About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Christmas in July 2018: Donna Bock

from 1978's Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

Christmas in July 2018: Donna Bock

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

I love Christmas Eve on Sesame Street!  I think I reference it every year, so here I go again. When I first watched it with my baby daughter, I thought it was fabulous. The stories that are told, especially the Gift of the Magi with Bert and Ernie (who are named after the cop and taxi driver in It’s a Wonderful Life) are all  so sweet.  Mr. Hooper really saved the day when he gifted the boys their presents they sold to him. I don’t know why PBS does not air the special anymore, it's as relevant today as it was then. I own the DVD and made it a tradition to watch the show with my grandson.  I have a new baby grandson, so he’ll join the viewing party!

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

Well....I watched Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol the first time it aired in 1962 so.....it will have to be the 60s. My all-time favorite special is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer....Hermey is my main man!  Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas rounds out my favorite Christmas Specials….all first aired in the early and mid-60s. And I still watch them every year when they air on TV.

from 1947's It Happened on 5th Avenue.

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

My appetizer will be It Happened on 5th Avenue, a movie I’ve discovered only about 7 or 8 years ago. It has a Christmas scene that is really heartwarming…for that matter, the entire movie is heartwarming! I like to watch this show now that I discovered it, early in the Christmas season, as it gets me in the spirit. My entré would have to be White Christmas, how I love this movie! It reminds me of my youth and watching with my mom. Dessert….can I have two?  Happy Days’ "Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas" always makes me smile.  I remember watching it the first time it aired and seeing Fonzie as a Christmas-loving, sentimental guy rather than a tough hoodlum... made me love the show even more.  My second dessert will be a TV movie The Night They Saved Christmas. My kids had it on VHS and they watched it from the time I taped it, into the summer…back then I could recite some of the scenes verbatim….Jaclyn Smith, one of the main characters was a real beauty and I wanted to be her. Mrs. Claus was portrayed by June Lockhart and the late Art Carney was an adorable Santa.

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

One show that comes to mind is I Love Lucy….Yes, there was a Christmas Special, but it was a retrospect of past episodes wrapped around the gang buying and trimming a Christmas Tree (on Christmas Eve no less).  For all the years the show was on it would have been fun to see Christmas episodes from the very beginning of the series. A Christmas before there was a little Ricky. Maybe a Christmas Eve at the Club and the havoc Lucy could wreck…ahhhh…we’ll never know.

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?

I got to go with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This show was a first for its time. The stop-motion was a new technology back then. To this day I watch it with wonder, and now knowing how it was made, I’m amazed at the patience the people creating it must have had….Rudolph deserves to go into that time capsule. I hope everyone, when the capsule is opened in 1,000 years, watches and loves Rudolph and Hermey as much as I do!


  1. IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE is one of my favorite, classic Christmas movies. Another under-the-radar classic always aired on TCM is REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940). It's a Preston Sturgis movie with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck and it's just a lovely, funny and touching Christmas movie I wish more people knew about.

  2. I still have not seen It Happened on 5th Avenue. I am on the hit though. A series of Lucy Christmas eps would be a good comment on cultural history!.

  3. YES--an I Love Lucy Christmas episode that isn't a clip show! I love it. What could have been. Great idea :)

  4. Love your answers, Donna. Especially glad you included It Happened on 5th Avenue and Happy Days. And yes, great idea for I Love Lucy... Christmas Eve at the club. Maybe as an extra special touch, Cousin Ernie (Tennessee Ernie Ford) could visit and sing a carol in between the comedic chaos.