Rare Earle on DVD

Christmas is over, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the following holiday-themed dvd: Ernie Ford’s THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS. It can be ordered HERE. The hour-long TV special from 1963 features an 18-minute segment designed and produced by SLEEPING BEAUTY background stylist Eyvind Earle. Earle wrote about the challenges of producing the piece (which primarily consists of camera moves over bgs and special fx) in his autobiography HORIZON BOUND ON A BICYCLE:

For many of the scenes showing the manger, Mary, the shepherds and the wise men, there was no time left to paint intricate overlays for my four-level multiplane camera setup which Chuck Arnold and I had built out of aluminum angle irons and four sheets of glass that moved under the camera.I ran outside and picked all the weeds I could find, and slung them on the glass sheets above Mary and the Christ child, and then tracked in with the camera, moving through a forest of overhanging branches created by the weeds. The effect was excellent and by some miracle I finished the whole product in time to be aired on NBC two separate times before Christmas.
(Thanks to Ken Hettig for the heads up on the dvd)