Thursday, February 13, 2020

Christmas TV from December 24, 1969 (London, England)

Christmas TV Christmas Eve 1969 - (London, England)

At 1:00 PM BBC1 had The Great Sleigh Robbery (1968)

Couldn’t find the actual cartoon from Czech animator Jannik Hastrup  but I did come across this Story Teller version of the original book by Michael Foreman.

Not to be confused, as Google did,  with 1963’s The Great Toy Robbery, a Canadian animated short with a similar theme set in the old west.

4:50 PM The Private Life of the Robin
No idea how Cristmassy this was. The description, from the Radio Times via the BBC Genome, states
"A Christmas forerunner of the new series Private Lives to be shown next spring
The robin is Britain's most popular bird; it strikes up friendships with humans and nests in the unlikeliest places. At Christmas the redbreast on our greetings cards is a messenger of peace and goodwill, but in reality, it can be a belligerent defender of its back-garden territory."

6:15 PM  also on BBC1, Carols From Kings 

Over on BBC 2 there was a Mantovani concert but no clue if it was Christmassy.

At 9:30 PM ITV/Thames presented Carry on Christmas. This first TV installment of the long running series had the Carry On team tackling a Christmas Carol.

Switching over to 2 at 10.50 PM would have gotten you a concert of carols from the Wandsworth School Choir

11:10 PM: The Spinners at the Phil  Christmas concert from the popular folk act.

ITV, at 11:45, brought out Donald Swann's Christmas Candle. I wonder if it’s at all related to the Two Thousand Years Away special that aired in in the US in 1970 (see 12/24/1970)

My Picks:

Carols From King’s, Carry On Christmas

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Christmas TV from December 24, 1970

Christmas TV from December 24, 1970
 (San Bernardino, CA)

A quick peek at what you might have watched back on Christmas Eve of 1970.

Movies from earlier in day included:

The Holly ad the Ivy (1953)
Well made yuletide family drama directed by legendary brit-thesp Sir. Ralph Richardson. Not very festive but a terrific film.

Silent Night Lonely Night (1969)
Another downbeat holiday drama, this one starring Lloyd Bridges and Shirley Jones. An NBC Movie of the week from the year before.

A Christmas Carol (1951)

The Alastair Sim version.

6:00 PM offered a trio of musical choices. Would you watch the traditional carols of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Joy to the World, or join Pat Boone, Shari Lewis and others celebrating The Magic of Christmas. Perhaps your TV was permanently tuned to channel 28 for their 12-hour marathon of live Christmas performances, this hour featuring the Ukrainian Chorus of Los Angeles and The Morningside High School Choir

The second half of Biblical epic King of Kings (1962) aired on Channel 7’s Six O’clock movie.

6:30 brought Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power Christmas Special and Ray Conniff’s Christmas Special (1965) depending on your mood.

7:00 had more music from Ch. 28 with The Hollywood Tabernacle Brass Ensemble of the Salvation Army and The Figueroa Street Church of Christ Choir. Ch. 23 offers “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” billed as a 30 minute musical Christmas festival


7:30 ramped things up with a Christmas themed installment of The Flip Wilson Show with guests  Burl Ives, Slim Gaillard, and greaser group Sha-Na-Na, and a made for TV production of the London and Broadway musical Pickwick, which, while not often sighted around the holidays, is sort of a Christmas story. This BBC production features a plethora of performers familiar to fans of classic British comedy, not the least leading man and Goon Show stalwart Harry Secombe.

Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty presented Christmas Greetings From the City of Los Angeles with The L.A. Symphonic Chorus

Classic film fans could catch Miracle on 34th street (1947) on Ch. 9’s Million Dollar Movie.

8:00 Ch. 28’s marathon of holiday performances comes to a close with appearances from The Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra of L.A. and The Korean United Presbyterian Choir.

8:30 marked the premiere of a very special Christmas episode of Bewitched - “Sisters at Heart”. A tale of racial tolerance penned by a class of ninth-graders from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles.

Also at 8;30 was Christmas Is with Benji and his dog Waldo imagining what life might have been as a shepherd at the nativity.

By 9:00 it was time for "Getting Ready for Christmas” with the Doodletown Pipers. Once ubiquitous on the boob tube these squeaky clean pop singers have gently floated into obscurity.

More traditional music could be found on Ch. 13 with The William and Mary Christmas Choir followed by a seasonal Church in the Home.

10:00  brought a repeat of Dean Martin’s Christmas Show guest-starring Bob Newhart, Dom DeLuise, and Dennis Weaver.

On a more serious note, Ch 28 presented Dennis Potter’s Son of Man (1969) starring Colin Blakely, and Robert Hardy, Originally part of the BBC’s The Wednesday Play series of dramas.

The 11:00 hour starts with the Reg Owen led 1938 adaptation of A Christmas Carol, fifteen minutes later Ch. 2 had Two Thousand Years Away, a short concert of original carols written by Donald Swann, and performed alongside Sydney Carter. I could't find much about this special but most of the songs seem to appear on Swann's 1968 collection of original carols Sing round the year.

11:30 gave you a choice of Skitch Henderson’s The Heart of Christmas (repeat) and Pete Seeger’s Christmas Eve Special “Bough’s of Holly”.

If you were up all not taking care of Christmas Eve business you could have caught Holiday Inn (1942) at Midnight and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) at 1:00AM.

My Picks for the night...

The Magic of Christmas, Flip Wilson, Doodltown Pipers, Dean Martin, and Skitch Henderson.

Sources include The San Bernardino County Sun, The Odessa American Sun, The Chilliwack Progress

Friday, December 20, 2019

Yule Logged: Clarence, Unlikely Angel, A Christmas Carol in Color, En Vogue Christmas, A Very Merry Toy Store, The Christmas Wife, The Christmas Trap

Clarence (1990)

Ill conceived follow up to It’s a Wonderful Life focusing on Clarence the angels future adventures. Not good at all.

Unlikely Angel (1996)

Not a huge fan of  Dolly Parton the actress and this tale of angelic redemption is only watchable thanks to co-star Roddy McDowall

A Christmas Carol in Color

Colorized version of the Seymour Hicks led adaptation from…

I’m not usually a fan of colorization but I’ve seen this film so many times over the years it sort of freshened it up and made this year’s watch a bit more interesting.

En Vogue Christmas (2014)

Never was a fan so I can’t say if this is the coolest thing En Vogue could have done or super cringe. It’s not terrible but an En Vogue infomercial doesn’t really do much for me. Bonus points for David Alan Grier though.

A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)

Competition between rival toy store owners gets complicated by a shared nemesis and, inevitably romance.

So it’s pretty good, for what it is, and works as a Sabrina reunion, hart family reunion and has great supporting players like Brian Dennehy, William Ragsdale, Billy Gardel and Mario Cantone.

The Christmas Wife (1988)

Jason Robards and Julie Harris star in this fine TV film about a lonely widower who hires a companion to spend Christmas with him. A simple story, not comedic, not too maudlin, limited histrionics, no cliches. Just a bittersweet tale told with compassion, acted with restrain and grace.

The Christmas Trap (2017)

This is the perfect Christmas TV movie. Ten minutes long. I can’t think of a single Hallmark or Lifetime that wouldn’t benefit from being condensed down to ten minutes. Heck, you could have every movie take place with the characters stuck in an elevator, it would be an improvement.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Jean Shepherd - Christmas Eve 1971 (Classic Radio Broadcast)

Jean Shepherd - Christmas Eve 1971

Fibber McGee and Molly - Christmas 1952 / 1953 (Old Time Radio Christmas)

Fibber McGee and Molly

Christmas 1952 / 1953

Fibber McGee and Molly | Christmas 1952 Two Classic Old Time Radio Christmas Shows

Fibber McGee and Molly Christmas 1953 | 6 Classic Christmas Comedy Old Time Radio Episodes