|Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop
Christmas in July 2018: Jonathan Sowers
1) Name your favorite Henson's Muppet Christmas program and why.
The Muppets were after my time. I was a Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop fan as a kid and I had my own Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse hand puppets. I don't remember ever seeing their Christmas show, but one from the 1960s would be my choice. I've looked briefly at Shari and Lamb Chop Christmas specials on YouTube from the 1970s and they're not my bag, so to speak.
2) Which decade produced the bulk of your favorite Christmas entertainment?
Without a doubt, the 1960s, starting with Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I saw all three as a child and they carry fond memories of times when you had to be there to watch them when they came on. Also Peter Pan with Mary Martin, which was repeated a lot at Christmas, and The Bell Telephone Hour, which had annual Christmas shows.
|from 1962's Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.
3) Imagine the entertainment behind your ideal Christmas Eve dinner. Name the appetizer, entré, and dessert.
When I was growing up, we always spent Christmas Eve dinner next door at my grandmother's. In later years I would help Granny get the house ready and put up her tree and wrap her presents. Christmas was always my thing, from an early age. As an appetizer, to get us ready for the festivities to come, I would pick A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is short and sweet and very entertaining. We could drink some of my hot spiced tea to get in the mood. Then for the entrée, we always had barbecue at Granny's house. So I would pick Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. That little bit of undigested beef that made him see Marley in the door knocker could easily be southern barbecued pork. As a child of six when I saw that show, I can testify that was one of the spookiest moments ever, seeing the skeleton in the door knocker. Also the Christmas meal the Cratchits serve near the end would make us all hungry for more. The dessert would be almost all fluff with one serious moment, namely Christmas With the King Family from 1967. The part where Alyce King is singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" gets me every time. I won't spoil it if you've never seen it, but that show can tug at your heartstrings. It's also a lot like Granny's perennial favorite gift, a Whitman's Sampler. There's something in it for everyone.
4) What Christmas episode, special or movie doesn't exist--that you wish did? Feel free to get creative.
It existed at one time, but all the tapes have been destroyed, or so they say. Captain Kangaroo decorated for Christmas every year about two weeks before and I will never forget the GE outdoor twinkle lights on the fence of the Treasure House. You saw them everytime they went outside. I always thought that was a great idea, to put twinkle lights in a row all along the top of a rather tall
fence. It certainly commanded my attention as a child. I would love to see it again. We had outdoor lights we used on an outdoor tree a few times and we always mixed in a few twinkle lights. They fascinated me.
|The boys gazing into the store window, in 1983's 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?
If you're talking 1000 years, I think the movie A Christmas Story tells a lot about life in America that would be informative to someone. I know it was the 1940s they were trying to imitate, but some of the scenes in that movie are timeless and still represent an American family Christmas like no other TV show or movie I've seen. It also shows humor and clever writing and some very good child actors.