About Christmas TV History

Monday, July 2, 2018

Christmas in July 2018: Randall Buie

Jim Henson's cameo in 1987's Muppet Family Christmas

Christmas in July 2018: Randall Buie, Henderson, Nevada, author of The Education of a Country Hick

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

This might come as a surprise since in previous years I have touted the virtues of John Denver and the Muppets - A Christmas Together.  But the Muppet program that gives me the warmest feeling is Muppet Family Christmas. There are many reasons for this. First the special uses Muppets from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. Secondly it is solid Christmas. Although there are musical numbers there are no lavish production numbers as in the Denver special. And lastly the program has a heart sinking cameo by Jim Henson. Who would have thought he would have been dead in a little more than two years?

from 1962's Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

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

This is a tough one. I guess I would have to say the 1960s. It provided Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and a couple of Shari Lewis holiday themed episodes. There were also a lot of great Christmas episodes on series television -- The Monkees Christmas Episode, "The Jingle Bells Affair", the Gilligan's Island Christmas episode from season 1, The Andy Griffith "Christmas Story," etc.  That is not to say I don't have favorites from other decades but it seems like the sixties was loaded.

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

I think I'll pass this question as I don't quite understand it.

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

I would love for either the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers to have created a Christmas short subject or movie.  The Stooges came close.  One of their shorts with Shemp entitled "He Cooked His Goose" shows Moe decorating a tree and Shemp in a Santa suit.  And three of their shorts had the same plotline  -- trying to invade a harem palace using Santa suits as disguises.  And Groucho would briefly mention the holiday on his quiz show You Bet Your Life mainly during the commercial messages.  But to see one or both of these comedy giants attack the Christmas season in their own unique styles would have been a delight.

from 1992's Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean.

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

I am a silent movie buff.  Several times I have had people watch classic silent movies like It or The General or Intolerance with me and have had them react with amazement at the primitive nature of the film.  Can you imagine what people who open the time capsule are going to think about a film that is over 1,000 years old?  So, hey, let's at least give them a laugh. I would place a copy of Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean in the capsule. Let's face it, wearing a turkey down to your shoulders should always be funny.


  1. Oh man! A full on Marx Bros. Christmas movie would have been amazing!

  2. Randall--I'm sorry about the confusion on #3. I blame myself. I meant the question metaphorically. You aren't the only one who responded as you did. And, I like your response to #2: the 60s. I think I watch more holiday programming from the 60s than any other decade. So much good stuff. Thanks again for participating this year :)

  3. Great answers Randall!

    Check the Marx Brothers movie "At The Circus" (1939) for the scene in which Chico and Harpo search the strongman's cabin for the missing circus money.

    Harpo proceeds to tear open a feather pillow, a cabin fan gets switched on, and several snow / Christmas jokes ensue!

  4. Randall, I enjoyed your answers. Nice to see theShari Lewis holiday themed episodes included, and yes! The Monkees Christmas Episode, "The Jingle Bells Affair"!