Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Christmas in July 2019: Hugh H. Davis

"Jesus and Christmas" sketch can be found in 1997 episode hosted by Helen Hunt.

Christmas in July 2019: Hugh H. Davis

1. What is your favorite Saturday Night Live Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's sketch?

Much as I love the "Hanukkah Song" (and the way Adam Sandler keeps updating the lyrics) and Steve Martin telling everyone his Christmas wish, my absolute favorite was one of the animated TV Funhouse segments (now going on about 20 years). In it, an adult Jesus walks through a modern city. He sees plenty to disgust him, and he finally stops in front of a department store, where a TV is on at the window (do stores do this anymore?). Jesus mimes using a remote, and the TV keeps changing, showing animated versions of various Christmas specials, as well as the John Wayne as centurion scene from The Greatest Story Ever Told. He is increasingly frustrated with the commercialism he sees and the lack of Christian charity, and then he lands on a clip from A Charlie Brown Christmas. He watches Linus recite the Gospel, and tears fill his eyes, and it ends with him dancing away, Peanuts style.


from 1947's The Bishop's Wife.

2. Do you most look forward to watching holiday episodes from series? Specials? Movies? Animation? or, all of it?

A tough one, but I think movies rank the top. I make sure each year to watch It's a Wonderful Life and The Bishop's Wife at least once if not more each Christmas, and it's a time of year that we can definitely see classic holiday movies being broadcast. There's something about watching them that helps make the holiday "right."




3. What's your favorite soundtrack from a holiday program? (it doesn't have to have been officially released as an album--just what program features your favorite collection of music?)

If it counts as a soundtrack (since the album and special differ slightly), then it would have to A Christmas Together by John Denver & the Muppets. Without a doubt, this has some of my favorite ever Christmas songs.


4. What one program are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for me to review on this blog?

Probably not a surprise based on things I've written for this event the last couple of years, but I'd love to hear your review of the Animaniacs "Helloooo Holidays" video (which collects several segments, including the beautiful "Little Drummer Warners."


5. What change in Christmas entertainment have you noticed over the years? Do you like the trend?

I am not sure if this is a trend or not, but it seems to me that, despite all the special programming we now have dedicated to Christmas, it's often the same things repeated, either as a marathon (24 hours of Elf or A Christmas Story) or in short succession (several films/specials on repeat during the "12 Days of Christmas"). (And that's not getting into that some things are formula.) The result to me is that we don't get to see plenty of lesser acclaimed films, and we certainly miss out on many great holiday episodes of shows. It becomes a matter of which shows happen to be on which cable channels and if their programmers pay attention to running holiday installments at the time. I'd like to see more variety and diversity in what is shown, so that we can keep eyes on some of these classic (if forgotten) gems.


10 comments:

  1. Completely agreed on the repetitive nature of holiday programming. We need variety added in - not seeing the same 20 Hallmark Christmas movies on repeat from Halloween to January.

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  2. Never dawned on me that the repeated screenings make less room for other programs! Also, The Bishop’s Wife does not get enough attention as a holiday classic.

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  3. Great answer on #5. That is definitely a trend, and I agree. It's lazy programming.

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  4. I need to find that SNL sketch. I would love to see that one. And it's so true about the 24 hour marathons. They even have the Harry Potter during the holiday season as a 24 or 48 hour and I would love to see lesser aired shows.

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  5. I don't know why I didn't mention the John Denver and the Muppets soundtrack too--it's usually on high rotation at my house each year at Christmas. Thanks for the reminder and for participating!

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  6. I would love to see the SNL sketch you cited!

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  7. I'm so glad more are seeing that Funhouse cartoon. As probably evident from my responses, I like those times there's a sort of calm, divine moment amidst otherwise chaotic, loud bits (like Jesus here, Linus in Charlie Brown, the Animaniacs in "Little Drummer Warners"). There are several serene moments in John Denver & the Muppets as well, and I'll even listen to it throughout the year.

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  8. I don't believe I've ever see the Jesus SNL clip. I'll definitely check it out. And "The Bishop's Wife" is one of my favorites, rivaling "It's a Wonderful Life". I agree, it doesn't get the attention it deserves. I love the conversation between Dudley and Julia at the end: "Few people know the secret of making a heaven here on earth. You are one of those rare people."

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