Friday, February 16, 2018

Colorado Christmas: John Denver

You know me. I love visiting Christmas pop culture landmarks and statues. Two weeks ago I traveled to Denver, Colorado to visit a friend and couldn't resist looking for a Christmas pop culture detour. Look what I found!

This sculptural tribute to the memory of singer/songwriter John Denver was easy to find. It stands beside the Colorado Music Hall of Fame museum, just outside Denver.

I can't help but hear "Rocky Mountain High" when looking at this.

accompanying signage.

Make your own "I didn't know he trained eagles!?" joke here.

If you're not quite sure why the Christmas entertainment writer would go out of her way to see a John Denver statue, let me take you to school. The 1979 TV special John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together casts a long shadow.

This TV special debuted on ABC on Dec. 05, 1979. Photo is soundtrack album cover.

Even if it has never been officially released on home video, the soundtrack is easily available and I still hear their version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" on the radio each holiday season. However, there's more: John Denver had three other outstanding holiday TV specials too, including 1975's John Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas, 1988's John Denver's Christmas in Aspen, and 1991's John Denver: Montana Christmas Skies. He guest starred on other Christmas variety specials too--and he even played the lead in the 1986 TV movie The Christmas Gift. For many fans, John Denver is closely connected to Christmas entertainment.

 The Christmas Gift starring John Denver, Jane Kaczmarek, and young Gennie James.

I decided to step into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame too. Jackpot! They have a large collection of John Denver items on display.

Aaahhh....the 1970s fashions.

John Denver on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine!? Yup.

There was a bust of the artist inside the Hall of Fame too! Colorado likes John Denver.

On display are gold records, personal clothing items, movie memorabilia, one of his guitars, and more. There's even a display about the singer's admiration for the conservationist and explorer Jacques Cousteau. It was pretty cool. And, admission to the museum was free.

Red Rocks Ampitheatre--a favorite music venue of many musicians, including John Denver.
Friends told me to check out Red Rocks Ampitheatre while I was out that way and I was a little worried about finding a second location. What my GPS didn't communicate clearly was that Red Rocks is literally across the street from the museum. I couldn't have missed it.

The list of musicians and bands that have performed here is the history of 20th century popular music. Have YOU seen a performance here before?

My favorite album as a teen: U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky.

As long as they aren't setting up for a concert, the gorgeous outdoor facility is open to the public. So I walked across the road and entered the grounds. There's a fascinating museum with displays on the history of the unique natural ampitheatre too. This place is a must-see destination for music lovers.

Screenshot from the intro to Mork & Mindy.

As I was posting photos of my trip to Colorado on Instagram, friend Big Mike (from Discovery Family's Lost & Found with Mike and Jesse) told me to go find Mork & Mindy's house in Boulder, about 30 miles outside Denver. Uhm...okay! So I did. I placed the street address in my GPS but driving down the road I spotted it immediately. It looks pretty much the same as it did in the late 1970s. It's located in a residential neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado.

Mork & Mindy house--February 2018.

I've written about the two holiday episodes of Mork & Mindy for this website already. Click HERE to see my discussion of the 1978 Christmas episode, and click HERE to see the 1979 Mork & Mindy adaptation of the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Nanu-nanu!

If you'd like to return to any of my previous Christmas pop culture landmark visits, click on the following links:

Perry Como's statue in Canonsburg, PA
Dean Martin's hometown of Steubenville, OH
Rosemary Clooney's home in Augusta, KY
The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA
It's a Wonderful Life Museum in Seneca Falls, NY
Lucille Ball's birthday celebration in Jamestown, NY
A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland, OH

If you've ever visited a Christmas pop culture landmark that you would recommend, let me know. I love to travel. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned here can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701


1 comment:

  1. I treasure my bootleg copy of "John Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas." I love his performance of "Aspenglow" and the "Fly Away" duet with Olivia Newton-John.