Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 12

Ray Charles Celebrating Christmas On TBN (c 1988)

'88c TV Christmas

The clips below require some more internet archeology to identify them with certainty, but since this is the right time of the year, I’ll share what I can guess about their origin.
Both clips contain a gold-colored crown-logo. The phone number in the second clip leads to TBN (the Trinity Broadcasting Network), the largest Christian television network in the U.S. In the first clip, Ray suggests the taping is part of a “worldwide Christmas celebration”. This clip, with the Wiener Sängerknaben, must have been part of the same program.
The phone number (owned by TBN) may imply that the purpose of the program was either to sell something (a CD or DVD?), or to raise funds, or maybe it just had a missionary goal.

According to Wikipedia, he “E/I”-sign in the first clip stands for educational and informative, referring to a type of children’s television programming shown in the USA. This requirement was enacted as part of the Children’s Television Act of 1990. Stations must identify such shows on-screen with an “E/I” bug in a corner of the screen. Originally, this was displayed only during the first minute of the program, or, as a separate announcement prior to the show, but since 2004, all E/I shows must display the bug during the entire duration of the show, except during commercial breaks. Cable television channels are exempt from FCC programming regulations, although some do place an “E/I” bug on their voluntary educational programming.
Ray first released these songs on the album The Spirit Of Christmas, in 1985. Although we hear some audience noise in these clips, they look as if they are recorded in an isolated studio, using the orchestra tapes from the original record.
Looking at Ray’s hair color, the songs were recorded in the late 1980s – my best guess is 1988 or 1989. The clips may well have been copied from a more recent broadcast or DVD. Who knows more?

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer:

The Little Drummer Boy:


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