About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rubber City Pop Culture Fest 2017 recap

This past weekend (May 26-28th, 2017), I was signing books in Akron, Ohio at the first ever Rubber City Pop Culture Fest (rcpcfest). I met so many wonderful people and had a lot of fun! I'm such a pop culture nerd that I would have been there even if I hadn't worked it. It was exciting to share my passion for Christmas entertainment with so many new people--and to see people as enthusiastic I was about Christmas on TV and movies--in the month of May. Thanks again to everyone who came out to meet me. And, for those who weren't able to attend, I thought I'd share some of the highlights of the weekend's activities.

1701 Press booth. Photo courtesy of ArtsNow.

Artist Brian Dunphy

I had a chance to meet the artist Brian Dunphy. He was kind enough to show me the original art he did for the cover of The Devil Strip--a local arts & culture magazine--he drew last year when I was included on the cover. I'm in the top right quadrant of the illustration, sandwiched between basketball superstar LeBron James, the University of Akron's mascot Zippy, and Akron entrepreneur Cristina González Alcalá. The original art was quite impressive and it is an honor to be included on the cover with these other Akronites.

Being goofy with Big Mike.

I met the Mayor! Mayor McCheese, that is.

I also had the pleasure to meet Big Mike from Discovery Family channel's Lost & Found TV program. He also runs a vintage shop Finders Keepers in Sugarcreek, OH which I have followed on Instagram. With his partner Jesse, their booth was filled with quite a few Christmas pop culture items including copies of the European release (I think?) movie poster for A Christmas Story, a Charlie in the Box toy, a couple vintage Daisy BB guns, and tons more.

movie poster

A Charlie in the Box misfit toy character from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

collectible advertisement for BB gun in A Christmas Story.

Big Mike was extremely generous--he gave me a vintage TV dinner plate and a decades-old sign from Akron's Chapel Hill Mall, the birthplace of Archie the Talking Snowman (I wrote a local history book about Archie!).

This vintage Swanson's TV dinner tray (it's clean!) is made of thick aluminum--before they manufactured them in thin tin foil or cardboard. Thanks Big Mike!

Old school logo for Chapel Hill Mall--in east Akron.

Kris Kringle action figure from 1947's Miracle on 34th Street.

I even bought myself a Miracle on 34th Street action figure of Kris Kringle and the little girl he addresses in the 1947 movie who speaks Swedish. I'm excited to add this to my collection.

Super Nerd!

Saturday night's events included several wrestling bouts.

Several of the cosplay winners.

An enthusiastic Cleveland Browns fan--with a Browns/Leg Lamp t-shirt. Northeast Ohioans love A Christmas Story!

There were tons of superhero comics and merch but I was more attracted to TV collectibles, like these vintage M*A*S*H action figures.

Of course, the pop culture fest included celebrities, artists, vendors, and entertainment. There was also a cosplay contest, a zombie walk, bands, a charity auction, and even wrestlers. It was an eventful three days.

I won 2 lots in the charity auction--one lot included memorabilia from a now defunct professional soccer team called the Cleveland Force. The 2nd lot was a set of admission tickets to several local drive-in theaters. Guess where I'm going this summer?

And guess who I spotted walking through the venue? I recognized musician/songwriter Chris Butler--from the 1980s New Wave band The Waitresses. (Remember the 80s classic song "Christmas Wrapping"and the theme tune to TV series Square Pegs?) How cool is that? I connected with him over the phone when he shared with me his story about A Christmas Story that I included in Chapter 7 of my book Triple Dog Dare but it was great seeing him in person this weekend.

Me, Chris Butler, and his girlfriend Beth. RCPCFest 2017

If you didn't attend RCPCfest but would still like to get a signed copy of any of my books, you can order them directly from the publisher, on this website here. I hope you had an eventful Memorial Day weekend too!

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

TV Guide Christmas Quiz from 1996

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @TistheSeasonTV--here's a link), then you know I've had my head stuck in old TV Guide magazines lately. Seeing the decades-old advertisements for Christmas TV movies, specials and animation gets my heart pounding with excitement. There are other bits of info and features in the magazines that catch my attention too. When I stumbled across a quiz that tests knowledge of Christmas episodes, I knew I wanted to share it here.

How well do you know Christmas TV episodes?

I discovered the quiz in the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1996 TV Guide magazine. It was written by Rick Schindler. There are twenty questions--and the answers are provided. You just match the question to the correct series episode. Want to play? I've provided the correct answers down below. Just match up the number to the letter. Isn't this fun?

Here's the quiz. Below, I've also written it out. Remember the quiz was written in 1996 so don't consider any series made in the twenty years since then. GOOD LUCK!

Strange occurrences:

1. An orphan who doesn't believe in Santa is magically transported to the North Pole.

2. A time traveler tries to stop a real-estate tycoon from tearing down a mission.

3. A comatose woman is found to be pregnant--despite also being a virgin.

4. A man is kissed under the mistletoe--by a horse.


5. A TV newsroom on Christmas Day.

6. A police station flooded with homeless people.

7. A Chicago hospital, where a doctor is having an emergency tonsillectomy.

8. A high-stakes poker game pitting brother against brother.

9. A Chicago hospital, where a singer is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

10. Stranded in a bus station by a blizzard.

11. Stranded in an airport by a blizzard.

12. Stranded on a space station by mad scientists.

13. A Christmas party with a tropical theme in an overheated apartment.

14. The International Cottage of Flapjacks.


15. A bowler who pawns his bowling ball to buy a Christmas gift for his wife.

16. A former loading-dock foreman whose holiday guest is a draft evader.

17. An ex-astronaut who meets the Korean family he never knew he had.

18. A gentleman farmer who is forbidden to cut down a Christmas tree on his own property.

19. A small-town Scrooge who demands the sheriff arrest a local bootlegger.

20. A TV newswoman who receives the surprise gift of a pony.

Match the question to the Christmas episode:

A. Murphy Brown
B. Picket Fences
C. Friends
D. Northern Exposure
E. The Andy Griffith Show
F. Green Acres
G. All in the Family
H. Mystery Science Theater 3000
I. The Honeymooners
J. A Different World
K. Bewitched
L. Quantum Leap
M. Barney Miller
N. Home Improvement
O. Taxi
P. The Bob Newhart Show
Q. Mister Ed
R. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
T. Martin

While you're working on that quiz, I'll share an amusing cartoon I also found in TV Guide. This particular "That's EnterTOONment" strip was in the Dec. 9-15th, 2000 edition of the magazine. Its humor is aimed at Christmas TV entertainment fans like us.

(click on image to enlarge.)

Ready for the answers?
1. k
2. l
3. b
4. q
5. r
6. m
7. p
8. o
9. s
10. t
11. n
12. h
13. c
14. j
15. i
16. g
17. d
18. f
19. e
20. a

Give yourself 5 points for every correct answer. 0-20 points--Grinch. 25-45 points--Humbug. 50-70 points--Santa's Helper. 75-100 points--Wise Man.  How did you do? Thanks TV Guide.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com