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