"Lost" Christmas Specials

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by JamesSmith, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. JamesSmith

    JamesSmith Screenwriter

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    Dear Guys:


    There are a few Christmas specials that haven't been seen regularly in years. I know there are quite a few new Holiday shows, but I wish these would be picked up by Hallmark, TV Land, or ABC Family.

    The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas
    A Christmas Carol (1971 Richard Williams Animated Version)
    Yes Virgina There is a Santa Claus (1970's version, narrated by Jim Backus)
    A Christmas Carol (seventies Australian animated version that was shown on CBS Saturdays during the decade--it was sponsored by Kenner).
    The Gathering. An Ed Asner 70's telemovie.
    The Littlest Angel Johnny Whittaker Hall of Hallmark musical. Is available on DVD.

    There'll be a few others that come to my mind later.

    Suggestions? Comments?

    James
     
  2. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    James,

    A nice list there. Do you happen to remember The Night the Animals Talked? I haven't seen that one in probably twenty, if not almost thirty, years. I just checked, and it first aired in 1970.
     
  3. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Here's a good one:

    The Great Santa Claus Switch (1970)

    This was a lavishly produced "Muppet" special, starring Art Carney as St. Nick, and of course, various Muppets in the supporting roles. Perhaps part of the reason it's never come out on home video is because the "regular" Muppets such as Kermit are not in it. I only saw it ONCE and 40 years ago at that--I remember it being very, very good. But if you want to see it today, it's actually got a bootleggy version going on youtube.

    Apparently it was run as a "special episode" of the Ed Sullivan Show, and Sullivan narrated it. Fans surmise that the show's unavailability is due to the fact that it's tied up in rights hell because it's considered part of that program, and not a stand-alone special. That's a pity--go have a look; it should have been rerun once a year and it would be a Christmas tradition by this time, instead of an egregiously forgotten classic.
     
  4. LeoA

    LeoA Screenwriter

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    I haven't seen this much on television (Though I think it did air last year), but 'The Night They Saved Christmas' from 1984 seems to be somewhat forgotten. Also has Art Carney as Santa Claus.

    Don't think it's ever recieved a DVD release.
     
  5. MattPeriolat

    MattPeriolat Supporting Actor

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    You mentioned a 70s Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, but I remember a TV movie about the letter on sometime in the early 90s staring Charles Bronson (I think). Dunno if that's on DVD, but I wouldn't mind seeing it again.
     
  6. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    This aired in 1991 and also starred Richard Thomas and Ed Asner. It was also very, very good! It's not available on dvd in the U.S.; I checked around; the fans seem to believe it received a German-language release, but not in English (I can't find it one way or the other).

    The cartoon version was a half-hour special that originally aired in 1974. It stars the voice of Jim Backus. It was directed by Bill Melendez of "Peanuts" fame. The animation wasn't very good IMO, but I remember the story as being very moving; there shouldn't be a dry eye in the house after watching this cartoon!
     
  7. MattPeriolat

    MattPeriolat Supporting Actor

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    And as long as we're strolling down memory lane, does anyone else besides me remember a TV version of The Best Christmas Pagent Ever? Have no idea when it originally aired, but I think it was around the mid-80s.
     
  8. JamesSmith

    JamesSmith Screenwriter

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    Dear Ockeghem:

    Yep. I remember "The Night The Animals Talked," the animation wasn't very good, but the story was beautiful. I think it had some good voice talent on it. I do have it on video. I was able to find a source on it years ago, but again the prints aren't very good, but I still would like to see the public re-acquint themselves with it.

    The Family Channel in the late 90's played it twice before they got bought out by Disney. Some times I think these channels do better before they go more mainstream.

    I also remember "Noel" which was narrated by Charlton Heston. Hope it shows up again.

    James
     
  9. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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  10. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    You'll be happy to learn the "The Gathering" and "The Gathering II" are being released by the Warner Archives' movies-on-demand program on December 15th. Information here:

    http://www.wbshop.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-WB-Site/default/Product-Show?pid=1000124851&adid=WACDec09Eml
     
  11. pghjerry

    pghjerry Extra

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    I always loved "A Cosmic Christmas" from the 70's
     
  12. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    Little Drummer Boy Book II, has also escaped a dvd release. I finally transferred my vhs to dvd. You mentioned the Australian animated Christmas Carol, I'm glad someone else remembers this. This is one of my favorite animated versions. I have a PD quality vhs tape that I tried to copy to dvd but had some tracking issues, so it didn't come out so well. I'm thinking about buying another tape to see if the quailty is any better. I remember watching this growing up, and also the Kenner sponsorship. It really got me into the Christmas spirit! I really wish it was on dvd.
     
  13. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    And I just received this packaging of the two GATHERING movies from Warner Archives today. As I left from home, the UPS man was heading up the walk with it, so I brought it along to work. With just a quick sampling of them on my computer, I can say that THE GATHERING looks better than I've seen it since its original network broadcast. Warner did a nice job restoring it.

    I've had both VHS tapes and the LaserDisc of this title for years - every year at Christmastime we watch it. Both the tape and the LaserDisc were so-so transfers at best. The cheap VHS releases from places like Goodtimes were plagued with slow recording speeds and poor tracking problems. The LaserDisc suffered from a somewhat faded print and really poor scratchy, muddy sound.

    Now, the movie looks vibrant again, colorful, the way a Christmas-themed movie should look. The sound is also very nicem from what I can tell on the computer. No more of the murky soundtrack that plagued the LaserDisc.

    Oh, and I should mention that some "lost" footage has been restored. As originally presented, there was an opening teaser showing scenes from the film (including at least one alternate take), and that teaser footage has been restored to the front of the movie. There was also a scene missing from the LaserDisc where Ed Asner as Adam Thornton goes to a bookcase and grabs a copy of Clement Clark Moore's THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS to read to his grandchildren. He then sits down, announces the reading and begins regaling the children with the opening of the poem. After a verse or so, he then turns the chore over to his son-in-law. For some reason, this was excised from the LaserDisc and some syndicated prints, but it's fully restored here.

    I've not seen the sequel since it aired originally back in '79, so that will be at least interesting to watch. Looking quickly at it, it's not a restored print but looks at least acceptable.

    Harry
     
  14. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    I guess "The Man in the Santa Claus Suit" with Fred Astaire had yet to see a dvd release. I don't know how well it holds up now but I remember really enjoying it when it first aired.
     
  15. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    I'm surprised no one has thought of the original, Emmy-winning version of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory with Geraldine Page! I have posted a thread regarding the apparent vanishing of this film- the only place one can see it now is at the Paley Center. Back in the 80s it was shown on PBS stations, so I am sure there must be a master print or negative somewhere.
     
  16. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Am I the only one who read this thread title and thought, "They did a LOST Christmas special?!"
     
  17. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    no thats exactly why i came on here
     
  18. Steve Armbrust

    Steve Armbrust Second Unit

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    Well, of course, there's always the Star Wars Holiday Special.

    But I also have fond memories of Mrs. Santa Claus from 1996. Though I normally detest Angela Landsbury, I thought the music was pretty good in this. I don't think it's been on TV for a few years.
     
  19. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Anybody remember "It Happened One Christmas"? It's a 1977 tv-movie remake of "It's a Wonderful Life", with Marlo Thomas in the Jimmy Stewart role, and Orson Welles as Mr. Potter!
     
  20. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    Although the Origional 1947 Version BLOWS IT AWAY! I'd still like to see the 1973 version of Miracle on 34th Street be made available on DVD.
     

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