About Christmas TV History

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Christmas is officially on its way when I see Santa Claus at the end of Macy's parade on Thanksgiving morning. This particular parade has become permanently associated with Christmas because of the popular movie Miracle on 34th Street. There have been several versions of the story including 1947's black-and-white version with Natalie Wood playing the skeptical little Susan Walker and 1994's color version with Mara Wilson in the same role. There is also at least three made-for-TV versions including one from 1973 starring Sebastian Cabot (that's Family Affair's Mr. French to TV junkies), one from 1959 starring Ed Wynn as Kris Kringle, and one from 1955 that was an installment of the anthology drama series The 20th Century-Fox Hour that is floating around under the misleading title "Meet Mr. Kringle."

But if you're looking to see another Christmas story with Macy's parade, check out the 1966 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. entitled "The Jingle Bells Affair." Here spies Napoleon Solo and Kuryakin are providing security for the Russian Chairman who is scheduled to speak at the UN after the holiday. However, the Chairman is so impressed with the parade and the abundance at Macy's department store that his comrades fear that he will betray the Communist commitment. An awesome Cold war episode. See page 81 for the original discussion of this episode in the book.

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