About Christmas TV History

Friday, December 7, 2012

Merry Musical Christmas Volume 1

My latest book Merry Musical Christmas Vol.1 is the first in a five volume series of books about the best Christmas music found in films and television.  Volume 1 focuses on the best Christmas music in TV sitcoms and dramas.  It is now for sale as an e-book and in paperback.  Click the following links for the Amazon listing: e-book and paperback.  You can also purchase a paperback version directly from the publisher--and even get an author signed copy--through this website.  Click the link on the ride-hand side of the blog.

From the introduction:

"While you might not immediately think of television as a medium to access Christmas music, there is in fact quite a bit of Christmas music to be seen and heard on TV during the holidays.  Whether we watch a favorite Christmas movie on DVD or the newest TV special, there is a long tradition of holiday specials and music within TV episodes, specials and movies.  Some of the carols we enjoy each year such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silver Bells” were originally written for and first heard in Hollywood films.  Still other carols have been the starting point for some of our favorite animated TV specials including Rudolph, Frosty The Snowman, and The Little Drummer Boy, helping to further cement these songs in the culture and making them Christmas standards."

Also from the introduction:

"One thing that hasn’t changed about Christmas on TV over the decades is the presence of music.  We still love to surround ourselves with music.  We may listen to the Christmas hits of our grandparents or hear the same songs sung by the latest teenage boy band, but music is an essential part of creating our cultural Christmas spirit.  And, music is an important part of narrative stories on television at Christmas time.  From television’s earliest success stories such as I Love Lucy and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet to contemporary fan favorites like Community and Glee, Christmas music is to be found throughout our favorite TV shows.  Just as you listen to and sing Christmas songs, so too our favorite TV characters celebrate their Christmases to a festive soundtrack, they also sing Christmas songs to express their spirit of the season."

Remember the hilarious version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" sung by the cast on The Mary Tyler Moore Show?

In this first volume, I discuss some of the best and most memorable musical performances in TV sitcoms and dramas, arranged in chronological order by series.  The book begins with television series from the 1950s and '60s and continues up through 2011.  My discussion includes shows as diverse as The Honeymooners and Bonanza, Sanford and Son and Ally McBeal, and Home Improvement and Doctor Who.  Sometimes these outstanding musical performances are made by cast members and sometimes by special guests.  You can read about the Christmas episodes where Patti LaBelle, Josh Groban, Kelly Rowland, Boyz II Men, and Tom Petty perform.  You can also read about the holiday episodes where legendary Christmas music-makers such as Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis, and Mel Tormé perform.  And so much more.

Christmas music can be the emotional thread woven through an episode’s story.  Remember this holiday episode of Community from 2010?

I even highlight a holiday TV tradition of the musical revue or show-within-a-show format.  This is where the characters in a sitcom find an opportunity to entertain an audience during the holidays and TV viewers are treated to a variety show featuring the regular cast of actors.  I discuss Christmas musical revue episodes found in Car 54, Where Are You?, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Good Times, Benson, Laverne & Shirley, The Facts of Life, and even South Park.

In the past, some TV casts recorded their own Christmas albums.  Today, it is possible to not only download Christmas music from particular holiday episodes--but the episodes as well.

The next four volumes of Merry Musical Christmas will cover the best of Christmas music in children's TV programming, movies, animated TV specials, and variety TV series.

From the introduction:

"My goal is to remind you of precious music memories from Christmas entertainment of the past, and to perhaps introduce you to something new.  Then you can share these musical moments with your family and loved ones in your own home in front of the television, perhaps inspiring you to create your own cherished Christmas memories.  I encourage you to not only read about the musical moments but to seek out and watch the TV episodes, specials and movies again.  Christmas music is one of those special experiences where hearing is believing."

So grab a copy of my new book, your remote control, and sing along.