About Christmas TV History

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Christmas in July 2017: Daniel Budnik

Christmas in July 2017: Daniel Budnik from Some Polish American Guy Reviews Things

1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus? 

My initial thoughts are "Night of the Meek" from The Twilight Zone or Christmas Evil. But, after taking a moment, I’ve chosen Santa Claus from the Doctor Who episode "Last Christmas." I’m not going to go into the story because it’s a Moffat-fueled hoot that would take ages to explain. But, Nick Frost as Santa is fantastic. Not only is he the Santa I’ve always imagined but he kicks butt. That’s what I want from Mr. Claus. Plus, when The Doctor finally retires, I think he becomes Santa Claus. (In "The Doctor Dances," it’s intimated that he might actually be Santa. So there you go.)

from 1974's Happy Days Christmas episode.

2) What's your favorite Christmas episode from a TV series?

If you’ve read any of my previous Christmas in July columns, this will make me sound like a broken record. I go with "Guess Who’s Coming To Christmas," the second season Happy Days Christmas episode. I can watch this any time of year and it makes me happy. It’s the first real step in the show towards incorporating The Fonz into the world of the Cunninghams. It’s also the first real sign that The Fonz is human and not just a rebellious chick magnet with a great bike. (Of course, this is a season or two before he’d become the wonderful superhuman we all love). It’s also a sign that keeping up the façade of being Cool might have a price. And that price is a lonely Christmas with only your bike, a small tree and ravioli out of a can. Thank Goodness that Richie figures it all out. Plus, there’s the bittersweet moment welcoming the Fonz in and saying goodbye to Chuck. But, I won’t go into that.

I’d also like to add an OTR episode. The Fibber McGee and Molly Christmas episode from December 21, 1942. Not only is it very, very funny. But, their closing remarks about the War always make me tear up. FM&M was one of the most patrotic of OTR shows (along with Bob Hope) and this moment is just wonderful. A conflict much of the country could actually get behind. That hasn’t happened in my lifetime and I find it fascinating.

3) Do you enjoy watching Christmas entertainment year round or do you only like watching it during the holidays? And, why?

I love, love, love Christmas entertainment. However, I do generally save it for Christmastime. I watch stuff from Thanksgiving Weekend to New Year’s. I can watch Xmas stuff all year long but I prefer to save it. However, if I’m watching a show in episodic order and I come upon a Christmas episode, no matter what time of the year, I’ll savor it. And, sometimes if it gets too hot (I prefer the cold. I have little tolerance for heat.), I will put on something Christmassy and snowy. (Or the slasher film Iced, which might be set around Christmas.)

4) This is the 21st century--how do you watch TV and/or Christmas entertainment?

Generally, it’s some sort of physical media. Blu-Ray, DVD, or VHS. Sometimes I will scan the TV schedules and record (or watch) stuff. But, generally, if I love it and want to watch it, I’ll get myself a copy. Never rely on a TV station or someone else to schedule something you want to watch at a holiday. Do it yourself. I’ve seen people get mad because, say, TCM didn’t show The Bishop’s Wife one year. You know what? If that’s part of your annual holiday viewing, buy the Blu-Ray. It looks gorgeous. Of course, if you like complaining, then keep complaining. Everyone needs a hobby.

1974's Black Christmas

5) If you were to be stranded on an island (maybe Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean!), what three Christmas movies, specials, or episodes would you like to have with you?

Black Christmas. The original. Scary, funny and oh so cold. I don’t know what Billy did to Agnes and I hope I never find out.
You Can’t Do That On Television “Christmas” Because it brings me lots of joy. I can watch this episode once a day, every day, during the Christmas season. (In fact, I have.)
I think I’d also take along a Christmas episode of The Price Is Right. Probably from the late 1970s/ 1980s. You get Bob, fun games, big prizes and lovely ladies. I’m sure that would make me very happy.
(I’d hope I got stranded on an island with lots of forest on it, like Dog Island in Humongous. Rather than a desert island. I can pass on the desert.)


  1. Hah - Two I didn't expect to see pop up - You Can't Do That on Television and The Price is Right! Good, fun choices!

  2. If you add in OTR, wow. I have several compilation OTR disks with Christmas eps. That would take a lifetime to lists.

    1. I have a slew of OTR Christmas-filled CDRs. I will never be able to listen to everything on there in this lifetime. I need a second lifetime. (Generally, I listen to comedies at Christmastime. The Whistler Christmas episodes are very good.)