About Christmas TV History

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Set Your DVRs: Yes, Virginia

The latest adaptation of the story inspired by real-live event, Yes, Virginia is airing on Friday Dec. 17th at 8pm (EST) on CBS. This charming 2009 animated TV special is sponsored by Macy's. It tells the story of the the turn-of-the-century Virginia O'Hanlon who writes a letter to the newspaper asking about the existence of Santa Claus. The inspiring response written by the New York Sun's editor, Francis P. Church, begins with the now famous line "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus..."

This story inspired by actual events has been adapted for television several times. There was a 1991 TV movie entitled Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus which starred Richard Thomas as Virginia's father, Mr. O'Hanlon and Charles Bronson--yes, that Charles Bronson as the newspaper editor, Church. Unfortunately, this made-for-TV movie is difficult to find.

Actor Richard Thomas

Many of us grew up watching the half-hour animated 1974 adaptation. It is produced and directed by Bill Melendez, the same producer/director who made A Charlie Brown Christmas. This 1974 adaptation also features the title song performed by Jimmy Osmond, the youngest of the Osmond family's brothers.

Part 1 of 1974's Yes Virginia There Is a Santa Claus

Did you know: Virginia O'Hanlon actually appeared on the 1960 Perry Como Christmas Special? And, the original letter written by the young Virginia O'Hanlon turned up on an episode of PBS's Antiques Roadshow? It was authenticated and appraised by Kathleen Guzman.

Click here to see that episode of Antiques Roadshow.

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