About Christmas TV History

Friday, July 7, 2017

Christmas in July 2017: Patrick Manning

Christmas in July 2017: Patrick Manning

1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus?

Richard Attenborough, from the Miracle on 34th St. remake. Classy, warm, British - a great combo.

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

“The Mike Van Dyke Show,” from season 2 (3?) of thirtysomething. The episode was an exploration of family, faith, and appreciating what one has, along with a nice homage to The Dick Van Dyke Show, both in style and content.

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

Year-round, but only on a “happen to catch it” basis (e.g., Big Bang Theory broadcasts a Christmas episode, etc.). I have pulled DVDs out in summertime occasionally for “Christmas in July” movie parties – but not every year.

There are some movies that remain sacrosanct – I will ONLY watch these during the holiday season: White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, others.

4) How do you watch TV and/or Christmas entertainment?

Satellite broadcasts; DVDs and VHS tapes (I still watch Ebenezer (Jack Palance) from my taped VHS recording, as the DVD version is impossible to find (cheaply); DVDs from the library; Amazon Prime.

I make an effort to buy 2-3 new Christmas DVDs each year for my personal collection. So far this year, I’ve added The Office Christmas Party and Arthur Christmas.

1970's Scrooge with Albert Finney.

5) If you were to be stranded on an island, what three Christmas movies, specials, or episodes would you like to have with you?

This is a difficult question to answer – far too many worthy candidates.

The Homecoming (The Waltons pilot, 1971) – I grew up watching this movie every year on CBS, until they stopped broadcasting it. I found a DVD copy about 10 years ago, and it is our 2nd movie watched following Thanksgiving every ever since (the 1st movie each year is White Christmas, my wife’s tradition).

A Charlie Brown Christmas – How can you not have this one?

Scrooge (musical version with Albert Finney, 1970) – I own about 10 versions on DVD, but this one retains its charm. A nice balance of seriousness, humor, and music. Try saying “Thank You Very Much” in December without someone finishing the lines in song.


  1. I do love SCROOGE, but it's definitely an in-spite-of-its-flaws relationship, and it's not my favorite adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. We saw it in a movie theater when it was released, so it does have a big nostalgia advantage on that score. And Albert Finney is astonishingly good in the role-- especially across the age-range demands. And the production values are fantastic (with some Oscar noms, I believe). But-- Alec Guinness gives one of the most truly self-indulgent performances I've ever seen here-- and really doesn't fill Marley's shoes for me well at all (esp. in the added, obtrusive scene in Hell near the end-- ugh--). And. . . possibly not enough good singers for a full-out movie musical. (Ah, but I shouldn't rain on the Christmas Parade, eh?-- esp. 'cause we do still watch it frequently!)


  2. Again, loving the different answers from different people. We just all have something special that is special to us. With somethings like A Christmas Carol, there are so many versions, it is cool to see which people prefer.

  3. Great answers, Patrick! Love that you picked Richard Attenborough, from the "Miracle on 34th Street" remake movie! Richard is truly wonderful as Santa, as well... and it must've been even tougher for him to wear the red suit, take on the Santa persona, and be compared to the original! I agree, he was simply amazing in the role as Santa Claus!

    Also, while I do watch Christmas movies all throughout the year, like you... there are those few I save only for Christmastime viewing!!! "It's a Wonderful Life" is definitely one of them!

    Blessings & Happy Christmas in July, Net :)

  4. That episode of "thirtysomething" is fun, isn't it? I love nostalgia for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and so this one is a favorite of mine too. Thanks for participating Patrick :)