I'm not sure how well he's known, outside of Chicago, but Orion Samuelson is a Chicago legend. It's possible that many readers are familiar with him, since the signal for his long-time radio home - WGN - reaches far and wide, particularly at night.
Orion Samuelson was one of the first media stars - aside from perhaps Bozo - that I was aware of, when I was a little boy. At age six, I was an early riser, and one of the benefits of getting up so early was the chance to watch the exotic TV show "Top O' the Morning", essentially a farm report, hosted on WGN-TV by Samuelson and Max Armstrong. The subjects on the show were a complete mystery to us, but it was always made worthwhile when we got to hear that most bizarre and comical of phrases, "Pork Belly Futures".
Flash forward another 45 years until today. Last year Orion celebrated his 50th anniversary with WGN radio, and is entering his 52nd year with the station. As of earlier this year, Pork Belly Futures are no longer traded, and his decades-long program "The Noon Show"- aimed at farmers who were in from the fields for lunch - ended almost a decade ago, but he remains the station's business and agriculture reporter, and can still be heard regularly on WGN, including his weekend Morning Show, co-hosted with, yes, Max Armstrong.
Knowing all of this prepared me in no way for my discovery last year of an unassuming Christmas 45: At some point in the 1960's or '70's, Orion Samuelson went into a recording studio, with cohorts going under the name of "The Uff-Da Band" (for the not-so-cleverly named "Phonograph Records" label), and recorded cover versions of Yogi Yorgessson's most popular record, the combination of "Jingle Bells" and "I Just Go Nuts at Christmas". Curiously, while giving credit to Yogi (under his real name of Harry Stewart) for the B-side, Orion took credit himself for the arrangement of "Jingle Bells", despite its arrangement being virtually interchangable with that of Yogi's 1950's recording.