About Christmas TV History

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Linda M. Young at Flying Dreams

Christmas TV Party 2014: Linda M. Young at www.flyingdreams.org

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
Definitely has to be Amahl and the Night Visitors.  Since we were Catholic, this was a classic around our house, and we watched it annually.  My favorite of the very early things watched was the original broadcast of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.  By the time I saw it the second time I practically had all the songs memorized. "All Alone in the World" still makes me cry!

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
That's a hard one. I would have to say the Lassie Christmas episodes with Timmy.  They're such quiet, gentle stories, and make me happy, and nostalgic.  Christmas at the Martin farm always looked so warm and wonderful, and I can just smell Ruth's baking and the real Christmas tree.

3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
One you never see any longer, a lovely film with Edward Asner and Maureen Stapleton called The Gathering.  Asner plays a driven businessman who discovers he is dying and tries to make amends with his estranged family.  This could have been mawkish but is heartwarming and touching instead. Super performances by Asner, Maureen Stapleton as his wife--heck, there's no fault with the entire cast.
Not to mention The House Without a Christmas Tree! Addie Mills is the child of my heart.

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
This is one of my favorite Christmas sites, The Antique Christmas Lights site, which traces the history of electrical Christmas tree lights. http://www.oldchristmastreelights.com/. You can also find some vintage photos and music here.

Shorpy.com is a collection of vintage photographs. If you love old photos, this is the place for you. By placing "Christmas" in the search box, you come up with this collection of old Christmas photos: http://www.shorpy.com/search/node/christmas

Since it's the 100th anniversary of the First World War, a page about the Christmas Truce:  http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/christmastruce.htm

5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
I mentioned Lassie above, but my others are The Waltons: "The Best Christmas" (the best of the three episodes this series did about Christmas; a definite "warm and fuzzy"). The Good Life (British title)/Good Neighbors (American title): "Silly, But It's Fun" (the Goods celebrate the holiday with simple preparations while their wealthy friends the Ledbetters grand plans come to naught), and especially All Creatures Great and Small: "Merry Gentlemen" (the vets try to save a sick Pekingese and a donkey foal with tetanus while Seigfried tastes the Christmas cake and Tristan tries to find out what's in the locked dining room).


  1. Cool. Never saw The Gathering, but it sounds quite interesting.

  2. The Gathering is wonderful... I enjoyed The Gathering Part 2 as well.

  3. I really need to see The Gathering as well and have been meaning to for some time. Oh and I still love Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol too!

  4. The Gathering was shot near where I currently live! Isn't that crazy!? Love that movie :D http://madefortvmayhem.blogspot.com/2010/07/christmas-in-july-gathering-1977.html

  5. Linda, always nice to see some love for Amahl - such a forgotten classic. And some excellent links - I'm looking forward to checking them out at greater length.

  6. Loved so many of your choices, Linda! Lassie is so sweet. The Gathering is so emotional. And, I Love The Walton's, too! It's wonderful to share our love for all these lovely Christmas Specials together!

  7. Awesome choices, Linda (and I'm thrilled to hear from a fellow fan of Walt Disney's Gallegher--too bad there was no Christmas episode of Gallegher)! I love your inclusion of the two British series--they are gems.