry, either. That’s the only explanation I have for verses like this:

It’s a marshmallow world in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground.
It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped cream day,
I wait for it the whole year round!

Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly,
In the arms of the evergreen trees;
And the sun is red like a pumpkin head,
It’s shining so your nose won’t freeze!

It should be a songwriter rule that if you start to write lyrics like this, just get up from the piano, take a stroll, and go get a sandwich. If you don’t, you might start composing love songs about pot roast.

These words weren’t written by a hack, either. They’re the work of Carl Sigman, a lyricist who worked with composers like Duke Ellington and wrote tons of songs. He wrote the lyrics to “Ebb Tide,” which are simple yet gorgeous. (It’s most famous as done by the Righteous Brothers, but I’m partial to Frank Sinatra’s version.) But even a skilled craftsman can have an off day. Or a gotta-bang-this-out-before-I-get-lunch day.

But if nothing else, “Marshmallow World” is partially responsible for this hilarious clip from a Dean Martin special from the 1960s. Dino and his buddy Frank stomp down a flight of plastic stairs, almost run each other over in the process, then sing the song with all the care it deserves. Which is to say, they yell-sing it and flit around in mock-balletic moves, clearly annoyed that they have to perform this dumb song about marshmallows.

Oh, and did I mention they’re very obviously smashed? Enjoy!