About Christmas TV History

Friday, July 29, 2011

1990s Chanukah: Weinerville

Today I'd like our Christmas in July celebration to include a Chanukah episode from the 1990s TV series Weinerville that aired on Nickelodeon. Are you aware that TeenNick has been airing 1990s Nickelodeon shows after midnight on week days?  So far on the schedule has been All That, Kenan & Kel, Clarissa Explains It All, and Doug.  I'm hoping they eventually re-air Fifteen, the teen soap opera.  I was soooo addicted to that in the early 1990s.  Who remembers a *very young* Ryan Reynolds as Billy from that show? or Laura Harris as Ashley?  Okay maybe it's just me.  How many people remember the puppet show Weinerville?

Very recently, I was only able to view this 1995 installment because of the generosity from the Weinerville Chanukah Special producer, Harvey Gold.  Many, many thanks to him for sharing this, from his own personal collection, so that I could write about it.  And many thanks to his wife Dolli for making it happen.

A little explanation:  I write about Chanukah and include it in my encyclopedia and on this blog because there is often a great deal of cross-over on television's holiday episodes, specials and movies.  Though the origins behind the holidays of Christmas and Chanukah are quite different, their celebrations have many similarities including families coming together, honoring traditions and it being an inspiring, hopeful time of year.

The Weinerville Chanukah Special (1995)

Dotty on the phone
While Dotty is busy organizing this year’s Chanukah party at the Weinerville Ski Lodge, another drama is unfolding.  The space aliens, Sinrek and Nivek, also known as the Potato Heads, have crash landed their space craft at the ski lodge.  Their space craft has run out of oil while they are on the run from the evil space villain Antidorkus.  The evil Antidorkus and his crew want to eliminate the freedoms of the Potato Heads and make them just like themselves: evil.

Evil Antidorkus want to ruin your Chanukah!
Puppets Boney and Socko take the Potato Heads, who look just like giant potato latkas, to the local grocery store to get more oil and then they seek wisdom from an elder on the mountain, Gonsah K’nocker.  K’nocker sees many similarities between the Jews in the story of Chanukah and the Potato Heads.  Meanwhile, Antidorkus arrives at the ski lodge--will he ruin the Chanukah party?

Sinrek and Nivek have run out of oil!
This loud and silly, slapstick puppet show lends itself well to a memorable holiday special.  This story includes two Chanukah-inspired  songs: “The Hammer Came Down” about Judah Macabee, sung by Gonsah K’nocker, and ‘Menorah, Menorah’ sung by the house band, Cocktail Frank and his Weinies.

K'nocker is played by former 1970s glam rocker, David Johansen
Gonsah K'nocker is played hilariously by Buster Poindexter, also known as David Johansen to any New York Dolls fans.  You may also recognize him from his role as the taxi driving Ghost of Christmas Past in the 1988 movie Scrooged.  Other special guests in this episode include:  former SNL cast member, Laura Kightlinger, as the applesauce woman in the grocery store; professional wrestler, Diesel, as himself; former SNL cast member, Denny Dillon; and 1990s Nickelodeon Double Dare host, Marc Summers.

Boney and Laura Kightlinger in the grocery store.  I remember Kightlinger as Sheila the nurse on 'Will & Grace' too.

Check out the Weinerville channel on Youtube or watch this short clip of the Chanukah special:


  1. Wow. That sounds like one heck of a holiday episode! Great addition to the month, too!

  2. Wonderful blog, Joanna--so happy we were able to provide you with the episode. [Side note: for the sake of clarity, Harvey wasn't the producer of the entire Weinerville series; however, he did produce this Chanukah Special as well as the Weinerville Election Special in which Boney runs for President. :) ]