1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Favorite Christmas Episodes

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

  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,826
    Likes Received:
    2,472
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Salinas, CA
    Real Name:
    Matthew
    That is in the book Annie: A Theater Memoir by the late Martin Charnin, which tracks the development of the show from inception to Broadway.
     
    Flashgear, Gary OS and Jack P like this.
  2. Message #742 of 884 Dec 11, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 1999
    Messages:
    1,876
    Likes Received:
    5,269
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    Real Name:
    Jeff Flugel
    More good stuff, courtesy of YouTube:

    The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel

    1.11 "The Christmas Present"
    This might not be a typical episode of this series, or the best (haven't seen any others yet), but I found it very well done, with some nice snappy dialogue, fine acting and a heartfelt message underneath the disguises and derring-do. I'm sure other entries in this short-lived ITC series are more action-packed and swashbuckling, as befits the subject matter, but for a Christmas episode, this was suitably dramatic. Marius Goring is terrific, all foppish layabout as Sir Percy Blakeney, but once he's alone and learns of his new mission, he instantly turns into the steely and serious Pimpernel.

    Blakeney sneaks into France to rescue several aristocrats held in a house in the countryside, but is taken aback when he finds out that they are all young children. What to do, what to do...the Scarlet Pimpernel is not one to give up when faced with a challenge, but some quick thinking is in order if he is going to be able to whisk the children out of the country...The final grace note is a good one, as the Pimpernel, having successfully brought his young charges to the safety of his English home, leads a spirited rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Based on how much I enjoyed this episode, I'll be picking up this series on Region 2 DVD real soon.

    The Lucy Show
    - 1.13 "Together for Christmas"
    Lucy and Viv are planning to spend the holiday together along with their children, but find themselves constantly bickering about whose Christmas traditions will be observed. Very funny lines abound here, and both comediennes are on fine form (the scene where both ladies start destroying each other's Christmas trees is a hoot). The kid actors are also good value, especially the little scene stealer playing Lucy's son (Jimmy Garrett). Pity that the series appears to phase the kids out pretty early on. Cute show, and you can tell that Lucy is happy to have I Love Lucy crony and old pro Vivian Vance to bounce off of.

    I gotta say, though, I'm with Lucy...oyster stuffing sounds absolutely disgusting!
     
  3. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    3,500
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Gary
    That Lucy Show Christmas episode is a very good one, Jeff. Glad you found it and enjoyed it. The series did another Yuletide episode in season four (after Vivian Vance left) called "Lucy the Choirmaster", but it wasn't nearly as good and I rarely watch it.

    The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel was well done too, offering a slightly better Christmas episode than a similar ITV series, The Adventures of Robin Hood. But for my money, the best holiday episode of these foreign produced swashbuckling series is The Adventures of Long John Silver ("The Orphans Christmas"). It has a similar storyline as the color Gunsmoke Christmas episode entitled, "P.S. Murry Christmas", but it was done a decade earlier. All of those are good.

    I watched a couple of more modern episodes (due to my wife and daughter asking for them):

    Father Dowling Mysteries - "The Christmas Mystery". Well done episode that has all the elements needed for a proper holiday story. And you can't go wrong with a member of the Nelson household, in this case Ricky & Kris Nelson's daughter Tracy Nelson who was a regular in this series. Recommended

    Family Matters - "Have Yourself a Merry Winslow Christmas". Even though this show pushes up through the 90's (not exactly a decade I'd normally watch much from), it was a family series that had a solid cast and good-natured stories. And this first of six Yuletide offerings from the series is one of the best. Recommended

    Gary "I'll really have to set my foot down starting tonight so that there's time for all my 'must-watch' favorites by the 24th" O.
     
  4. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    I was just thinking. A famous western series starring James Drury never had a Christmas episode, but if they had this is what it should have been called.

    "Yes, Virginian, There Is A Santa Claus!" :D
     
  5. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    3,500
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Gary
    :lol:

    There are plenty of head-scratchers for me as to series that did NOT have a Christmas episode, like The Virginian. Yes, I understand the idea of syndication and how writers/directors/show-runners might have shy'd away from them for the aforementioned reason, but still.

    Sitcoms especially lent themselves to Christmas episodes, yet we have none for Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons, The Munsters, Sgt Bilko, How to Marry a Millionaire, Gomer Pyle, I Dream of Jeannie, Gidget, Hogan's Heroes (maybe a stretch, but still...) and Mayberry RFD, among many, many others.


    Gary "westerns, if they did a Christmas episode, usually produced quality ones (with a couple of exceptions)" O.
     
  6. MartinP.

    MartinP. Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    1,380
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Real Name:
    Martin
    I was not disputing the point, just rolling my eyes at your editorializing about it.
     
  7. Message #747 of 884 Dec 11, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
    Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    I think if the point isn't to be disputed, then there shouldn't be a lot of shock if it results in comments about it. We are after all, "editorializing" in our own way about all the episodes we've been seeing.
     
  8. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    The Bob Newhart Show has *five* Christmas episodes to get through. Two down, three to go for me (I'm on the fence about the last one though)

    Bob Newhart Show, S1
    -"His Busiest Season"
    -Bob tries to cheer up the depressed members of his group by having them over for Christmas. The "group" is not yet locked into its more familiar pattern as we only have Michelle and Mrs. Begelman. King Moody ("Shtarker" from "Get Smart!" and the 70s Ronald McDonald) is kind of an early version of Mr. Gianelli. Frankly, I'm glad they didn't have Mr. Carlin yet at this point!

    Bob Newhart Show, S2-"I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas"
    -They go for a different approach this year with Bob and Emily wanting to have a no-frills Christmas but Mr. Peterson ends up forcing Bob to come back to the office and brave getting home again through a blackout and blizzard.

    Interestingly, both years they avoid letting us see what Emily gets Bob for Christmas! The genius of these scripts is that they're so good it doesn't matter.

    S3, which involves trying to get Carol to spend time with her parents for Christmas isn't as good IMO. S4, which has Bob in the hospital getting his tonsils out I have to see because it's funny (especially the "settle back and listen to the sound of a Conelrad Alert" moment). S6 though I remember shows a show running on fumes by this point and too shticky than situational. I may still find time for all.
     
  9. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    "Hogan" had a minor cheat when Hogan and the prisoners sing a chorus of "Good King Wencelsas" to make a German general they've captured think it's Christmas when it isn't!

    I have a feeling that the reason why "Family Affair" and "My Three Sons" didn't have conventional Christmas show may have stemmed from the unorthodox shooting schedules where Brian Keith and Fred MacMurray could cram all their scenes for every show of the season at once and then leave to do film projects. Maybe a special Christmas show wouldn't have lent itself to that.

    Cop/Detective shows I recognize don't lend themselves particularly well to anything other than doing a show that incidentally takes place at Christmas. That said, the ability of "Dragnet" to come up with one of the best is all the more remarkable.
     
  10. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    "Phyllis" has not made it to DVD but we can see an original broadcast recording of their S2 Christmas episode! (The "Rhoda" episode which precedes it is not a Christmas one). This one actually has some good stuff going for it.

     
    Jeff Flugel, Flashgear and MatthewA like this.
  11. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,826
    Likes Received:
    2,472
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Salinas, CA
    Real Name:
    Matthew
    I wouldn't imagine so. A glance at their episode list shows they didn't do a Hanukkah episode either.
     
    Jeff Flugel and Flashgear like this.
  12. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Time to work in a couple of the more serious items.

    Amahl And The Night Visitors-12/25/55 (NBC)
    -Commercial release. The first production was in 1951 I think and by this point it was becoming an annual tradition. The English spoken opera of the Wise Men stopping at the home of a crippled shepherd boy and his mother.

    G.E. Theater-"A Child Is Born"
    -1956 airing of a program first aired the previous year. Like "Amahl" it's an original Nativity story with a semi-opera quality (music by Bernard Herrmann) focusing on the Innkeeper and his wife.
     
  13. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    3,500
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Gary
    Watching several more westerns tonight. Can’t wait!

    Gary “anxious to hear Josh’s impressions of the Ozzie & Harriet Christmas episodes” O.
     
  14. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Bob Newhart Show
    -Season 3, 4 and 6 Christmas episodes. As I said last night, Season 3 involving getting Carol to go home to see her parents is a step down from Season 1 and 2. Season 4, with Bob in the hospital for his tonsils on Christmas Eve is very funny. Season 6 though is terrible, because instead of deriving humor from situation, they instead go for silly punchline set-ups. Case in point is how in Season 6, Howard is spouting Gracie Allen type lines and that just doesn't work. Howard is naive and childlike but making him out and out stupid just doesn't work.

    Adam-12
    -Season 1, 3 and 7 Christmas episodes. Season 1 is the best and has the most heart. Season 3 has a couple more distressing moments within it (though one is understandable. In Season 1 we get a drunk driver played for comic effect. In Season 3, we get famous "Drunk" funnyman Foster Brooks in a dead serious moment of being responsible for a fatal hit and run because of his drinking as if they recognized now this subject shouldn't have been played for laughs.) Season 7 has the least heart but is okay.
     
    Gary OS, Flashgear and Jeff Flugel like this.
  15. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    3,500
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Gary
    Westerns in general often blend the secular and sacred elements of the season together seamlessly and perfectly. Here are a few of the best examples:

    Fury - "The Wayfarer". The boys learn the real meaning of Christmas. A standard plot device with such episodes, but this one does it extremely well. Highly Recommended

    Have Gun, Will Travel - "The Hanging Cross". Paladin rides into a fight between a bitter cattle baron and Indians over a boy he claims is his son, kidnapped as a baby. This episode utilizes one of my favorite CBS music cues (used in a Fugitive episode as well), "Religious Procession No. 1." I cannot stress how high up on the list this Christmas episode is for me. Highly Recommended

    Have Gun, Will Travel
    - "Be not Forgetful of Strangers". Another solid outing, this time from the show's sixth and final season. Not quite as powerful as the first season episode mentioned above, but still very good. Recommended

    Restless Gun - "The Child". Very different, but effective episode about a huge mute man, presumed crazy, who is reunited with the mission where he was raised as a child. Highly Recommended

    The Adventures of Rin, Tin Tin - "The Christmas Story". Searching for a Christmas tree, Lt. Masters, Rusty and Rinty find an Indian couple under attack. The woman is pregnant and about to deliver. A similar plot devise was also used in the second season Daniel Boone Christmas episode that went by the same title. Both work well and are Highly Recommended.


    Gary "only 12 more viewing days till Christmas" O.
     
    Flashgear, Jeff Flugel and Jack P like this.
  16. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Forget Star Trek. "Hanging Cross" is the best piece of TV writing Gene Roddenberry ever done and given what his personal beliefs and private life was really like, it's all the more remarkable he came up with that. While S6 isn't as good it's still a top tier episode that I will save for closer to the end.
     
    Flashgear, Jeff Flugel and Gary OS like this.
  17. Message #757 of 884 Dec 13, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 1999
    Messages:
    1,876
    Likes Received:
    5,269
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    Real Name:
    Jeff Flugel
    Good stuff, guys!

    Sure seems like a lot of these older shows used the title "The Christmas Story" a heck of a lot...I watched the Dragnet 1967 episode from S2 with that same title a few nights ago. Sgt. Friday and his partner Bill Gannon take on an unusual case on Christmas Eve...someone stole a little baby Jesus statue from a church's Nativity scene, and Father Rojas hopes the detectives can track it down and return it in time for Christmas morning mass. This show always seems to have at least one amusing scene every episode, with an actor or actress playing a peculiar or idiosyncratic witness or information source, and here we get Ralph Moody as a cantankerous owner of a religious art shop. I got a kick out of him, and I could tell Jack Webb did too. Just a gentle, life-affirming story all around...I really enjoyed this one. I also checked out a few minutes of the 1950s version of this story and the '60s one seems to be nearly a word-for-word remake. The '50s version is probably better and snappier, but I liked the '60s one just fine. Will likely watch the earlier version next year.

    Will be checking out some of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet holiday episodes over the coming week, along with some other new-to-me choices. Happy viewing, everyone!
     
  18. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    2,781
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Yes it was the same script and Moody reprised his role from the original as did Harry Bartell as Father Rojas. . They were not able to use the same church used in the original since it was being renovated at the time so that's why they had to find another church which was technically more outside the normal LAPD jurisdiction (hence the 60s reference to the church being "Foothill Division").

    The remake IMO is better because I prefer Harry Morgan as a TV partner (the 50s scripts and Ben Alexander played better on radio I felt) and also Lyn Murray's score is beautiful, especially for that final shot.

    I will be saving that closer to the end along with "Dr. Kildare" and the two HGWT. I usually manage to give it two viewings.
     
  19. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    3,500
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Gary
    Looking forward to your thoughts, Jeff.

    Gary “will be pulling out some of those this weekend as well” O.
     
    Jeff Flugel and Flashgear like this.
  20. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Messages:
    2,495
    Likes Received:
    2,697
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    SE Missouri
    Real Name:
    Ron Reagan (not that one!)
    I think I may give Ms. Patti Page a rest tomorrow (I'm on a Patti Page kick after listening to her Christmas albums a few days ago) and catch some stuff on YouTube. I'll also have to watch the S5 Christmas episode of The Beverly Hillbillies where the Clampetts get a job at the department store and Mrs. Drysdale winds up in jail. I have the S7 holiday crossovers with Petticoat Junction that I might watch as well. I'll probably watch your favorite show as well since I have several on my flash drive along with Jed and his kin.
     
    Jeff Flugel, Flashgear and Gary OS like this.

Share This Page