About Christmas TV History

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fan Photo--#7

Sonja, a new resident of Iowa City

Thanks for everyone who participated in the fan photos during my Christmas in July celebration!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

'The Snow Queen' on Kinder Trauma

More TV Christmas in July discussion is happening on the amazing blog Kinder Trauma. In this post, a writer details their childhood horror from watching an animated version of The Snow Queen adapted from the creepy tale originally written by Hans Christian Andersen. Fun huh? They would probably appreciate your comments at their site. Or, leave them on the group at Facebook.

I Made it on "Made for TV Mayhem"

You may have to imagine snow to recognize this house as the one in the movie!

On the hottest day of the year, so far, I found myself driving around Northeast Ohio taking snap shots of the locations used in the 1977 holiday TV movie The Gathering. The blog that covers made-for-TV movies, Made for TV Mayhem graciously offered me the opportunity to write about this Christmas classic as a guest blogger. And, if you're into TV movies, don't hesitate to follow her blog regularly. (Amanda also makes it easy to follow her blog by way of Facebook too).

The Gathering is just one of hundreds of listings of movies in my upcoming book Tis the Season TV: The Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials and Made-for-TV Movies, coming out this November.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys (2004)

Remember those heady days of the by-gone era: 2004? Yeah, me neither. But I haven't forgotten this movie Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys, directed by Ted Nicolaou in 2004. This Syfy Channel original movie is the ninth installment in the campy series of Puppet Master stories. Just before Christmas, Robert Toulon, the great-grandnephew of the previous puppet master, stumbles upon the chemical formula which brings his puppets to life. Through industrial espionage, Sharpe Toys learns of Toulon’s secret and sets out to steal the puppets and end the Toulon family blood line. Sharpe Toys is selling the hottest toy of the holiday season, the animatronic Christmas Pals. The head of this rival toy manufacturer, the evil Erica Sharpe has made a deal with a demon from hell to sell her life-like toys to children all over the world so that on Christmas morning, the demon will be able to use his toy minions to take over the world.

As the countdown to Christmas morning continues, the existence of Toulon’s protective puppets threaten Erica’s plans for world domination. The demonic toys are a trash-talking baby doll, a bloodthirsty teddy bear and a snaggle toothed jack-in-the-box. There’s also a distracting side story, a romance develops between police officer Sgt. Russell and Toulon, which interfers with his focus, allowing the evil toy manufacturer to kidnap Toulon’s teenage daughter, Alex. You know the world is safe from evil toys when former child actor and reality series actor, Corey Feldman is cast as the the lead and hero. Though this movie is awful, you have to stick it through to the end in order to see Baal, Hell’s demon dressed as Santa Claus in the final showdown. Toulon arrives to rescue his daughter and the puppets attack the demonic toys.

With all the adorable and heart-felt Christmas stories about toys and dolls coming to life, this movie really stands out. Not just because these toys are brought to life through virgin’s blood and demonic power but...well, maybe that’s why. Perhaps after seeing this, you’ll watch Toy Story and Jim Henson's The Christmas Toy a little differently.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Christmas in July Guest Blogger: Amanda Reyes

I am honored to post a discussion of the Animagic classic Nestor from Amanda. She's the blogger from Made for TV Mayhem, who writes on television movies and horror. I've really come to love her writing. She really knows her stuff. So grab a tissue and enjoy her review!

Nestor, the Long Eared Donkey
Review by Amanda Reyes

I just moved from Los Angeles, California to Silver Spring, Maryland. The humidity here can be painful, so I was more than happy to oblige Joanna when she asked me to contribute a guest blog during her Christmas in July bonanza. Thinking about the snow has been delightful, although Nestor always brings a bittersweet tear to my eye.

Rankin and Bass are famous for their holiday specials. Their stop motion animation was splendid and simple and the stories were both glorious and heart-wrenching. Rankin and Bass really touched on our need for acceptance while finding our own identity. Rudolph did it; even Baby New Year did it. But no one and I mean no one captured that balance between owning one’s uniqueness while enduring the hardships of not belonging the way Nestor the Long Eared Donkey did.

Nestor (voiced by Eric Stern) just wants to have friends, but his unfortunate ears make him the joke of the farm. On Winter Solstice after finally receiving a little love from his stable-mates, soldiers from the Roman Army come to whisk away the young donkeys to fight in the war. Nestor’s owner Olaf (voiced by Rankin and Bass regular Paul Frees) tries to sell him, but when the soldiers realize he has these grotesquely long ears, they throw him back, take the rest of the donkeys and refuse to pay Olaf. This infuriates the already sleazy landlord and he throws Nestor out on his duff. Nestor’s loving mother follows him into the cold, snowy night.

It’s almost impossible to go on from here. What happens next is so utterly tragic that if I think about it long enough I’ll start crying. And not just a single Demi-Moore-in-Ghost-tear, I mean buckets of tears. This is why Nestor is so dang good. Sure, it’s overly sentimental, but it also captures the warmth of love and appreciation we get from our mothers (or at least that’s what I got from mine) and to see what becomes of her is just… well, it’s devastating.

Needless to say, now Nestor is on his own and with the help of an adorable cherub named Tilly (voiced by Brenda Vaccaro) he finds his destiny, which is to help the pregnant Mary get to the manger so she can have the baby Jesus.

Let’s put the cards on the table, I’m not a terribly religious person but this movie is effective as both a spiritual parable and a sweet allegory about doing unto others. With songs as sweet as Don’t Laugh and Make Somebody Cry, this special is all about respecting others and finding greatness in your own uniqueness. In the end, Nestor owned those ears and became the toast of the town. Even grumpy old Olaf is excited to see him (although I think Olaf needs a talking to at this point).

From as far back as I can remember Nestor has been a staple of my Christmas viewing pleasure. Through the years he’s come to symbolize the idyllic parts of my childhood because he was synonymous with the holiday. Later he became a vehicle to lose myself in when I needed a reminder that good exists and finally, as I enter into my late 30s, I’ve sort of become Nestor. I lost both of my parents almost five years ago. Every time I hear Nestor’s mother say, “Ears, Nestor,” I can’t help thinking about all those cold nights my mom kept me warm. And something inside me feels like Nestor was preparing me to accept my life as an orphan. He was telling me that I could find my way, even in the darkest hours, and discover my greatness. I’m still searching for that plateau, but so very thankful that Nestor has been there to guide me.

Fan Photo--#6

Betsy from Columbus, OH

She's too cute! Thanks to everyone that has participated. If anyone still wants to have their Christmas in July photo on the blog, send it before the end of the month. Email it to me at: Joanna [@] 1701Press [dot] com.

I expect Betsy would like the Yo Gabba Gabba! "Christmas" episode. This gentle children's series offers music and movement with a holiday theme. And, artist/musician Mark Mothersbaugh demonstrates how to draw a snowman.

Port Clinton Book Talk Update

The poster announcing my book program in the library's entrance

My book talk last Thursday at the Ida Rupp Public Library in Port Clinton, Ohio went well. I learned that my program was mentioned in two local print newspapers as well the on-line announcements. Thanks again to Joan Bryden who interviewed on WPCR, Port Clinton radio and Lauren Lemmon, the librarian who arranged the book talk.

Though there were severe thunderstorm warnings and even the threat of a tornado, several did brave the elements to attend. (The rain and flooding ended up being so severe, I had to wait inside the building for an hour for it to let up!) Anyway, our nostalgic discussion included: the 2002 TV movie The Christmas Shoes and its follow-up movies; the 1977 TV movie The Gathering; the Andy Willliams Christmas specials; the King Family Christmas specials; and my favorite animated shows' Christmas episodes from Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Checking my notes

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fan Photo--#5

What corny vacation photo! Thanks, Dom.

I'm still accepting photos. Send me a photo of yourself with the book and I'll post it during my Christmas in July promotion. Get creative. And include your name and location, if you like. Send it to: Joanna [@] 1701Press [dot] com.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award Winner!!

According to the rules, I'm required to:

1. Thank the person who loved me enough to bestow this gift.

~~Thank you Kiki Howell of Author By Authors.

2. Share seven things about myself.

~~Seven huh? Okay. One: I drink way too much soda pop. Two: I collect TV novelizations. Three: Though I was cast as Peppermint Patty in my second grade stage production of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas,' I was very disappointed that I wasn't chosen to be Linus. Four: I won my age division in my first Ironman-length triathlon in 2003. Five: I still can't believe I won my age division in my first Ironman-length triathlon in 2003. Six: I'm one of two den mothers for my local 'Dance Dance Party Party' franchise, an all-girl organization that schedules dance opportunities outside of the nightclub scene. Seven: I wish I could watch more TV than I already do.

3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers–in no particular order–who are fantastic in some way.

~~I'm not able to select ten but I'll do my best:

Made for TV Mayhem--fun and interesting writing on television's movies. She also loves horror!

Caffeinated Joe--keeps me on my toes!

Steve the Movie Guy--great posts on film

I Estivate, Therefore I Am--great blog about music from the 1960 and the 1970s

Film School Rejects--the latest film discussions

John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film/TV--awesome!!

TV Worth Watching--this is TV critic David Bianculli's blog

Feel free to check any or all of these blogs. They are certainly worth following. And, remember you can always easily follow my blog here, on Facebook (join the group 'Christmas TV Companion Blog') or through Twitter (TistheSeasonTV).

This blog also connects from the web address: ChristmasTVhistory.com

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kindertrauma link: Scarey Christmas Carol

Oh look! Someone else is talking about Christmas on TV in July. If you don't already follow it--and why don't you?--you should check out the blog Kindertrauma.

Last week, someone wrote in about a very scarey animated version of Jacob Marley in an old adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol.'

Traumafessions :: Reader Bluegrasslass on A Christmas Carol (Animated)

Don't forget to leave your comments on their site.

Fan Photo--#4

Bryan from Akron, OH

Thanks everyone for your photos. Remember, I'll be posting fan photos through the end of the month. Get creative and send me a photo of yourself holding the book: Joanna [@] 1701Press [dot] com.

I'll be hosting a book talk about Christmas on TV at the Ida Rupp Public Library tomorrow, Thursday, July 22nd at 7pm in Port Clinton, Ohio. Please come and share your favorite Christmas TV moments or just listen to me talk about what went into writing 'The Christmas TV Companion.' Books will be available for purchase and I'll be glad to sign a copy, if you would like. See you then!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Christmas in July Guest Blogger: Wendy Schweiger

Continuing with my celebration of Christmas in July, I welcome my second guest blogger, Wendy Schweiger. She writes an impressive and fascinating blog about 1960s-70s music. You must check it out:

I Estivate, Therefore I Am

That is why it is such a treat for her to share her reading of the 1964 holiday episode of the music TV series Shindig. Thank you Wendy. And I've provided the episode below her essay so you can watch it for yourself.

O (un)Holy Night – the Shindig! Christmas episode

As a young devotee of the 60’s music scene, TV variety shows aimed at my demographic – like Shindig! – were great blessings in our world of limited communication technologies. The show was a marvel, and I couldn’t wait to see the hottest acts, live, each week. But it overstepped its bounds when the producers felt a need to go all Christmas-y on us.

Accuse me of Scrooge-like tendencies if you must, but nothing was more alienating – and less entertaining – than imposing a Yuletide flavor on a rock and roll show. The Beach Boys singing We Three Kings of Orient Are? No, and hell no!

Yet, on December 23, 1964, that’s exactly what we got – and more. You’d think this was one venue that could be a tradition-free zone. Instead, we got a show with an ick factor that was off the charts, the furthest thing from entertainment.

It started out innocently enough – the Beach Boys opened with Dance Dance Dance, the first single I ever bought. Some Christmas tree props are dotting the set, but that’s bearable. It starts to go wrong when the ever-ebullient host Jimmy O’Neill is seen kissing a bespectacled dancer under the mistletoe. A few more songs untampered with – you don’t want to mess with Marvin Gaye singing How Sweet It Is, now do you? – but soon enough, the acts are singing Christmas songs, fake snow is falling, they’re pretend-riding on sleighs and wearing overcoats.

This reaches its pinnacle with the Beach Boys singing the cringeworthy Little St. Nick – even Dennis Wilson looks a bit nauseated as he beats away on his drums. Help me Rhonda! By now the Shin-diggers have got their boogie on in fleece-trimmed minidresses to go with their go-go boots.

But the worst creative decision of all came at the show’s close, and it has to be seen to be believed. The credits are already rolling and returning to the stage is Marvin Gaye, singing Hitchhike. Great song, that … but then they cut away to the Shin-diggers in silhouette, and when Marvin returns he’s swaddled in winter outerwear and Christmas-izing the song. Again with the fake snow. That would’ve been bad enough, but wait … suddenly the sound gets turned down on Marvin, the backlights go up and there are the Beach Boys, bathed in holiness, crooning We Three Kings of Orient Are. I am not making this up!

It’s that kind of spectacle that could turn a girl off Christmas forever.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979)

Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July is a feature-length Rankin/Bass Animagic movie that was originally released into theaters in the summer of 1979. It brings together many of the favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas characters from previous TV specials. For the first time, we see Frosty the Snowman in stop motion and not traditional cel animation. Although the story takes place over the Fourth of July, this film now regularly airs at Christmas time.

The wicked tyrant King Winterbolt has always had his magic power tempered by Lady Boreal, Queen of the Northern Lights. But Winterbolt is jealous of the popularity of Santa Claus and wants Santa's admirers to be his own. Winterbolt moves to jeopardize Christmas by eliminating Rudolph’s glowing red nose which allows Santa to deliver his gifts in adverse weather conditions. Winterbolt decides to take advantage of a situation that Rudolph and Frosty are already involved in.

Rudolph, Frosty, his wife Crystal and their two children as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus are all taking a summer vacation to visit the Circus By the Sea over the Fourth of July. They are there to help their friend Milton the Ice Cream Man get married to high wire walker, Lanie Loraine. But Lanie won’t marry Milton until the financial troubles of the circus are over. So Rudolph, Frosty and the gang all offer to perform at the circus to help raise the required monies. Unaware of his motives, the Frostys accept magical amulets from Winterbolt that will prevent them from melting in the July heat. However, they must return to the North Pole before the end of the fireworks display on the Fourth. Santa Claus promises to fly the Frosty family home before they melt so they too can enjoy a summer vacation.

But Winterbolt has sabotaged their vacation from the start. He sends a tornado storm to drive Santa and Mrs. Claus’s sleigh out of the sky, forcing them to never arrive at the Circus By the Sea. Winterbolt also sends a devious reindeer named Scratcher to set up Rudolph to take the blame for stealing the circus’ profits. Rudolph loses the power of his glowing nose when he takes the blame for the wrongdoing--a sacrifice made to prevent the Frosty family from melting when Santa’s sleigh doesn’t arrive in time on the Fourth.

This classic tale has a complicated story but iconic imagery as well. Both Rudolph and the Frosty family perform at the Circus By the Sea. This circus is run by Lanie’s mother, Ms. Lilly Loraine who dresses in a cowgirl outfit. This character is voiced by the unforgettable Ethel Merman. The role is certainly a nod to Merman’s outstanding Broadway role as Annie Oakley in the long-running show ‘Annie Get Your Gun.’ King Winterbolt is also a major character in this story that makes a lasting impression. He rides atop a sleigh pulled by snakes and uses snow dragons to create his crippling winter storms.

But the outstanding feature of this one-of-a-kind movie is the reunification of many of the TV characters from previous Rankin/Bass specials. This movie not only features Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but also Frosty the Snowman, his wife Crystal, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, Jack Frost and the giant whale, Big Ben from ‘Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.’ Making this reunion even better is that the characters are all voiced by their original actors as well.

And, if you think Christmas in July is obnoxious, then you'll really enjoy Merman's version of 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' the last song of this stop motion classic.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Radio interview--WPCR in Port Clinton

I'm on the radio! My interview will be available for one week only. Follow the link: my interview is available for listening on-demand--Friday's Talk@Ten. Why is it always so painful to hear the sound of one's own voice?

WPCR.com radio interview, July 16th-22nd

Let me know what you think of the interview.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Port Clinton Book Talk

I'll be appearing at the Ida Rupp public library in Port Clinton, OH next week--Thursday, July 22nd at 7 pm.

If you are in the area, you are welcome to this free event to talk about Christmas programming on TV. Come and share your favorite Christmas TV moments and listen to me discuss my two books on the subject, The Christmas TV Companion and the upcoming Tis the Season TV.

I'll be available afterwards if you would like to buy a copy of The Christmas TV Companion and to sign copies of the book. (Tis the Season TV will be released later this year, in November).

See what they're saying about me on Funcoast.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christmas in July Marathon: Set Your DVR

Most recent Fan Photo--not only did he make time to write me a blurb last year, but he's sending me Fan Photos in July. Thanks Santa! Send your photo with the book and I'll put it on the blog too. Send photos to: Joanna [at] 1701Press [dot] com.

For viewers looking to watch Christmas programming--I have a new alert. TV One, an upper tier cable network that broadcasts entertainment for African-Americans, is having a 24 hour Christmas in July marathon starting 6 am (EST) Saturday July 24th-25th.

This marathon consists of the holiday episodes from the following sitcoms:

Sanford and Son
Good Times
The Jeffersons
A Different World
Living Single
the PJs
Tracy Morgan Show
All of Us

Check their website for the schedule to locate particular episodes. The Cartoon Network is also scheduling a Christmas in July marathon for Sunday 25th. More details on that later.

I'm very disappointed that Lifetime seems to dropping the ball with a holiday movie marathon. In the past, they've aired 'Fa La la La Lifetime'--a special promotion of their holiday movies in the summer. Perhaps it will still come in August--but they're website is chaotic so it's difficult to anticipate. In past years, the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Network have also scheduled special holiday movies in the summer. This year they are not doing a special promotion, as I mentioned in a past post. That's too bad. They invest a lot of money into original holiday programming but don't look to promote it as much as possible. I know what I'll be watching July 24th and 25th.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Christmas in July Guest Blogger: Kiki Howell

I've asked writer and friend, Kiki Howell, to share with us what she likes to watch on TV at Christmas time. Kiki writes magical erotic romances with over a dozen published titles. She also writes the blog Authors By Authors for which I was interviewed this previous week:

Eric McCormack and Roma Downey in 1997's TV movie Borrowed Hearts

As a writer, I love the idea of Christmas in July as it is about this time, and earlier, that submissions for holiday stories start closing and I start writing one! Much to my families dismay, this can mean digging out my favorite Christmas movies.

One of my favorites has always been A Christmas Carol, but it has to be the version with George C Scott as Scrooge. Personally, I think he portrays my idea of Mr. Scrooge perfectly, all gruff which makes for a better redemption. This movie is dark when it needs to be. The sounds when the casket comes down the road and the ghost of Christmas past are perfect, as is the carolers in the streets and so much more. The scenery is amazingly done. I love that Victorian era at the end of Regency England.

An off topic Christmas fact from that time period: In 1843 the year Dicken’s wrote "A Christmas Carol," Henry Cole commissioned JC Horsley to design a card he could send out for Christmas. He had 1000 of them printed out to save himself the time of penning letters to family and friends at this time of year. It will come as no surprise then that this same man had introduced the penny post. By 1860, Christmas cards were in widespread use in England.

Beyond the paranormal though, I am a sucker for a good romance. A few of my favorite sappy-holiday movies are Borrowed Hearts and A Season For Miracles (Hallmark). When writing romance, coming up with new ways for two people to meet can be a challenge. In these two stories, the uniqueness of this aspect is wonderful, especially set during the holidays. Other than that, I can’t really tell you why I can watch these two movies over and over again, or why my heart soars, my eyes get misty or why they never cease to bring a smile to my face. The two hearts uniting, the Christmas scenery…all of it mess together to chick flick perfection for the season. Indescribable wonder of the season!

In past years I have added a few new must watch movies to my list thanks Hallmark and ABC Family. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year with Henry Winkler and A Boyfriend For Christmas are both at times funny and at times touching, but both romantic and highly seasonal.

And, as far as the classics go, while not very Christmasy at all, I have to watch White Christmas. I still sing the snow song, maybe because I love to watch everyone in the house cringe, every time it snows. And, I would just not enjoy the holidays without watching A Muppet Family Christmas. I mean you get to experience the holiday in Fraggle Rock, there is that cute rendition of "The Night Before Christmas" with Ernie once again humiliating Bert, Miss Piggy has never been more beautiful than when she is pulled through the blizzard on that sleigh, and I never fail to cry when Jim Henson appears in the kitchen to say he likes it when they have a good time. Ahhh…. To round off the list with children’s specials I have to add Twas The Night and The Grinch. I can hear my family sighing now, and it becomes louder as they grow up, as I stack up my favorites by the TV. LOL! My hope is that someday, when they are no longer teenagers, they will come to appreciate being forced to watch these shows with me. *giggles*

Kiki Howell ~where love is a mystical thing~

1999's A Season for Miracles starring Carla Guginol

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fan Photo--#3

A reminder: I'm soliciting readers to send in a photo of themselves with the book for the month of July. Show us your Christmas in July spirit! Send your photo to me at: joanna [at] 1701press [dot] com and I'll post them. Here's the latest:

Thanks Steve! This is Professor Steve, one of my proofreaders.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Interview on 'Author by Authors'

I was recently interviewed by fellow author and friend, Kiki Howell, for the website Authors by Authors. This is a site where people can read interviews written by their favorite authors talking with their favorite writers. Yeah, it's pretty clever. Howell writes magical erotic romances--very hot stuff right now if you're into werewolves, witches and the supernatural. Be forewarned: her stuff is adult material. However, my interview is tame. She even includes an excerpt from 'The Christmas TV Companion' on my discussion of 1974's horror classic Black Christmas.

Authors by Authors Interview

Thanks Kiki for this wonderful opportunity. She will be a guest blogger here within a few days.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Set Your DVRs: The Middle's 'Christmas'

Set Your DVR: Wednesday, July 7th, 8:30pm (EST) on ABC for the holiday episode entitled 'Christmas' on the hit new family sitcom The Middle.

If you're not already a big fan of this new successful sitcom, the Christmas episode will win you over. Mother, Frankie played by Patricia Heaton, wants to sing in the church choir's Christmas program but knows that planning and preparing for the holiday takes too much of her time and energy. But when her husband Mike, played by Neil Flynn, offers to 'take care' of it all so she can rehearse with the choir, she is doubtful of his competence. The real star of this show is the youngest son Brick played by Atticus Shaffer. In this episode, Brick has an existential crisis when he loses his Santa Claus Pez dispenser. This episode is the 2009 holiday episode re-airing as a part of the regular cycle of reruns this summer.

Another summer rerun is the holiday episode of the new comedy Community, airing Thursday July 8th at 10 pm (EST) on NBC. This episode entitled 'Comparative Religion' sees the classmates from this community college at the end of the semester worrying about their Spanish language final exams, a bully and Shirley's Christmas party. But not in that order.

Or, if you are so inclined, a holiday episode of American Chopper is on Thursday morning, July 8th at 11 am (EST) on the Discovery Channel. I'm making a point to highlight this series' Christmas episode because this particular episode 'Make-A-Wish Bike' can be difficult to find on TV schedules. One can always purchase the episode from iTunes or Amazon.com but catching it as it rebroadcasts on the network is tricky. Somehow this episode doesn't pull up easily on internet search engines and online TV schedules. Anyway, this third season special of American Chopper sees Paul Jr. take more of an active role in working on the bike the shop creates for a charity event for Christmas. This is just one of three Christmas installments of the reality series about custom motorcycles and the Orange County Choppers workers.

Did you know Christmas episodes of all sorts air year round on television?--every day in fact. Above are just a few highlights of shows airing this week. Let me know if this is helpful--or if you're looking to watch something in particular. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fan Photo--#2

A reminder: I'm soliciting fans of the book to send in a photo of themselves with the book for the month of July. Show us your Christmas in July spirit! Send your photo to me at: joanna [at] 1701press [dot] com and I'll post them. Here's the latest:

Hadassah from Indianapolis--dangerously cute!

Netflix Christmas in July

Do you have Netflix? One suggestion for enjoying holiday movies this month is to watch them instantly, streaming on your TV or computer. Netflix has a variety of Christmas movies available to its customers this month through its instant viewing catalog. Of course, you can always rent ANY of its holiday movies through the mail any time of the year--in fact, there's rarely any delay on most Christmas titles in the off season! But I'd like to point out some of the Christmas-themed titles currently available for instant viewing. However, this is not a complete list. There are too many to list them all!

>>>The 2006 mini-series Hogfather is available. It is based on the sci-fi/fantasy book series written by popular author Terry Pratchett. This most unusual story includes the sickle-weilding Death character taking over the role of the Hogfather, a sort of pig Father Christmas as the annual gift-bringer. It must be seen to be believed.

>>>The 1997 re-make of The Christmas Memory, a movie version of Truman Capote's nostalgic short story. This version stars Patty Duke as the frail cousin Sook. However, this adaptation is not as good as the far more rare TV version from 1966 which stars Geraldine Page. But the story is certainly worth it even if it is not the superior adaptation. My favorite line: "Oh my, it's fruitcake weather."

>>>If horrible, campy horror movies are your thing, check out Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys. It stars Corey Feldman as the great-grandnephew of the previous puppet master in this ninth installment of the puppet master series of movies. Enough said.

>>>Dog movies were the most popular trend in Christmas movies last year. You can return to your own childhood by watching Benji's Very Own Christmas Story which features the lovable dog from several decades a go.

>>>The 1980 TV movie A Christmas Without Snow is also available. It includes actress Michael Learned in the lead role while she was still starring on the hit TV show The Waltons.

>>>My favorite instant options are the three called Holiday Classics:
Holiday Classics: The Blessed Midnight/The Gift
Holiday Classics: A Star Shall Rise/A String of Blue Beads
Holiday Classics: Joe Santa Claus/The Orphan's Christmas

These three titles are Christmas-themed episodes from long-lost TV shows that have slipped into the public domain. Most are installments from dramatic anthology series from the 1950s although 'The Orphan's Christmas' is actually from the childen's pirate series The Adventures of Long John Silver. I love watching these old forgotten TV shows.

Netflix is not the only source to watch holiday-themed programs in July. Don't ever forget your local library. And, it's free!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010