“I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” by Yogi Yorgesson
Yogi Yorgesson was the pseudonym of Harry Edward Stewart, a Norwegian-American singer, songwriter, comic and entertainer. Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1908 to Norwegian immigrants Hans and Elise Skarbo, Harry was their third child. Tragedy struck in 1910 when Elise died giving birth to their fourth child, who only lived a couple of days. Grief-stricken, Hans Skarbo was incapable of caring for his three children on his own. Hans’ brother and wife took his first two children in and the youngest, Harry, was adopted by the Stewart family. As a young man Harry worked as a bellhop, in the logging industry, and as a radio announcer, newsman, weatherman and banjo player for a radio station. In the 1930s Harry moved to California to pursue jobs in the radio business and, in an effort to carve a niche out for himself, created the character Yogi Yorgesson, a Hindu mystic from Stockholm, Sweden. Before too long Harry landed a regular spot on a radio program as Yogi and his act consisted of gazing into his crystal ball, which was actually an overturned fish bowl, and taking staged phone calls from radio listeners to set up his jokes. Harry enhanced his performances by speaking in a pronounced Swedish accent and dressing in a comical mishmash of garments, combining boots and a lumberjack shirt with a Hindu loincloth and a turban.
Harry was married to Gretchen Ross in the late 1930s and by 1939 they were living in Chicago, Illinois where Harry worked for a production company as asc-ript writer for various products. He appeared on local radio programs and even took his “Yogi Yorgesson, the Scandinavian Swami” comedy act on tour on the east coast, Canada and back to the Pacific Northwest. In addition to his live performances and radio appearances Harry recorded numerous songs as Yogi as well as his other original characters, Harry Kari, Claude Hopper, and Klaus Hammerschmidt, first on the S&G Record Company from Los Angeles, and later with Capitol Records. Among the more notable songs he recorded as Yogi are “I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas,” “Yingle Bells,” “Mrs. Johnson Turn Me Loose,” and “Real Gone Galoot.” Harry Stewart died tragically in a car crash in 1956 when returning to his home in Los Angeles after a performance in Ely, Nevada.