Sunday, November 29, 2020

Christmas TV 1980 Part 1 (Nov 22 - Dec 9)

Christmas TV 1980 Part 1 (Nov 22 - Dec 9)

Coming off of researching 1960’s Christmas programming I was struck by how little of it aired outside of Christmas week itself with almost nothing in the immediate post Thanksgiving period. Here in 1980 Christmas is definitely in full swing while the Turkey Day leftovers are still in the fridge.

November 22

Yogi's First Christmas

Kid’s of all ages got an early holiday treat with this feature length Christmas special featuring everyone’s favorite cartoon bears plus special guests Snagglepuss, Huckleberry Hound,Augie and Daddy Doggie, and Santa Claus himself.


November 27 Thanksgiving Day

Of course Thanksgiving Day was chock full of parades full of Christmas cheer with Santa being the highlight of most. CBS aired an animated version of the Nutcracker

November 28 

The annual reruns of Grinch and Frosty. Some areas also got an early dose of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.

November 30

More Christmas parades dotted the schedule and CBS reran J.T., which I covered in my December  20,1970 post.

December 1

Some PBS stations premiered A Christmas Special with Luciano Pavarotti filmed in Montreal It would pop up throughout the month on different affiliates across the country.

December 3

Tonight saw the premiere of the second tier Rankin Bass holiday special Pinocchio's Christmas. Ironically it went up against the annual showing of Rudolph.


Johnny Cash's annual Christmas show featured guests Larry Gatlin and Mac Davis.

December 5

A big night for holiday special reruns with A Family Circus Christmas, Casper's First Christmas and Jack Frost

New on  the night was, at least in some places like Iowa City, (though the net tells me the official premier was the 17th), The Racoons Christmas featuring the vocal talent of Rich Little and Rita Coolidge among others. 

Also premiering was the Robert Urich hosted Christmas at the Grand Ole Opry

December 9

Youngsters, and the young at heart, had A Charlie Brown Christmas and Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Caper reruns, while the grown ups had the TV movie A Christmas Without Snow, starring Michael Learned and John Houseman, to look forward to.

New Christmas Music with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Tori Amos, Alex Lahey, Phoebe Bridgers and more

Michael Ball & Alfie Boe - Together At Christmas

Nice big throated theatrical throwback album from veteran board treaders Ball and Boe.

I’ll probably add a couple of tracks to this year’s selection.

Lindsey Stirling X Darius Rucker - What Child Is This


Alex Lahey - Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)

This Ramones classic is fast becoming the Last Christmas of the alt / punk set. Perfectly acceptable take that oddly feels the need to remind us, in the single’s artwork, that it’s a Ramones cover. Not the best version  to come out this year, though.

Tori Amos - Better Angels

Seems like a solid Tori Amos song, doesn’t exactly scream Christmas. Looking forward to the rest of the Christmastide EP. Her earlier Chritmas album is always in heavy rotation around here at the holidays.

Tinashe - Comfort and Joy

I found neither comfort nor joy listening to this. Whatever.

Bleached - Jingle Bells

Basic punk cover. No more, no less.

Kim Wilde - Wilde Winter Songbook

I was pleasantly surprised when I first heard the original version of this album and I still pull it out during the season. This re-release of the deluxe re-release includes six bonus songs, two of which are remixes and one the obligatory Last Christmas cover, and while they’re fine they don’t make a major impact. I’m thinking Isobel’s Dream, which isn't really new,  is the only bonus track I’ll add, though I may have it already.

Phoebe Bridgers – If We Make It Through December

Another over-covered song. Perfectly good but how many different, yet similar, versions do you need. Obviously Bridgers many fans will cherish this, and that's the thing with a lot of these Christmas releases, if your a fan then the track will resonate with you far more than it does for a casual listener who already has a dozen versions of the same song inn their library.

Grace Eden - fortune

Lovely three track acoustic release. Quite nice and definitely added to this years selection.

Jamie Barnes - Christmas Vol. 5

Nice collection of five familiar holiday tunes. Nothing groundbreaking but quite pleasant.

37 Tales of Christmas (via Falalalala

Generous sized indie comp worth checking out, though the quality varies track to track. If you have a few minutes to sample it you might find a couple of pleasant surprises.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Die Tollsten Geschichten von Donald Duck (Donald Duck's Greatest Stories) Christmas / Winter Covers


A selection of  Die Tollsten Geschichten von Donald Duck (Donald Duck's Greatest Stories) Christmas / Winter Covers

Friday, November 27, 2020

New Christmas Music with Jamie Cullum, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Dollyrots, Annie Lennox, Florida Georgia Line, Rand Collective and more...

My wholly subjective snap judgements on some of this season's new holiday releases. "Rotations" refer to my likely 2020 holiday listening frequencies.

 The Dollyrots - Christmas / All I Want For Christmas

Favorite new single of the year, so far. Even the b-side kills it with the best modern cover of All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) I’ve yet to hear.

Heavy rotation

The Goo Goo Dolls - It's Christmas All Over

As classic rock Christmas albums go (and I think at this point the Goo Goo Dolls have aged into classic rock territory) this is a solid effort. Not too strained, not too campy, it’s really good. I had pretty much fallen away from the modern rock scene during their heyday but I would imagine fans of the band will be pretty stoked with the result. There are a few songs that are instant skips but overall this one’s been growing on me over the last few days.

Medium Rotation

Rend Collective - A Jolly Irish Christmas Vol. 2

Not familiar with Rend Collective but this is a pretty good album. They’re an Irish Folk Worship band, apparently, and they have a few other Christmas releases in their back catalog that I’ll be checking out. A few tracks will definitely make it into this year’s library. A pleasant surprise.

Chris Tomlin - Miracle of Love

More worship music and it’s very good, for the genre. I don’t know that anything here replaces anything similar that I already have though

Light Rotation.

Warren Wolf - Christmas Vibes

I was so relieved to find the Christmas Vibes in the title referred to the Vibraphone and not hippie / new agey style vibes. 

Terrific jazzy, vibecentric, album of holiday standards. Recommended!  

Medium rotation.

Pentatonix - We Need a Little Christmas

We need a lotta Christmas but we need a heckuva lot less of whatever this is. The Pop A Capella novelty has long worn off at this point and I couldn’t even make it through this album while merely sampling it.

Mandy Moore -  How Could This Be Christmas

Decent single.

Ingrid Andress -  “Christmas Always Finds Me”

Another decent single.

Liam Payne feat. Dixie D’Amelio -  “Naughty List”

And just like like the decent pop single streak ends with a song that has me pining for the subtle nuances of Pentatonix.

Dan + Shay -  “Take Me Home For Christmas”

Modern country meh. Not awful but not worth hearing again.

Florida Georgia Line - “Lit This Year”

A better country single, not sure I’ll add it but it’s not bad.

Shaggy -  Christmas in the Islands

This isn’t my style of Christmas music, for the most part, but if it’s yours this is a fun album for the holidays. Not as good as his album with Sting but enjoyable, with a bunch of solid guests.

Annie Lennox -  A Christmas Cornucopia (10th Anniversary)

One bonus track on this remastered anniversary edition. I remember being a bit disappointed with the original release, being a huge Eurythmics / Lennox fan. Only a couple of tracks have stayed with me over the years and I’m not sure the remastering is going to change that.

The “previously unheard” track Dido’s Lament is lovely but not likely to become a Christmas standard around here.

Jamie Cullum – The Pianoman At Christmas

There’s some really good stuff here. I’ll need a couple of more listens to sort out the best of it but, yeah, this is good modern crooner stuff.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Festive Tidbits: Thanksgiving 1980


(Sources: Fort Lauderdale News Sun, Green Bay Press Gazette)

Christmas TV 1961 (December 1-17, 22-25 )


I've previously covered the festive programs of December 18-21 

Before we jump to the 22nd here are a couple of programming notes from earlier in the month...

December 1

In  California's San Fernando Valley, the main event for this first day of December was the Star of Bethlehem Parade.

While kids in Los Angeles could watch the season's secular big man himself on the North Pole Revue...

December 6

Perry Como 

December 22

Rawhide's "Twenty-Five Santa Clauses' starts the evening...

77 Sunset Strip featured a shooter at a Christmas Parade in  "Bullets for Santa"

Variety was represented with The Bell Telephone Hour "A Trip to Christmas" ...

... and International Showtime - Christmas at the Paris Circus ...

... and Mantovani.

On the travelogue High Road, host John Gunther presented "Christmas Around the World"

Here and Now 

December 23

Robert Goulet and Carole Lawrence star in The Enchanted Nutcracker

Good old Lawrence Welk celebrated the holidays in his inimitable style...

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve highlights include the annual production of  Amahl and the Night Visitors, an hour with Fred Waring, comedy from Jack Benny, Dennis the Menace and Car 54, some festive Ed Sullivan,  Christmas at The Ponderosa on Bonanza, family drama with Lassie and an Hawaiian holiday in Follow the Sun..