About Christmas TV History

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Christmas in July 2017: Jim Inman

Christmas in July 2017: Jim Inman - co-admin for the Yahoo Group Christmas Movies and Music

1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus?

I would have to say that I have always enjoyed the realness of Kris Kringle in the original Miracle on 34th Street.  Edmund Gwenn was a real person that you could touch, talk to, see and engage.  He had that twinkle in his eye throughout the movie, and made me believe (at a young age) that he was the real Santa Claus.

A close second would be David Huddleston in the film Santa Claus: The Movie.  The first half of the film, where we meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, was truly magical.  You saw the lights and magic at the North Pole, and the kindness in all of their actions to children around the world.

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

That is a tough question!  While it may not be a favorite, one that I've recently discovered is the Season 1 episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, titled "Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II."  As the newest employee at WJM in Minneapolis, Mary has to work on Christmas Eve.  It's the first time she's away from her family, and Mary tries to make the most of the evening by decorating her desk with Christmas pieces, watches The Nutcracker on television and even reaches out to a lonely soul on a CB radio.  When she realizes that she isn't alone in the building, and she begins to panic... well, that's the best part of the episode!  It's definitely a heart-warming episode from one of the greatest television sitcoms ever.

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

I watch "as needed," so yes - I do watch year round.  I'm glad I was part of a generation who understood the importance of waiting for those specials to come on just one time a year... and how our family planned activities around Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Frosty, etc. As I got a bit older, I can remember the excitement of walking into the local video store and finding those specials available to rent during the summer months - how awesome to be able to watch Christmas movies during summer vacations!  Over the years I've accumulated a lot of Christmas specials on DVD, and found many rare gems on YouTube and other online sources.  Those special cartoons, musical treats and holiday classics are great to fall asleep to, or just to relax and enjoy on a quiet afternoon.

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

I use all the above!  I stream most of my viewing these days (no broadcast television), so much of my holiday viewing comes from finds on Roku channels.  There are a few Christmas channels that offer some special broadcasts (https://www.rokuguide.com/roku-christmas-channels), so I have those added to my options to watch.  I have YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more to stream specials, and lots of things are available there.  I have checked my local library for things, but most of what they have is already readily available, so I haven't found much there for viewing (but they have a nice collection of holiday books to enjoy.)

I will add that one of my favorite sources of holiday entertainment is old-time radio.  For over thirty years I have listened to old radio broadcasts from the 1930s and 1940s.  These shows - comedies, dramas, reenactments of films - all create a different experience in Christmas cheer.  If you are a Christmas fan, and want to hear some of your favorite classic entertainers (Bing Crosby, Doris Day, the cast of Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life, and many more), I would highly recommend finding these shows on archive.org or on YouTube (search for "old time radio Christmas") and be prepared for great entertainment!

from the 1968 Dean Martin Christmas show.

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?

* I would need It's a Wonderful Life.  When I have challenging days, that movie helps remind me of the good in the world.  Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed complement one another so well in the film, and show how important it is to have loved ones and friends around you.
* I think having the unedited, original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would be great to have.  Perhaps if I'm stranded, Rudolph could find his way out to pick me up while headed to the Island of Misfit Toys!
* For my third option, I would like a surprise... but I would like it to be one of those 1960s-1980s Christmas specials full of random Hollywood stars who laugh, sing, dance, drink, play and have fun all in the name of holiday cheer.  Bring out some Bing, some Dean, some John Davidson, some Osmonds, maybe even Lawrence Welk... just some classic characters who would just make us laugh and smile during the broadcast.  There's nothing like that on television anymore, and it's a lost art.


  1. Great list, Jim! Are all Rokus created equal? I have the stick, not the box, and I didn't see anything Christmas related on it.

  2. Great stuff. Not sure on the island surprise. What if you hated it but were stuck with it? LOL

  3. Love your list, Jim! My favorite holiday specials were the Andy Williams ones. Such beautiful sets and amazing music, especially when he sang with his brothers.

  4. Excellent list. I second the Old Time Radio listening. I listen to tons of episodes every Christmas season. They're very easy to get access to and they are so much fun.

  5. Yep, I'm gonna third the nomination of Radio Classics for Christmas fare. There are entire websites devoted to it, and of course Sirius/XM's Radio Classics channel gives over to the holidays wholeheartedly when the season rolls around. As with TV, of course, there's more than a little bit of sappiness that comes with trying too hard to infuse sentiment and meaning into the material at times-- but on the whole that era of programming captures the spirit wonderfully.

  6. Beautiful mentions & memories, Jim! So enjoyed reading your responses, from Miracle on 34th Street to It's a Wonderful Life! Plus, you mentioned my two of my favorite classic Christmas singers... Bing Crosby and Doris Day!

    Again, I love the idea of bringing variety shows on the island like the Osmonds and Lawrence Welk! That would be many wonderful hours of Christmas musical entertainment!

    Happy Christmas in July to you, Net :)

  7. Old time radio is terrific. I have several sources where I have purchased OTR Christmas broadcasts in MP3. Love the Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen, Duffy's Tavern and Bob Hope shows. Never really got into the Lux Radio Theater where they recreate movies on the radio nor the Cinnamon Dear which was directed at very young listeners. And I wish that Amos 'n' Andy would have done more than one Christmas program instead of doing the same show year after year.

  8. Misspell there. Should say Cinnamon Bear.

  9. Okay Roku watchers--what's the best Christmas-themed thing you've watched thru Roku?

    And thanks for participating Jim!!

  10. Thanks for all the kind words! If you are a Roku user, there are several Christmas channels - check here: https://www.rokuguide.com/roku-christmas-channels

    As for Old Time Radio, I have been a fan for over 30 years. It started when I picked up the $5 cassettes at Cracker Barrel, and I would listen to them over and over again... and most of them are still in my collection. If you're on Facebook, check out "Old Time Radio Lovers" - we have a highly-engaged group of OTR fans, and plenty of holiday cheer to share during the winter months.