Thursday, January 5, 2017

Year in Review: 2016

 
Before I move on to new content in the new year, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the previous year.  I collected the top five most popular posts from this website written in 2016. I was a little surprised by a few of them--maybe you will be surprised too. Curious about past Year in Review essays? Check out the 2014 and 2015 Year in Review posts again.


 
5. The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Christmas episode from 1969. Classic TV variety shows are a fun nostalgic trip, aren't they? This Christmas episode included special guests Cher, Andy Griffith, and Paul Lynde. I wrote about this program back in April because it is referenced in the 1988 Christmas episode of The Wonder Years. Don't you love it when TV characters can be seen watching TV?


Who are your favorite Rankin/Bass animated elves? Do they match my selections?

4. Last March, I created my favorites list of Top 5 Rankin/Bass Elves. The essay and commentary were created as a part of the Classic Film & TV Café blogathon about TV Sidekicks. And who are Santa's favorite sidekicks but his elves? This one was fun to write so I'm pleased to see that it was a popular one to read as well. Classic Film & TV Café blogathons are can't-miss events and there's a new one coming next month on TV movies! Check it out.



3. Another TV variety Christmas episode cracked the top 5 most popular posts last year. In June, I wrote about the 1968 holiday installment of The Dean Martin Show, with guest stars Dom DeLuise, Bob Newhart, and Dennis Weaver. The classic never go out of style, do they?



2. Not so surprising is the 1960 Christmas episode of The Twilight Zone showing up in this list of last year's most popular essays. The episode "Night of the Meek" starring Art Carney--a disillusioned department store Santa Claus yearns for the ability to offer more to those in his impoverished neighborhood--is a heart warming story that few forget after watching. "Night of the Meek" is not just a memorable Twilight Zone episode but an outstanding example of the best of television too.





1. The most popular post from 2016 was my introduction to our Christmas in July readers' blogathon. For the past three years, this introduction has reached the top 5 most popular posts of the year. The annual post is where I announce the mini-questionnaire and invite everyone to respond with their answers--which I reveal throughout the month of July. Here's the recap of July's responses. Should we do it again this year? What questions do you want to see participants respond to this year? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Do you remember reading each of these most popular entries in 2016? As I plan my upcoming schedule of reviews, do you have any requests?  Let me know in the comments below.  Happy New Year! May the best of life be yours in 2017.


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Made for TV Mayhem Show: Christmas Game Show



And last but not least, I recently took part in another more podcast just before Christmas. Amanda, Dan, and Nate invited me to join them on Made for TV Mayhem Show again this year. This time around we played a game. The object was to identify (or guess) the plot of the story just from the title. I supplied the titles while Amanda, Dan, and Nate tried to figure out the plots. Christmas entertainment titles can be indistinct and even misleading! How good would you be at playing this game?

I sure had a fun time recording this podcast. When you listen, I think you can tell. Click here for the link to listen. Many thanks to the crew for inviting me to join them.




You may remember that I participated in the Made for TV Mayhem Show Christmas program last year as well. There were two shows.


Home for the Holidays starring (front to back) Jessica Walter, Sally Field, Jill Haworth, and Eleanor Parker.


Part 1 included a discussion of the 1988 TV movie A Very Brady Christmas and the 1972 TV thriller Home for the Holidays. Click here to listen to that again.

Part 2 included a discussion of the 1991 Christmas movie Bernard and the Genie.  Click here to listen to that again.

You can easily follow the Made for TV Mayhem Show all year long on Facebook here, on Twitter here, or look for new installments on iTunes.

Feel free to listen and leave your comments at Made for TV Mayhem Show, or here.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Game Part 4: Christmas Screen Shots

How well do you know Christmas entertainment? Let's play a game! Jeff from Name That Christmas Special website generously shared with me a group of Christmas screen shots taken from episodes, specials and movies. Can you identify what program each screen shot is taken from? Parts 1, 2, and 3 went well so I thought I'd create a fourth installment.

Same rules as before. Play along by leaving your answer in the comments below. PLEASE identify only one screen shot--let's give everyone a chance to play along. Some are easy, some are harder. Bonus points: if you can identify which specific episode of the TV series some of these are pulled from or the original date of the movie or special. There are no prizes--only bragging rights. Here goes:



#37--Home Improvement (DW Washburn)

#38--movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (Patrick)


#39

#40--movie White Christmas (maryam sarshar)


#41--The Frank Sinatra Show (Jonathan NC)

#42

#43--Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Donna Bock)


#44--The Littlest Angel (Kevin Bowman)


#45--Perfect Strangers (Ella Irene)


#46--Gilligan's Island (Caffeinated Joe)


#47--movie Bell, Book and Candle (RigbyMel)


#48--Dragnet (phairhead)

Here's Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you'd like to see those again. Have fun! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bloomington Review Interview with Jim Inman


 
For another year (I think it's my third), I join radio show host Jim Inman at the Bloomington Review to talk about our favorite Christmas entertainment.

For this installment, we discuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas, pop culture landmarks, and my new book the Triple Dog Dare.

The audio segment is now available for listening. Click here for the station's website for the audio. Jim says my interview begins at about the 14:15 minute mark. Give it a listen and tell us what you think.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Game Part 3: Christmas Screen Shots

How well do you know Christmas entertainment? Let's play a game! Jeff from Name That Christmas Special website generously shared with me a group of Christmas screen shots taken from episodes, specials and movies. Can you identify what program each screen shot is taken from? Part 1 and Part 2 went well so I thought I'd create a third installment.

Same rules as before. Play along by leaving your answer in the comments below. PLEASE identify only one screen shot--let's give everyone a chance to play along. Some are easy, some are harder. Bonus points: if you can identify which specific episode of the TV series some of these are pulled from or the original date of the movie or special. There are no prizes--only bragging rights. Here goes:

#25--The House Without a Christmas Tree (phairhead)


#26--The Jeffersons (DW Washburn)

#27--Laverne & Shirley (Caffeinated Joe)


#28--Twas the Night Before Christmas (Ozfan95)

#29--Married with Children (Jonathan NC)

#30


#31--Bewitched, colorized (Donna)


#32

#33--Newhart (Kevin Bowman)

#34--Punky Brewster (Linda)

#35--Save by the Bell (Maryam Sarshar)


#36



Here's Part 1 and Part 2 if you'd like to see those again. Have fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Game Part 2: Christmas Screen Shots

How well do you know Christmas entertainment? Let's play a game! Jeff from Name That Christmas Special website generously shared with me a group of Christmas screen shots taken from episodes, specials and movies. Can you identify what program each screen shot is taken from? Part 1 went well so I thought I'd create another installment.

Same rules as before. Play along by leaving your answer in the comments below. PLEASE identify only one screen shot--let's give everyone a chance to play along. Some are easy, some are harder. Bonus points: if you can identify which specific episode of the TV series some of these are pulled from or the original date of the movie or special. This is just for fun--there are no prizes except bragging rights. Here goes:


#13--Jingle All the Way (Ed South)

#14--John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together (RigbyMel)


#15--Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (DW Washburn)


#16--One Magic Christmas (Catherine)

#17--Robin and the 7 Hoods (Daniel B)


#18--Scrooged (Kevin Bowman)

#19--How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jonathan NC)


#20--Star Wars Holiday Special (Debra from Hull)


#21--The Gathering (Patrick)

#22--The Year Without a Santa Claus (phairhead)


#23 A Charlie Brown Christmas (Donna Bock)


#24--Pinky and the Brain (Linda)


Here's Part 1 if you'd like to see it again. Have fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Radio Once More with Johnny Holmes




This past Wednesday, Nov. 30th, my interview with Johnny and Helen Holmes aired on his internet radio show At Home with Holmsey/Woo Hoo Wednesdays on Radio Once More. For the past several years, I've enjoyed the pleasure of joining Johnny on his radio program--we love many of the same Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies and he's a delight to speak with. My taped segment of the broadcast is now available for listening--if you missed it last week. You can find the audio on Johnny's blog here.


Helen, myself and Johnny in 2015.


I first met Johnny and his wife Helen at Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention on the east coast a few years ago. They are the friendliest people you'll ever meet. My life is enriched for knowing them and I'm always glad when we have a chance to chat.

In this latest discussion, Johnny and I discussed my new book the Triple Dog Dare, the 1973 TV movie Miracle on 34th Street, the 1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame production The Littlest Angel, and more. Give it a listen and tell me what you think.