Andy Williams on 'Glenn Beck'

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," December 24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Welcome to our Christmas special.

President Ronald Reagan declared his voice a national treasure. He recorded 18 gold, three platinum albums, and hosted his own variety show throughout most of the 1960s and he's 82 and still performing today. This man on this cover — he has a new memoir out now. It's called "Moon River and Me."

Merry Christmas, Andy Williams. How are you, sir?

ANDY WILLIAMS, "MOON RIVER AND ME" AUTHOR: I'm very well. Merry Christmas to you and to all of the servicemen and women around the world that you are celebrating with tonight. We love them all and appreciate what they are doing for us.

BECK: So, Andy, I'm looking at you, and are you — is there some sort of freaky time thing that you've done because — have you been cryogenically frozen for years?

WILLIAMS: No, I guess I just have — I have lucky parents, I think, right? I'm lucky to have the parents that I did. Thank you very much.

BECK: You've been performing since you were 7 years old. You are
82 now and you're still doing — you're still doing your Christmas show which I grew up watching every single year.

WILLIAMS: We do it — we do it for five or six weeks in my theater in Branson, and then after we close there, I decided to do about eight different shows here throughout California.

BECK: This album, Andy, I spoke to you on the radio and I said, some of my biggest Christmas memories have all happened with this in the background in my memory. I have to share something and most people don't even know this song, but you'll know it if have this album or your parents listened to it.

Do we have "Little Altar Boy"? Can we play a little bit of that?


BECK: I wanted to ask you about this song. My — when I was little, my mother used to play this all the time and she used to come up to me on this song and she would put her hands on my shoulders, and I'll never forget, every time, she'd say, "I love this song." And then she would say.

WILLIAMS: I do, too.

BECK: And then she'd say, "You're my altar — you're my little altar boy." I — my mother when I was little committed suicide and I lost her, and it wasn't until I was in my 30s that I understood what she was saying to me with this song, that it is about redemption and she was too afraid to approach the Lord herself and say, "I'm sorry, I want a second chance."

Do you think, Andy, that that is the message of Christmas, that it's just about second chances?

WILLIAMS: Well, it might be. I hadn't thought about this song in that way, but my golly, that story you've just told is so heartbreaking.

BECK: What does — what does this song, what — I mean because that's — I mean, that's my interpretation of it because of what I lived through. What is — what is the general interpretation of this song? What does it mean?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think it means that we are all God's children and this is a little altar boy and he is living in the beam of God, of Jesus.

BECK: Have you — have you seen a change — because you've been doing the Christmas special now for so long — have you seen a change in American audiences at all or are we the same people that we were? I think that if we could capture who we are at this time of the year, if we could do that all year long, we'd be fine. Are we the same people that we were in the 1960s?

WILLIAMS: I think we're — I think we are better. I think we have — I think everybody has grown and grown now more and more into thinking for themselves and believing in America and speaking their minds out about what they feel is best or what we should do.

I feel that there is — and the audiences that we are getting on the road with this Christmas show, I have — I feel a great deal of hope from the audience and they seem very, very up. They are not depressed. They are not down. They are very much into today and taking care of business as Elvis Presley would say.

BECK: Yes. I think we're — I think no matter which — I don't want to make this about politics — no matter where you come from, no matter what you believe, I think we are becoming a more spiritual people. I think maybe we did it for awhile after 9/11 and then we lost it again. The more we lose, the more humble we become. The more we are driven down to our knees, we can actually kneel in front of the manger and see the baby and see what it's really all about.

WILLIAMS: Well, I feel that a great deal on the shows that we're doing, I can tell near the end of the show, the last, say, 25 minutes, when I sing, I sang the more sacred songs, "Ave Maria," and — well, we don't do "A Little Altar Boy" in this particular show, but we do one called "Mary, Did You Know?"

BECK: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Which really touches, really touches the audience. And they feel it and they know they know what it means and they — and then when I do "Silent Night," that really resonates with the audience today — I think even more so than it did before. And I have done a lot of Christmas shows.

BECK: Andy Williams, it is really truly an honor to talk to you.

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