About Christmas TV History

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Christmas in July 2018: Brian Earl

from Muppet Family Christmas

Christmas in July 2018: Brian Earl from Christmas Past: http://christmaspast.media

1) Name your favorite Henson's Muppet Christmas program and why.

A Muppet Family Christmas. I only discovered this one within the last five years, even though it came out in 1987. It should have been as much a part of my childhood as Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. Not sure how it escaped me all those years, but thank goodness for Youtube. It's the only Muppet special where all of the Muppet franchises are represented, so there's some awesome crossover moments, like Kermit meeting the fraggles. Also love the scene when the Sesame Street gang comes caroling.

2) Which decade produced the bulk of your favorite Christmas entertainment?

I've always thought of myself as a 70s and 80s kid, but the Christmas entertainment I grew up on is mostly from the 60s. The Christmas music I grew up with was from my parents' collection of Christmas vinyl records from the late 60s and early 70s, mainly compilations from Capitol Records and Goodyear. And of course, all the great TV specials like Rudolph and Charlie Brown are also from the 60s.

from 1982's Christmas Comes to Pacland

3) Imagine the entertainment behind your ideal Christmas Eve dinner. Name the appetizer, entré, and dessert.

The appetizer would be one of those old Christmas variety shows hosted by Dean Martin or Andy Williams or Bing Crosby.

For the entree, I'd go with A Charlie Brown Christmas, but only the audio. I still have a vinyl record of the unabridged TV special. It came with a comic-strip style read-along booklet. To this day, whenever I imagine the show, I hear the crackle and pop of a record player in my head.

For dessert, definitely something cheesy from the 80s. Like He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special, or Santa Comes to Pac-Land or The Glo Friends Save Christmas. I can't pick one...they're all gloriously terrible!

4) What Christmas episode, special or movie doesn't exist--that you wish did? Feel free to get creative.

I'm surprised there hasn't been a second attempt at something involving Star Wars. The original Star Wars Christmas special is so bad, you can't even watch it ironically. You'd think there'd be motivation to redeem the Star Wars universe after that (at least as far as Christmas is concerned). Maybe the Ewoks could celebrate some Christmas-like holiday.

from A Christmas Story
5) If one Christmas movie, special or episode was to be selected for a time capsule to opened in 1,000 years, which title do you think should be included?

Probably A Christmas Story. It's definitely not my favorite holiday movie, but it captures what Christmas was mostly about in the 20th century. A big emphasis on Santa, toys, department stores, Christmas trees, and nostalgia.


  1. Oh man! I love the He-Man & She-Ra Special, I’ve seen the Pac-Man one dozens of times...now I need to hunt down The Glo Friends!!! You have given me a mission for this holiday season!

  2. I Think the album Christmas in the Stars redeemed the Star WArs universe as far as Christmas specials. It was great. I read that they had hoped to do one per year, but alas, all we have is one, it must do. I am not of the He-Man She-Ra era but had a younger brother, so I am familiar with that special. I love it.

  3. I really wouldn't be surprised if Disney created a NEW Star Wars holiday special--and included the 1978 special as a bonus track. They'd sell millions! Thanks for participating Brian.

  4. I'm with Brian that the stuff from the 60's probably affected my childhood more than the actual 70s and 80s stuff, even tho that's when my memories were really forming. The things from earlier decades had really gotten into my parents' psyche more than common things, so they were reinforcing those. Plus, the older stuff was often a bit darker and scarier, even (and especially) the holiday things.

  5. So glad you discovered A Muppet Family Christmas, Brian. I love your other references too. I will have to check out the Pac Man Christmas show. PS I love your podcast!