About Christmas TV History

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Christmas TV Party 2015: Ed South

Christmas TV Party 2015: Ed South at Ed South's Wonderful World of Blog 

1) What Christmas program/movie have you seen more times than any other?
This is probably a two-way even tie: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The Charlie Brown special is not only the quintessential Christmas special, it’s also the most perfect Charlie Brown special.  The Disney film has a wonderful sense of humor throughout as well as offering the perfect platform for a number of Disney characters to shine.  Besides being my two favorite Christmas programs, when I was younger I had them both taped off television one after the other on the same tape - so they were viewed as a double feature on more than one occasion. Now that I’m older and have my own family, it’s become a tradition to watch them both on Christmas Eve or as close to Christmas Eve as our schedule allows.

A close second is easily the Christmas episode of The Flintstones titled “Christmas Flintstone.”

from the 1964 episode "A Christmas Flintstone" from the animated series The Flintstones.
2) What is your favorite musical Christmas TV special, variety performance, or holiday song in a movie?
My favorite song from a Christmas special would have to be “Comin' Up Christmas Time,” first used in the special Casper’s First Christmas (1979) but more popularly known from the 1980 TV movie Yogi’s First Christmas. In both programs, the song is performed by a bunch of the Hanna-Barbera stable of animal characters. I was thrilled to find the song on a Christmas compilation CD many years ago, and it is on heavy rotation around the holidays!

3) What's your favorite TV or movie adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol?
Obviously Mickey’s Christmas Carol is at the top of my list, as is The Muppet Christmas Carol but I also really love Rich Little’s Christmas Carol which is a 1978 Canadian production, broadcast stateside on HBO. In the special, master impressionist Rich Little plays all the major roles in the Dickens tale, assigning each one to a different celebrity. He plays Scrooge as W.C. Fields, Jacob Marley as Richard Nixon, the Ghost of Christmas past is Inspector Clouseau…you get the idea. It's hilarious and also filled with really solid Christmas music.

4) What do you think is the worst Christmas program/movie--or your least favorite, the most disappointing or most overrated?
For me, it’s most disappointing when you are able to track down a Christmas episode of an old TV show only to find out that the episode didn’t really have anything to do with Christmas. I love the current trend of releasing DVDs full of old Christmas episodes, but sometimes the shows turn out to just be the ones that aired near Christmas - and don’t really have a Christmas related plot.

5) If you were asked to give advice to a TV network executive in charge of holiday programming, what would you suggest?
Play More Old Stuff!!! With more and more cable channels finding out that Christmas equals ratings, I don’t understand why somebody out there hasn’t added vintage variety specials to the mix. Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, pretty much any celebrity who could sing in the 60’s or 70’s had a Christmas special but they are never on TV. I would love to see more of television’s history rebroadcast for today’s audiences!


  1. I love Comin' Up Christmas Time, a great song. I just wish the Yogi's First Christmas special held up as well. Ugh! And I remember that Rich Little special. I must have watched it as a kid. Another I remember seeing as a kid was Red Skelton's Klem Kaddidlehopper's Christmas Special (or some name along those lines). I really enjoyed it as a kid. I wonder how it would hold up today?

  2. Three cheers for "Comin Up Christmas Time!" The Yogi special is a personal favorite as well.

    Rich Little in all the characters sounds interesting... I wonder if a full copy is available to view someplace.

    Nice variety and write-up!

  3. Replies
    1. Me too! Bring back that Bing & Andy Christmas Specials! There's a few generations now (including myself) who have never seen them! :)

  4. I'm a big fan of Rich Little's Christmas Carol too. If anyone wants to see it--it has been officially released on DVD. Very easy to find. It's a delight to watch--a wealth of pop culture references and jokes. My favorite example: Tiny Tim is played by Little's version of Truman Capote.

  5. More love for good ole' Charlie Brown! I love it!

    That song “Comin' Up Christmas Time” is so sweet, nostalgic, and classic. Just hearing it takes me back. Glad you found that youtube clip to share it!

    Also, love Rich Little, the comedian. I bet this Christmas Carol version is a hoot.