About Christmas TV History

Monday, July 10, 2017

Christmas in July 2017: Linda Young

Christmas in July 2017: Linda M. Young from  www.flyingdreams.org

1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus?

Oh, I think that has to be Edmund Gwenn from Miracle on 34th Street. *I* would certainly believe his Kris Kringle to be Santa Claus. (Confession: I also have a fondness for Mr. Nicholson in Lassie's "Gift of Love.")

from the 1976 episode "The Best Christmas" of The Waltons.
2) What's your favorite Christmas episode from a TV series?

This is like asking Olivia Walton to choose which of the seven kids is her favorite. Probably "Merry Gentlemen" from All Creatures Great and Small because it's so old-fashioned. But must toss in for honorable mention all those black and white Timmy and Lassie episodes, The Good Life/Good Neighbors Christmas episode, and "The Best Christmas" from The Waltons. And "Christmas on the Airwaves" from Remember WENN. And the Christmas episodes from an old favorite I don't mention often enough, WSBK-TV38's local show Ask the Manager. This is too hard!!! :-)

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

I usually just watch Christmas entertainment at Christmas--but for me that goes from Black Friday to January 6 (or maybe even January 13, St. Knut's Day), so there's lots of time to enjoy it all. Sometimes if I'm depressed I will put on something Christmassy, like one of the Lassie episodes.

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

The majority of my viewing is done on DVD. I recorded a lot of Christmas programs on videotape and transferred them to DVD. Today a lot of what I recorded is now on professional DVD, but I still have the originals I taped, like A Very Merry Cricket and "The Best Christmas" and the Lassie stories. Because, really, how can one celebrate Christmas properly without John Denver and the Muppets, or A Muppet Family Christmas, or watching Joe and Dana/Dan and Dana clown around on the Ask the Manager set? I still have a few pro videotapes, too, like The Raccoons Christmas (with Rupert Holmes and Roberta Flack doing the music) and Perry Como's Christmas in Many Lands. (GetTV repeated several of the Como specials featured on that tape last Christmas. I still have them on the DVR. It was super seeing them again. I love Perry Como. They also had a Carpenters special, an Osmonds and Andy Williams special, the Judy Garland Show Christmas episode, and some Christmas episodes of The Merv Griffin Show.) I've found a few rarities on YouTube and promptly downloaded them, too. I can't really watch Christmas specials on "live television" anymore. The big commercial breaks make the stories too disjointed and I lose all my seasonal feeling when favorite scenes are ripped out for additional commercials. We have Britbox this year, so hoping they come up with something good at Christmas. I would love to see some old British Christmas documentaries, like Christmas Past (my copy is missing 10 minutes), and ones they did about Christmas' pagan roots and also one about Charles Dickens and the "invention" of Christmas. Ditto Acorn TV. Would love to see them pick up some Canadian Christmas programming, including a very weird movie called North Station (Station Nord) that I caught once on Netflix.

from the 1972 TV movie The House Without a Christmas Tree.

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?

As much as I hate to leave Rudolph and Charlie Brown out of the mix, this has to be The Homecoming, The House Without a Christmas Tree, and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. The others I love, but these three live in my heart. (I still want to sneak aboard my Ask the Manager and Lassie episodes, though.)


  1. I hadn't heard of a Very Merry Cricket but I just went and bought it on iTunes to add to the collection. Thanks!

    Might also try to find some of your other more left field suggestions. Have you seen the British Christmas doc, Christmas in a Day? It's available in its entirety on YouTube and was compiled from real Brits home Christmas movies from 2012. Quite charming.

    Also, can't immediately find the Christmas Past doc you listed, though I'd like to, but did run across this DVD of silent movie shorts about Christmas that looks very interesting on Amazon ... https://smile.amazon.com/Christmas-Past-Vintage-Holiday-Films/dp/B00005RDS3/ref=sr_1_8?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1499689989&sr=1-8&keywords=Christmas+Past

    1. Sleepy, you might want to watch THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE first, although VERY MERRY CRICKET does a quick flashback. I have not seen CHRISTMAS IN A DAY; thanks for the tip. I have that other CHRISTMAS PAST DVD; it's neat to watch although the music they put with it to me sounds funny. I've watched it with the sound off. There are vintage cylinder records of Christmas songs online that fit much better.

    2. Unfortunately the CHRISTMAS PAST I'm talking about is nowhere online. It was produced by Gavin Weightman in the 1980s for London Weekend Television. You can find the companion book on archive.org, though.

  2. Loved your answers, Linda! Edmund Gwenn from Miracle on 34th Street has captured so many of our hearts! (*I believe!*)

    You also mentioned a few I'm unfamiliar with... so I'm excited to go check them out!!!

    Blessings & Happy Christmas in July, Net :)

  3. I love that Remember WENN Christmas episode too. I wish there was a renewal of interest in that show! Lots of great titles here, Linda. Thanks for participating :)

    1. I know, especially if you've been watching the Scott and Betty backstory. The fact that he works so hard so she can spend Christmas with her family speaks volumes.

  4. Great, unique answers! I can't believe you mentioned WSBK-TV38! I don't remember Ask the Manager, I used to love their Movie Loft, with Dana Hersey. :)

    1. Dana is still on the air: he does the "morning drive" show together with Kevin "Mugs" McGonagle on WBOQ out of Gloucester, MA. I listen to it via TuneIn radio on days when I commute. He's still telling stories about his wife and the family.

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