Friday, July 25, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Jakki

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Christmas TV Party 2014: Jakki, founder of 'Tis The Season and Christmas Movies & Music Group

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town by Rankin/Bass. They were enchanting, terrifying and believable, so they made a big impact.

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
It's A Wonderful Life. The themes are universal for any time of year, not to mention only a small portion of the movie actually takes place at Christmas. Actually, I find that I watch it most often during the off-season when I need a Christmas fix.


cover art on VHS release

 
 3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
Mr. Krueger's Christmas. This is the forgotten James Stewart Christmas film that features the glorious vocals of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It's an incredibly touching story about an elderly widower who lives alone with his cat and is longing for a little company at Christmas. It's guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes each time I watch it. James Stewart is his usual charming self and it's a beautiful reminder to think of others less fortunate during the holiday season. I really believe it would be a classic if it got more air time, so I hope this makes even a few people seek it out if they've never heard of it!

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
It's A Wonderful Movie (http://itsawonderfulmovie.blogspot.com),  
The Sounds of Christmas (http://www.soundsofchristmas.com) and  
My Merry Christmas (http://mymerrychristmas.com)

 


5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
Mad About You episode Met Someone (love the story of how Paul and Jamie met at Christmas), the Lark Rise To Candleford Christmas Special (a traditional English Christmas ghost story in the tradition of Dickens) and Blackadder's Christmas Carol (Hilarious flipped version of the classic tale).



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Ronda Roxbury


 
Christmas TV Party 2014: Ronda Roxbury

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
The Little Drummer Boy

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round. 
It's a Wonderful Life  



3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
Alf's Special Christmas lol I love Alf.

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
http://rroxbury.avonrepresentative.com 
http://www.snapfish.com/





5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Charlie Brown's Christmas


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Amanda M. Prok



Christmas TV Party 2014: Amanda M. Prok

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
The first Christmas special I remember watching is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I must admit the abominable snowman caused me a sleepless night or two when I was younger.  However, my favorite character was Yukon Cornelius.  I distinctly remember his voice and was taken in immediately by him.  I always love the part(s) when he throws up his pick axe, lets it land, sniffs it and licks it and declares whether there is gold or not.  Silly thing to remember from this classic Christmas special, but as a kid I always made sure I tuned in to that part.  It was sad to read about his passing earlier this year.

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
Elf!!!!  No matter what time of year, I will always sit down and watch Elf.  A sweet and simple Christmas tale that makes me laugh now just as hard as I did the first time around.  I find myself quoting the movie in my own day to day activities.  As a teacher I’ve found the best way to spread cheer (all year round) “...is singing loud for all to hear."  It drives my students nuts, but they love hearing some music come out of this tone deaf teacher.



3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is one that I don’t often see being shown at Christmas time.  It is unfortunate because it is a classic special.  I was so excited to sit down and watch it last year when it aired.  As a English/Language Arts teacher, I teach the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Aside from the brilliance of the writing the story of redemption that is portrayed in the written word is uplifting and inspiring.  Although tough to read at times the students end up loving Scrooge.  Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is a great follow-up to the words of Dickens and quickly becomes a favorite for the students.  I wish the episode aired yearly so more could enjoy this absolutely wonderful Christmas special.   

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
3 places all things Christmas:



"SAAAAAANTA!  I know him."


Seth and Summer enjoying Chrismukkah on The O.C.

5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
The O.C. episode “Chrismukkah” in 2003 is one of my favorite Christmas themed episodes of any TV drama.  This holiday combo of Christmas and Hanukkah created by character Seth in an effort to understand both of his parents religious beliefs also serves as a way to help Ryan, Marissa, and Summer forget about past Christmases that left them battered and bruised.  Seinfeld  1997 “a Festivus for the rest of us.”  The single aluminum pole has not replaced our family Christmas tree, but we do "air our grievances" and "compete in feats of strength.”  Finally, Touched by an Angel in December of 2001, tackled the tough issue of September 11th in the episode “A Winter Carol.”  It is one of the first TV show episodes that I remember centering its plot around that horrific day in our country.  A mayor of a small town in New York tries to find the Christmas spirit once again.  As the mayor’s oldest son, sparked by the events of 9/11 enlists in the military, a long time town tradition is carried on, as he gets to pick the hymn sung in his honor on the last Sunday before he leaves.  The show ends with a powerful rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the town’s Christmas pageant.  All these years later it still brings me to tears. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: RigbyMel of Holiday Film Reviews

The Doctor Who 2011 Christmas Special, "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe."

Christmas TV Party 2014: RigbyMel of Holiday Film Reviews

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
It's either A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I am not 100% sure, but I remember loving both when I was little.  

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
Pretty much any Christmas episode of Doctor Who is worthy of year round viewing!  But I have a special soft spot for "The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe."



3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
There are several quite good specials involving the Muppets that have never been released intact or at all on disc.  I'll single out the delightful Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)  and Muppet Family Christmas (1987) as particular favorites. 

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
Subversive Cross Stitch (sampIers with attitude)  http://www.subversivecrossstitch.com/
Unshelved (library humor) http://www.unshelved.com/
Hark!  A Vagrant (historical webcomic of awesomeness) http://harkavagrant.com/


The Emmy-award wining episode "Seoul Mates" is from the series' third season.

5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
Father Ted - "A Christmassy Ted" (1996) 
Quantum Leap - "A Little Miracle" (1990) 
Northern Exposure - "Seoul Mates"  (1991) 
(favorites subject to change according to whim, but these are sticking out at the moment.  Apparently, I am in a 1990s state of mind!?!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Juniper Sage


 
Christmas TV Party 2014: Juniper Sage

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper.  I am sure I didn't watch this the year it came out but it must not have been too much later than 1978.

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
The Nightmare Before Christmas - partially because it has all of the other holidays in it as well as Christmas.



3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas - much loved by those that grew up with it but not known by younger generations at all.


4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
Muppet Wiki - http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Muppet_Wiki
Flooby Nooby - http://floobynooby.blogspot.com/
Cartoon Brew - http://www.cartoonbrew.com/

"Penny's Christmas" on Good Times.
 
5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
Good Times - Penny's Christmas, although this is the 'jump the shark season' for me, I still love Janet Jackson's addition to the cast and her relationship with Willona and J.J.
Little House on the Prairie - Blizzard, I didn't love the show as much as the books but I do like this episode in particular
The Twilight Zone - Night of the Meek, this has become a favorite from the all day New Year's showings of The Twilight Zone



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Amanda By Night at Made for TV Mayhem



Christmas TV Party 2014: Amanda By Night at Made for TV Mayhem

What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?

Wow, now that’s going waaaay back. I think it must have been Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer.  I remember that Rankin and Bass were a huge part of my earliest Christmases, and I was always delighted whenever one of their signature specials aired. I guess Rudolph strikes a universal chord with children because it’s all about fitting in but also standing out, and I’m sure that’s part of what still draws me to him every year!


Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
I’m such a sucker for The Brady Bunch and adore A Very Brady Christmas.  I don’t know that I watch it all year, but it is definitely the Christmas program I watch the most. I also adore Bernard and the Genie and it’s more of a pick me up TV movie than one I use to celebrate the holidays. Whenever I need a laugh, I go to Lenny Henry!
And maybe Silent Night, Deadly Night because slashers are good all year round!



1977's Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey


Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
I actually wrote about my all time favorite Christmas specials for you, Joanna!  I think Nestor, The Long Eared Donkey is one of the most moving things I have ever seen.  It absolutely devastated me as a child, and still resonates with me today.  It’s another one I watch every year, and usually by myself because I tend to go all teary eyed and snot-faced.  Not attractive.  Nestor means the world to me, and I think most people would get something out of it.  Plus, it’s only, like, 22 minutes!  Just bring your Kleenex.

Send us to 3 places on the internet.
Kindertrauma (http://www.kindertrauma.com/)
The Horn Section (http://hornsection.blogspot.com/) (Note: you must check out his Quincy M.E. reviews… awesome)
Daily Grindhouse (http://dailygrindhouse.com/)

Jessica, Seth, and his train on 1992's Christmas episode of Murder, She Wrote.
 
What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?

Family Ties: A Keaton Christmas Special – I love this one mostly for the Christmas Future segment that features a bald and chubby Michael J. Fox joking about spending the “holiest of holy days” in Vegas, which is my hometown. It’s kind of a surreal episode, and I don’t know why, but it tickles me.
Joanie Love Chachi: Christmas Show – I just revisited this one for the first time since it originally aired on television. It’s just wonderful and Al Molinaro is given a little depth outside his usual “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” comedic delivery. He’s simply magic and so is the episode.
Murder, She Wrote: A Christmas Secret – I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about the mystery that Jessica has to solve, but I love the story about how Seth hates the holidays because of the train he never received as a gift.  First of all, anything William Windom is amazing, but I also love getting background into Seth Hazlitt’s life.  Seth was one of the most loveable curmudgeon characters on TV, and only Jessica knew how to melt his heart.  And for that alone, I love this episode.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Stephen Lind, PhD

"Lights, please?"
 
Christmas TV Party 2014: Stephen Lind, PhD  at Washington and Lee University

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
Walt Disney's Pluto's Christmas Tree is the one Christmas program I simply remember always remembering... even though I don't actually remember when I first watched it.  Of all the classics that have been so meaningful and so much fun for me over the years, it is the one that holds the oldest anchor in my mind.  Only a 6 minute short released in 1952, it has certainly been around for a long time, and I invariably saw it on TV as a child in the 1980s.  Perhaps we had the Little Golden Book adaptation, Donald Duck's Christmas Tree.

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
A Charlie Brown Christmas  is simply my favorite movie, regardless of the season.  Of course, it's not actually a "movie," but rather is a television special aired in 1965... but that matters little to me (my favorite actor is Kermit the Frog, so perhaps I'm not one for the letter of the law).  It's one of those shows that I own multiple copies of, listen to the soundtrack from regularly, and actively enjoy watching at all times of the year (which is a good thing, because I am currently writing a book about the Peanuts franchise).  The style alone grabs me, and the boldness by which Charles Schulz was willing to gently but earnestly share from the Gospel of Luke is as important as it is impressive.


The Muppet Christmas Carol

3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
The Muppet Christmas Carol is a rather well-known recent-ish (1992) Christmas program, but it surprises me each year that it is not as much of a national event as the airings of the other classics.  When I was in college, I had a copy of the video on an early MP3 player I owned, and I would play the video while driving home from Virginia to Michigan.  The songs are just outstanding (find "It Feels Like Christmas" on YouTube and tell me you disagree.  The harmonies!), the lines are hilariously witty with significant fidelity to Dickens' original, and the Muppets have such a visual flare that I could picture the whole movie without taking my eyes off from the winding Appalachian roads.  This is easily #2 for me behind A Charlie Brown Christmas.

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
ReligiMedia -- this is my (occasional) blog in which I discuss religious content in mainstream entertainment.  Do subscribe, and watch for a "Christmas (in the 1960s) in July!" post. www.Religimedia.com 

JRPC -- the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture recently published some of my research on religion in classic Christmas specials - "Christmas in the 1960s: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Religion, and the Conventions of the Television Genre."  It's an academic journal that your local library will likely have access to, or you can purchase the article online. http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/w552ht473484w376/

Bronner's -- If you've not been to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan, you need to go.  It is reportedly the world's largest Christmas store, the grounds covering a total 27 acres.  The building itself is 7 acres of all-Christmas, all-year-round (except Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day).  If you go, be sure to purchase an ornament and have it personalized.  It is the quintessential Bronner's experience.  Afterward, you can find ornaments for everyone on your Christmas list... they have one of just about everything.  Then treat yourself to dinner at Zehnder's or the Bavarian Inn.  If you make it during the winter, be sure to schedule your trip during the annual ice festival.  www.Bronners.com  

Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean

5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
Mr. Bean: Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean (1992).  It's important that television producers feel the freedom to responsibly reference the spiritual meaning/history of Christmas (which is alive and well in the real lives of many many viewers).  That doesn't mean it can't be funny, though.  Mr. Bean's nativity scene is pretty funny.. complete with Daleks and a T-Rex.

ALF's Special Christmas (1987).  Haa!  He kills me.  (Actually, this one's a rather touching extended episode.)

The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Alan Brady Show Presents (1963).  Rob and Laura are a smash in their singing and dancing numbers, as always.