About Christmas TV History

Monday, July 7, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Dixon Hayes at TV When I Was Born

The Andy Griffith Show
Christmas TV Party 2014: Dixon Hayes at TV When I was Born

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching? 
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I even remember the GE commercials and always wondered if Rudolph's shiny nose was meant to remind people of GE's Christmas lights.  As I grew older I realized the special's theme, about how everyone fits in sooner or later, in spite of, or perhaps *because* of, what makes them different, resonated with me.

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round. 

It's a Wonderful Life.  Call me corny, but that may be the closest Hollywood ever came to making a movie that stands for everything I believe in.

3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
WKRP in Cincinnati, "Jennifer's Home for Christmas" (December 17, 1979).  I don't hear this one discussed very much yet it's one of the laugh-out-loud funniest episodes I've ever seen, plus has a very sweet theme to it that tosses aside the "Christmas Carol" or "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Visit from Santa...or was it?" variations that populated sitcom plots up to that point.  Everyone showing up at Jennifer's with a Christmas tree, except Herb ("Sorry, Herb, can't get in without a tree!") just cracks me up and touches my heart at the same time.
(The following year, WKRP would go back to the old "Christmas Carol" well.)

l to right: Mel Tormé, Judy, and Jack Jones on the 1963 Christmas episode of The Judy Garland Show

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
My own classicsquares.com (tribute to the original "Hollywood Squares")

Bonus: My own TV When I Was Born blog has three Christmas themed entries:
The Judy Garland Show 

The Danny Kaye Show 

"The One with the Holiday Armadillo" from Friends

5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama? 
The Andy Griffith Show, "Christmas Story" (December 19, 1960) 
The Twilight Zone, "Night of the Meek" (December 23, 1960) 
Friends, "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" (December 14, 2000)


  1. That WKRP episode is classic! Not quite "I thought turkeys could fly" classic, but pretty close. Can't say the same for their take on A Christmas Carol, though that one's certainly watchable.

  2. Dixon, I loved your linked LASSIE writeup. Thanks for mentioning my LASSIE website!

  3. Don't recall the WKRP episode. Sounds like a fun watch!

  4. I feel like that Christmas episode of WKRP IN CINCINNATI is underrated too. Good call! It always makes me laugh too :D

  5. Great choices, Dixon! Again, always a pleasure to read about the shows that I've not seen, but others have. Thanks as well for the link to my site!

  6. Dixon, cool name, by the way! Loved your choice for fave movie year round. There isn't anything out there that is more deeply beautiful, in my opinion! It's a Wonderful Life will forever and always be my Christmas Movie favorite! It wouldn't feel like Christmas without it!

  7. Great choices, Dixon...everything from the "standards" such as It's a Wonderful Life to more eclectic call-outs like WKRP and Friends.