About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Christmas in July 2017: Kevin Bowman

Christmas in July 2017: Kevin Bowman

1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus?

I’ll pick the Rankin/Bass’s Animagic Santa with the voice of Mickey Rooney, because that gives me a threefer: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and Rudolph & Frosty’s Christmas in July. In particular I love Mickey’s singing in the first two, with "Put One Foot in Front of the Other," "Be Prepared to Pay" and "I Believe in Santa Claus." Great performances by a great performer.

from the 1998 episode of Frasier entitled "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz."
2) What's your favorite Christmas episode from a TV series?

This question is so difficult to answer. Sometimes what starts as an ordinary episode, later becomes a special. "How The Flintstones Saved Christmas’ was just Season 5 Episode 15, but it aired on Christmas Day, 1964, which would rank it among the first animated Christmas specials if it were counted as a special. It is one of my favorites. Same issue with “The Tick Loves Santa,” which, I recall, aired in the evening on Fox as an animated special, but also as a regular series episode. I love that one, too. But, I’m going to pick “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz” from the sixth season of Frasier.  Some of the best Frasier episodes build from a simple premise to an absurd climax.  A very funny episode.  

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

I watch year round, primarily because there is insufficient time between Thanksgiving and New Years to take in the required yearly viewing and to catch up on all the stuff that I recorded. It has become something of an obsession. I am still in the process of transferring VHS recordings to DVD (packing the tapes away), where possible, and am watching those a little at a time. 

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

Like you Joanna, I watch Christmas entertainment through multiple media. I have cable with a DVR, home-recorded DVDs, purchased DVDs, many VHS tapes, both home-recorded and purchased.  I also watch specials or episodes that are otherwise unavailable on You-tube.  Also Netflix and Amazon streaming services, sometimes.  

from 1941's Meet John Doe.
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?

Is there an island-themed Martha Stewart Christmas how-to episode? That would be useful. Putting that aside, I’ll pick two Christmas movies I can watch repeatedly: Alastair Sims’ Scrooge or Christmas Carol (1951); Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe (1941) (I consider it a Christmas movie.  Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the climax of the film occurs on Christmas Eve, and there is a reason why that is so).  And, finally, A Mac Davis Special: Christmas Odyssey 2010.  Although, it would probably not bear up to repeat watching, I got to see only the first 10 minutes of the show in 1978, and I have been wanting to see the rest ever since. Since the Christmas Island fairies are bringing me only three shows, but I can get whatever I want, that’s it. When I am rescued, I promise to put the special up on You-Tube, unless Mac Davis threatens me with a copyright suit. 


  1. I, too, love the Rankin-Bass Santas, and they certainly have a big childhood influence on kids' vision of who Santa really is. Great choice!

  2. Did you see the Mac Davis Christmas special on GetTV last year? Maybe they'll re-air the "Christmas Odyssey 2010" special this year? I got my fingers crossed! Thanks for participating Kevin :)

  3. I love that Santa! Good choice. Just looking at that photo makes me happy.

  4. Mickey Rooney...yeah can't believe I didn't think of that myself! When I was a kid I believed the story in Santa Claus Is Coming To Town was real and his role was a major reason for that. That Frasier episode is definitely hilarious! And also happy to see someone select "Meet John Doe"...sort of a forgotten Christmas classic.

  5. Hah - I laughed at the Martha Stewart Christmas Island How-To. Funny stuff. Mickey Rooney did play many of the Santas I have watched from childhood. Didn't think of him as so associated with it, but I guess so.