About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Groundhog Day!

I love Bill Murray in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day--who doesn't? But did you know that there are three, yes three other movies that adapt this same story structure for made-for-TV Christmas movies? Yes, three.

In 1996, there was Christmas Every Day, starring Robert Hays, Bess Armstrong and young hunk-of-the-month Erik von Detter. Here, 13 year-old Billy (von Detter) is having a miserable holiday--he’s not very good at basketball, he’s bullied in front of the girl he likes and his father is made unhappy by a business-minded uncle that wants to make drastic changes to their small community. But when Billy wakes up the next morning, he finds himself re-living Christmas day over and over again--just like the story in the movie Groundhog Day. At first Billy tries to stop his bullying by being an even bigger bully. On another Christmas day, he tries to make Christmas perfect--learning how impossible that project really is. What can Billy do to improve his Christmas except try his best to make it the most special day for everyone else around him.

In 2004, there was 12 days of Christmas Eve, starring Steven Weber, Molly Shannon and Stefanie von Pfetten. This movie is directed by Martha Coolidge. She has a previous significant Christmas TV connection: she directed the 1985 re-make of the classic episode "Night of the Meek" on the New Twilight Zone with actor Richard Mulligan playing the same role Art Carney made popular. Coolidge also directed one of my all time favorite movies, 1983's Valley Girl.

Businessman Calvin Carter is killed in an accident at midnight on Christmas Eve only to awaken in an otherworldly hospital room and told he has eleven more chances to re-live Christmas Eve and to get it right. This is a more clever interpretation of the film Groundhog Day. Though distracted by his business goals, Calvin is able on his last opportunity at Christmas Eve to live it as if it is his last day on Earth--and finds his priorities are finally straight. Wacky Molly Shannon plays Calvin’s angelic medical caretaker, Angie.

And, 2006 there was Christmas Do Over, starring Jay Mohr, Daphne Zuniga
Adrienne Barbeau and Ruta Lee. Lee is fantastic to watch as a non-traditional grandmother.

Spending a horrible holiday with his ex-wife, her new fiance and his former in-laws, Kevin (Mohr) finds himself more miserable than usual when his son makes a wish that every day were Christmas. Kevin re-lives each day as if it were his miserable Christmas all over again, unable to stop the cycle. That is, until he learns to let go of his selfish, mean-spirited behaviors and become loving and considerate again.

Is anyone eager to see a fourth version? Anyone?... Bueller?... Bueller?


  1. What about this segment of "Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas":

    Stuck On Christmas
    Huey, Dewey and Louie wake up on a Christmas morning and open up their presents, even though they are supposed to first wait for Daisy, Uncle Scrooge, and Aunt Gertie to arrive. After the boys took their new sleds from Uncle Donald (not reading the included gift card) and went sledding, had a Christmas dinner, and sang carols, it was time for them to go to bed. Having enjoyed the day immensely, the boys then wish that it would be Christmas every day. Their wish is granted and at first the three are joyful. After a few days, however, they begin to get sick of Christmas, so they then decide to change the course of the day by making tricks and pranks, including swapping a live turkey with the cooked one for the dinner table. The day turns out to be a bad Christmas. After learning how hard their family had tried to make the holiday better for them, the boys become guilty for their pranks. They then decide to make amends and turn the next day the best Christmas Day ever, thus ending the time loop.


  2. Thanks for adding to the discussion--it's been forever since I've seen that :)

  3. I think you could write a whole other book about Lifetime Christmas Movies. Just movies that Lifetime picked up, it would be an encyclopedia. Every year they show the same ones I've seen a dozen times and then about 10 new ones... I can't keep up!

    I know, a little Off Topic, but that's what I thought of when I saw the name Daphne Zuniga!

  4. Made-for-TV Christmas movies are in the encyclopedia that's coming out in November later this year--titled

    "Tis the Season TV: The Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials and Made-for-TV Movies."

    What a mouthful. Yeah, it's got the Lifetime ones, the Hallmark Channel ones and all the others that I could scrounge up. Perhaps the movies deserve their own book though--with lots of commentary! LOL

  5. Wow, that's going to be awesome. And when I say awesome, I mean... AWESOME.

    If you ever need extra commentary, you know where you can find me! :)