1) What Christmas program/movie have you seen more times than any other?
As much as I would like to say Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer since I've seen it every Christmas since 1964, I think the true answer is the four Lassie Christmas episodes with Timmy: 1958's "The Christmas Story," 1960's "The Christmas Story," 1961's "Yochim's Christmas," and 1963's "Lassie's Gift of Love." I have all of them on audio tape, too, so have listened as well as watched. I love them all, like being in a cozy seat in your pajamas and robe with an afghan for a throw, with good books and a cup of hot cocoa at your side--like being home.
|Lassie promotional still with Jon Provost (Timmy.)|
2) What is your favorite musical Christmas TV special, variety performance, or holiday song in a movie?
I'm going to have the same answer for two questions, because this is definitely Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. I've never been a big fan of other Magoo stories, but I love this one because it integrates Magoo's short-sightedness and tight-fistedness into the Scrooge character so well, and the songs are by Broadway songwriters. I was sort of the oddball kid at school and I most identified with "All Alone In the World" as a child because I didn't have any friends to share my interests. "Winter Was Warm" still makes me weep. I wish to acknowledge, however, those wonderful Perry Como Christmas specials where he traveled to a different place each year to do a Christmas show. I have a compilation tape of them (Williamsburg, Mexico, French Canada, Austria, the Holy Land)--sheer bliss!
3) What's your favorite TV or movie adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol?
Same as above, especially as it includes many lines verbatim from Dickens. If NBC (the original broadcaster) hadn't refused to broadcast a 65-minute version, we also would have had Scrooge's nephew, another scene with Belle (with her husband), and I believe another song. (There is a persistent rumor that "People" from Funny Girl was originally written for Magoo's Carol, but I believe it's been disproved.) And I love the "wrapper": A Christmas Carol as appearing on Broadway starring Quincy Magoo, especially for the "Broadway" song. That made me want to visit New York City for years!
|Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life (1946.)|
4) What do you think is the worst Christmas program/movie--or your least favorite, the most disappointing or most overrated?
I used to think Home Alone until I actually saw the movie. The famous business with "Kevin bashing the burglars" is actually a very small part of the film. However, I find that part a bit sadistic, so it's not one of my favorites. Holiday Inn is one I find myself bored by. But it has to be (sorry, Heat Miser/Snow Miser fans) The Year Without a Santa Claus and (please don't kill me) It's a Wonderful Life. I can't get through that film without wanting to slap Uncle Billy.
5) If you were asked to give advice to a TV network executive in charge of holiday programming, what would you suggest?
For heaven's sake, please stop broadcasting all the specials and Christmas episodes two weeks before Christmas, leaving us with reruns for the next two weeks. The British broadcast special programs and Christmas episodes of television programs up to and including Christmas day (look at Doctor Who!) I remember in the 1960s having new programs on Christmas Eve and even Christmas night. The excuse for this behavior is that 'people will be celebrating on those days.' Not everyone goes out to celebrate, and, with the advent of the DVR and other recorders, you need not miss a program again. Oh, and it's the Christmas season until January 6. It's okay to have Christmas movies after Christmas, too.
Very good points about the Christmas season, and extending beyond December 25. It seems the broadcast world puts Rudolph, Charlie Brown and Frosty on early in the month, then marathon everything around Christmas Day. Scattering things out would absolutely help.ReplyDelete
And yes... sometimes Uncle Billy does deserve a slap. He left the money in Mr. Potter's lap, for Pete's sake! :)
I'm enjoying the honest assessments that are coming out in the question about the worst/most overrated specials. Nice to hear there are others with some qualms about long-held classics. And I like that Mr Magoo is getting a lot of love too. I forgot him in my answers. Maybe next time there should be a question about the most aesthetically appealing, there's another one I could list off tons of answers for!ReplyDelete
...taking notes for next year. Thanks for the suggestions!Delete
i love that you mentioned the need for Christmas after Dec 25th. That has been a long standing issue for me as well, especially radio stations. It seems like once midnight Dec 26 hits then the music shuts down. Lets keep it going till the new year!!ReplyDelete
Drives me crazy. I think SiriusXM leaves one channel on until January 1 now, but everything else goes away.Delete
I'm with Jeff--I was worried that people wouldn't feel comfortable listing their least favorite Christmas programs but I'm pleased to see such honesty. Not everyone likes the same things--I think that's perfectly okay. Thanks everyone for your honesty. I think it leads to a richer discussion and new perspectives. Thanks Linda!ReplyDelete
I've never actually watched It's a Wonderful Life and I get death stares for telling people that. Everything is so personal at Christmas, it's like you're insulting their sacred cows. I think it's good to bring up points, but you can still love them. I've watched some horrible Lifetime Christmas movies that I just adored. Doesn't mean they were good, but I can still enjoy it. I might not tell as many people that one though ;)Delete
A couple of years ago now, Lifetime did a movie called THE MARCH GIRLS AT CHRISTMAS, an updated version of LITTLE WOMEN. Meg's now an aspiring lawyer, Jo ghostwrites a pop star's Twitter feed, Beth is a shy musician, and Amy is now interested in the stage and the bar scene. Some people were horrified because there was sexuality in the story, but really--a 2013 March family is going to be much different than an 1862 March family. I thought the two young men (Laurie's known as Teddy in the update and also John Brooke) weren't as well done, but there were good updates of Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Bhaer. I enjoyed it.Delete
I've never seen "Lassie's Gift of Love." They should show it on one of the retro stations; I'd love to see it.ReplyDelete
Hi, Dana! YouTube has it. Just search on "Lassie's Gift of Love."Delete
Linda, I have some of those sweet Lassie Christmas episodes on DVD. They were offering them for a very low price at a local store and I couldn't resist adorable Timmy and Lassie on the Christmassy cover.ReplyDelete
Also, I wanted to tell you... I've appreciated your television site at "Flying Dreams" for many years, especially your page on The Waltons!
Thanks! My LASSIE page is the most popular on that site. :-)Delete
I've always had a special love for Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol as well. It's done amazingly well and sincerely. Totally agree about showing more holiday programming on December 25th and would like it to continue at least through New Year! Nothing more depressing than December 26th when all the music goes off and specials stop running.ReplyDelete
I am going to have to give Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol a fresh look, since it has appeared here so often!ReplyDelete