Thursday, July 20, 2017
Christmas in July 2017: Tom Howley
Christmas in July 2017: Tom Howley (aka Humanbelly in other parts o' the Blogosphere--)
1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus?
Y'know, I'm sure it's going to be an eye-roller, but I still find Edmund Gwenn's Kris Kringle in MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET as charming now as I did several decades ago. I'm gonna stick with him for this year. Mickey Rooney as the voice of Kris in the Rankin/Bass SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN does get a special shout-out, though. He has a wonderfully strong, dynamic, expressive voice that you tend to miss when watching him in a film (probably because his size and pugnaciousness and energy tend to seize one's attention). I wonder if he ever realized how good he was in that special? And--one other nod to Alec Baldwin's voicing of the more eastern-European, burly wizard take on Santa in Rise of the Guardians (not a television release, I know) a few years ago. His speech about the nesting-doll aspect of his nature was simply lovely.
2) What's your favorite Christmas episode from a TV series?
Possibly the PINKY & THE BRAIN CHRISTMAS EPISODE---? I mean, I like so many of them, but that one totally blindsides you with an inescapable pull at the heartstrings. . . and in a way that completely works within the framework of both the story and the characters. I do also like the Twilight Zone Christmas episode with Art Carney, although it comes off as rather clunky since it's shot on videotape, giving it a "stagey" feel.
3) Do you enjoy watching Christmas entertainment year round or do you only like watching it during the holidays? And, why?
Not year-round, no-- but I do like accidentally coming across one every once in awhile over the course of the year-- sort of checking to make sure the pilot light is still lit. Now, I'm certainly capable of starting to watch them before Halloween sometimes (and my daughter's even worse than me on this score), but at that point I'm sort of in the early stages of season anyhoo.
4) This is the 21st century--how do you watch TV and/or Christmas entertainment?
We've yet to subscribe to cable or any streaming service-- don't watch enough current television to quite justify the monthly cost. Nope, we have many DVD's and VHS tapes; I'll sometimes watch something obscure on Youtube; the kitchen television gets a LOT of holiday-centric use as the season provides programming; and our local library is also a source of many, many old series on DVD-- just there for the borrowing. Man, do I love that amenity in our society!
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?
A) IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. One of my favorite movies of all time across the board. Easy answer on that one.
B) 1950 version of SCROOGE/CHRISTMAS CAROL with Allistar Simm. It's my favorite version out of the many.
C) Ohhhh, probably MIRACLE ON 34TH ST again, just 'cause it's so chock-full of notable character actors jumping in for brief moments throughout. It's kind of disastrously edited (some really sloppy jumps), but the director does such a great job of trusting his cast as they pop in and out of the film that you happily let the blemishes go right by. We have a colorized version, and it's one of the few classic B&W films that I think is improved with the addition of a bit of color-- especially that sort of water-color filter look that early colorization seemed to yield.
There ya go, folks. And who knows-- maybe next year the answers'll be entirely different!
Posted by Joanna at 9:02 AM