Wednesday, March 20, 2019

New York City Christmas/Pop Culture Travel Destinations--Part 2


You know I love to travel and document my stops at Christmas/Pop Culture destinations. These posts are some of my most popular ones on the website. Here are some of my favorite Christmas/Pop Culture travel destinations:

Mary Tyler Moore/Peanuts in Minneapolis, MN
Little House on the Prairie in Walnut Grove, MN & DeSmet, SD
John Denver statue/Mork & Mindy House in Colorado
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 5k Run in Cleveland, OH
The Waltons Museum in Schuyler, VA
"Twas the Night Before Christmas" & "A Child's Christmas in Wales" in NYC-Part 1


Why New York City? I've been doing more research at the Paley Center for Media.


I've made a couple more trips to New York City and found myself looking for more pop culture destinations with a Christmas tie-in. New York is filled with film and TV shooting locations. Christmas TV movies set in New York quite often use the ice rink and the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center as establishing shots.


Look familiar? The tree lighting ceremony & concert in Rockefeller Center has been a nationally broadcast NBC TV special since 1998.


Ice skating and Christmas go hand in hand. In December, I had to grab a quick selfie down on the ice while skating.


I also love statues. NYC has many, but my favorite with a Christmas/TV connection is the Ralph Kramden statue standing outside the Port Authority bus station (Ralph was a bus driver!)


Life-size Ralph Kramden statue at Port Authority.

Up close: "The Great One" Jackie Gleason

In the reflection of the windows and my glasses you can see the taxis (not buses!?) along 8th Avenue.


Christmas TV fans know that The Honeymooners made several holiday episodes over the years--both Christmas and New Year's. I wrote about the 1955 Honeymooners' Christmas episode HERE.



A screen shot of the opening of the series. The address for Felix and Oscar is clearly visible: 1049 Park Ave.

A quick Google search told me that it was the correct address for the original exterior shots of their residence.


In February, I easily found another TV destination--the Park Avenue apartment building used in the opening of the 1970s TV series The Odd Couple. Capturing snapshots was a bit tricky as Park Avenue is a divided boulevard with landscaping. It was a challenge to find a clear view of the building--but I was determined! On the TV show, Oscar and Felix had a doorman and the building still has one. As I continued getting closer to the structure for my photos, he was watching me. I tried to exclude him from my shots. He must see TV fans like me there all the time! (I told myself).


A full shot of the building reveals the exterior hasn't changed much since the 1970s.

I wonder what Felix & Oscar's rent would cost today?

The entrance where Felix stabs Oscar's discarded cigar on the sidewalk with his umbrella, and hands it back to him. The green awning has changed somewhat. I swear I can hear that Neal Hefti theme song.

I previously wrote about the 1970 Christmas episode of The Odd Couple HERE.

Do you like to stop at film and TV travel destinations too? How about ones with a Christmas connection? Tell me all about it in the comments below.


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website 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 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com


Monday, January 7, 2019

Year in Review: 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Every January before I move on to new content, I like to take a moment to reflect on the previous year. Below, you'll see that I collected the top five most popular essays from this website written in 2018. I never really know which discussions are going to be popular, and which ones ignored. Did your favorite discussion from 2018 make the top five? I know I don't say it enough but THANK YOU for reading and following along with this website. I wouldn't have a top five without you. Now, on to the list.

Click on the essay titles below for the link.


From my vintage vinyl collection with a Christmas TV or film tie-in.
 
#5. Christmas Records: Part 1

I've been collecting LPs and CDs with a Christmas TV or film tie-in for many years. Only recently has it occurred to me to share about some of the records in my collection. This discussion from last January was the most popular but I went on the share more of my collection, including Part 2, Part 3, and Christmas music on CD. Since writing these discussions, I've acquired several more interesting film & TV Christmas records--enough to create Part 4. If this is your thing too, hold tight. More coming soon. Do you have any cool Christmas records?



Sing along "Now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum...."

#4. Diff'rent Strokes Christmas (1982)

I was pleasantly surprised to see this breakdown of the fifth season episode "Santa's Helper" from the family sitcom Diff'rent Strokes make the top five list. If you grew up watching the antics of brothers Arnold and Willis Jackson, then you know the charm of the series. I also admire the work of actor/comedian Garrett Morris who guest stars in this touching holiday story. It's also nice to see that one of my discussions from Black History Month stood out from the rest of the year too. Make sure you come back and check out the new discussions this February too--I'm doing up Black History Month again, honoring outstanding Christmas programs that feature African-Americans, just like I do every year.


Rocky Mountain High at Red Rocks, just outside of Denver.

#3. Colorado Christmas: John Denver

My travel essays to pop culture destinations with a Christmas film or TV tie-in have been some of my most popular essays on this website for the past couple years. I love doing them and so I'm glad you like reading about them. This third most popular essay from last year details my stop in Denver, Colorado to visit the statue honoring the life and music of John Denver. That same trip also took me to Boulder where I located the house used in the exterior shots of filming the TV series Mork & Mindy. What's your favorite John Denver Christmas program? Which is your favorite Mork & Mindy holiday episode? I can't decide either.

I wrote three more essays on pop culture destinations last year--did you see them all?

Minneapolis, MN--the Mary Tyler Moore House and statue, and Schulz' Peanuts statues in St. Paul.

Little House on the Prairie destinations in Walnut Grove, MN and DeSmet, SD--I'm just a Laura Ingalls Wilder nerd at heart!

And, New York City's Christmas pop culture destinations which included a visit at the final resting places of actor Jerry Orbach, and Clement C. Moore--the author of the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas." I also made a stop at the favorite watering hole of writer Dylan Thomas, who wrote "A Child's Christmas in Wales" which has been wonderfully adapted for film and TV several times. Yes, I did quite a bit of traveling last year. Whew!



#2. Netflix #DVDdress Project

Last year, Netflix's DVD subscription service was celebrating their 20th anniversary and I persuaded them to sponsor my collection of Netflix paper envelopes to be turned into wearable art! I wrote about the experience and Netflix revealed the photos of the dress in November. The fashion designer I hired worked hard for months transforming almost 700 red paper envelopes into a dress inspired by Rosemary Clooney's red gown seen in the finalé of the 1954 movie White Christmas. As a Netflix subscriber for 13 years, I had saved over 1,5000 envelopes from the research that I do writing about Christmas on TV and in film. This project brought all my interests together into one experience. I was invited to take the photos of the dress at The Rosemary Clooney House museum in Augusta, KY--the white building seen above. The project ended up going viral across the internet and was even shared on Pee-Wee Herman's website and social media. To keep that all in perspective, this was only the second most popular essay in 2018.


Remember which TV special the wicked Burgermeister Meisterburger appeared in?

#1. Top 5 Rankin/Bass Villains

As a part of the Classic TV Blog Association's blogathon on TV villains last year, I created a list of my top five favorite Rankin/Bass animated Christmas evildoers. It was super fun to put the list together so I'm happy so many people enjoyed reading about them too. If you haven't yet read this one, you'll be pleased to discover that I went further than discussing only five baddies.

Curious about past Year in Review essays? Check out the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Year in Review posts again. May your new year be filled with peace and joy.



Coming in a number five, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby singing together in 1957.
 
Curious about the all-time most popular posts from this website? Clearly TV variety remains a nostalgic favorite. Check out the links:

Andy Williams Christmas Shows
Halloween is Grinch Night
Waltons Christmas Cast Reunion from 2011--the 40th anniversary of The Homecoming
Judy Garland Christmas Show (1963)
Frank Sinatra Show Christmas (1957)

Thank you for reading all year long. Please feel free to leave questions or comments below.



Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website 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 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com