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Favorite Christmas Episodes

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

  1. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Sherlock Holmes (1968-BBC)-"The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle"
    -I have two versions of this Conan Doyle story set during Christmas with Holmes recovering a stolen gem. I always prefer to watch the Peter Cushing-Nigel Stock version as opposed to the later Jeremy Brett version. It's more a Holmes tale that just happens to take place during Christmas (key is the stolen jewel is found in a Christmas Club goose) though at the end, circumstances require Holmes to note "it is the season of forgiveness."

    Perry Como Christmas In San Antonio (1986-ABC)
    -This was Perry's last network TV special (his final one was eight years later on PBS). The San Antonio location I read came about because a lot of terrorist concerns at the time with airport bombings and hijackings dissuaded him from doing it overseas. Angie Dickinson, George Strait, Julia Migenes guest.

    Christmas In Washington (1986-NBC)
    -John Forsythe host. Music by Mac Davis, Sandi Patti, Clamma Dale.
     
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  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think Busy Christmas is on the Mill Creek set of 49 holiday episodes - I’ll have to double check but I think I saw it on there when I was ripping to my HTPC last night. I also picked up the Mill Creek companion set with 39 cartoons, public domain movies and TV movies. For an extra dollar it seemed worth taking a chance on.
     
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  3. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter
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    I usually watch "The Blue Carbuncle" around Christmastime, too... though I prefer the Jeremy Brett version, with its superior production values and, IMO, the all-time best incarnation of Sherlock Holmes to ever grace the big or small screen. I like the Cushing version, too, so I might watch that one this year, as it's been a while.
     
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  4. Message #784 of 884 Dec 18, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter
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    The Forest Rangers - 3.1 "Santa MacLeod"
    I had never seen this show before, and had barely even heard of it until both Bob Gu and Randall mentioned it briefly in another thread several months back. Apparently it was a highly successful Canadian production which ran from 1963 to 1966 for 104 half-hour color episodes, and aired in 40 countries. The best known actor associated with the program was Gordon Pinsett, though he does not appear in this seasonal outing (apparently having left the series by this point). I'm coming into this show cold, but from what I could tell, it revolves around some kids who are Junior Forest Rangers and hang out in an old fort nearby a remote village called Indian River, get into various scrapes and adventures, and assist the local Forest Ranger, here Chief Forest Ranger George Keeley (Graydon Gould) and local Native Canadian guide, Joe Two Rivers (Michael Zenon). In this one, an old man named MacLeod, depressed because he mistakenly thinks he didn't get invited to the kids' Christmas party, trudges forlornly back to his cabin, only to come upon a young man, his sick wife and their baby, stranded in the wilderness. Good outdoor adventure here, capped by a touching scene at the end with MacLeod attending the Christmas party and receiving a special gift.

    The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
    - 1.13 "Late Christmas Gift"
    If anything, even less happens in this episode than the other two I previously watched, but it still makes for very pleasant and cheerful viewing. Ozzie's mom sends David and him Christmas presents which arrive later on Christmas Day, one a thick history book and the other a snazzy sports coat..but which present is for Ozzie, and which is for David? Ozzie immediately takes a shine to the coat and he and Thorny head off to the local malt shop to hang out with the other cool kids (which sadly, but perhaps mercifully, happens off screen). I particularly liked how Ozzie immediately, and with no reservations whatsoever, gives his present over to David, once he realizes that the coat is much more suitable for him. Some nice, underplayed tenderness between father and son here. Franklin Pangborn also shows up as the family's lugubrious insurance agent.
     
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  5. Jay_Z_525

    Jay_Z_525 Agent

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    I watched these three for the first time this year. I watch the usual: Lucy, Honeymooners, Hazel, O&H, Bewitched, Amos and Andy, Topper, Patty Duke. These Loretta Young episodes are a nice addition to that list.



     
  6. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I always make room for the second and third Loretta Young Christmas shows. The first one I'm always more on the fence with largely because while the story is good, the kid actor comes off more annoying at times.
     
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  7. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Jeff, that series also had a first season Yuletide episode, entitled simply "A Christmas Story" that's also pretty good. It's on YouTube.

    Gary "that was a nice show, making good use of outdoor scenery" O.
     
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  8. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Over the next six days I'll have to choose between and then find time for:

    Ozzie & Harriet (many)
    Dennis the Menace (several)
    Bachelor Father
    Beverly Hillbillies
    (several)
    Dr Kildare
    Dragnet
    Have Gun, Will Travel
    (both)
    Hazel (both)
    In the Heat of the Night (both)
    Lassie (many)
    Little House on the Prairie (several)
    Amos & Andy
    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
    Davey & Goliath
    Donna Reed Show
    Father Knows Best
    (several)
    Fury
    Happy Days
    (just the 1st one)
    Tom & Jerry short
    A Charlie Brown Christmas
    It's a Wonderful Life
    A Christmas Carol/Scrooge
    (not sure which one I'll watch this year)

    Yikes! I clearly won't be getting to all of these, but I'm gonna try to squeeze in as many as I can. A few are absolute must watches. But some good ones will have to be skipped this season.


    Gary "I knew with Thanksgiving falling late this year time would be an issue - can't believe Christmas is almost here already" O.
     
  9. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter
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    Good luck, Gary! The days do seem to be flying by. With my work schedule this year, there are some night's when I'm just too tuckered out to get much of anything watched - like last night. Still a few days left to get some good episodes in, though. And like you, I want to get a few classic Christmas movies squeezed in there, too.
     
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  10. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    1987-Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas (ABC)
    -Guests John Denver, Placido Domingo. Julie returns to Salzburg, Austria where she filmed the Sound of Music for this Christmas special. Beautifully done, Julie sings like an angel and looks radiant.

    1987-Christmas In Washington (NBC)
    -Guests Barbara Mandrell, Jack Jones, Marilyn McCoo. Closing speech by President Reagan. The President I'd note enjoyed doing these annual specials as his personal diaries that have been released have notations for taking part in a couple of these and speaking positively about them.
     
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  11. Message #791 of 884 Dec 20, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Since the 1980s seems to be getting a lot of attention (more than I expected), I took the liberty of watching some more shows from that decade:

    Punky Brewster
    "Yes Punky, There Is A Santa Claus" (S1E12/13, 12/16/1984) The first of three Christmas episodes, although it's counted as two for syndication purposes which would technically make it four. It's Henry and Punky's first Christmas together but her first without her mother. After performing a play for school called "The Saddest Snowflake," an older boy at school named Billy Bahootsas (Danny Ponce, later of Valerie) brings her and her friends' Christmas spirits down by saying there's no such thing as Santa Claus. Henry's solution to the problem is to tell Punky "Santa is real to those who believe in him," and then to appear at school as Santa. Punky asks for him to bring his mother back, creating yet another conundrum. They still can't find her, but a mysterious white-haired stranger (Iggie Wolfington) running an antique store offers him a music box with the initials SB (as in "Susan Brewster") that plays "I've Got the Sun in the Morning" from Annie Get Your Gun, the song she used to sing to Punky. A good balance of humor and heart, luckily George Gaynes was an excellent actor who manages to lend credibility to the proceedings. Dody Goodman, best known as Mary Hartman's mother, plays the schoolteacher.

    Series creator David W. Duclon later reused this plotline (and much of the dialogue virtually verbatim), but with only 30 minutes to do it, on his later series, ABC's On Our Own (no connection to the 1977 CBS sitcom of the same name), which co-starred Jussie Smollett. There, Reginald VelJohnson played the Santa-like figure. It, too, was in the same Sunday at 7:30 PM time slot this show struggled in and proved to be even less successful, ending after less than a year.

    I also watched an animated episode; there were two 11-minute cartoons on this one. The first one, involving Brandon getting caught by dog catchers, had nothing to do with Christmas. The second, Christmas in July, did: thanks to Glomer, Punky and her friends get to meet Santa at the North Pole, but their carelessness causes Christmas to be moved ahead several months, wreaking havoc. Animated by Ruby-Spears, the same studio behind the first few seasons of Alvin and the Chipmunks, somehow the live-action version seemed more "animated" in hindsight. One name in the credits might seem familiar, if you can read it fast enough: Butch Hartman, who went on to create Nickelodeon's The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.

    A Garfield Christmas (12/21/1987)
    The last special to air before the premiere of the Garfield and Friends Saturday morning series, this one pulls some heartstrings you don't expect from these specials. This is structured almost like a mini-musical, with a handful of catchy songs to move things forward amusingly. Jon takes Garfield and Odie to the farm where he grew up for an "old-fashioned family Christmas." The Arbuckle family never makes any more appearances in animation, but their vocal credentials here are unimpeachable. In addition to One Day at a Time's (which was also set in Indiana) Pat Harrington, Jr. as Jon's father and Laverne & Shirley's David L. Lander as his brother Doc Boy, Pat Carroll, an accomplished actress who co-starred in the short-lived sitcoms Getting Together and She's the Sheriff and would later go on to voice Ursula the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid, steals the show as Grandma. Julie Payne, the voice of Jon's mother, was also the voice of Lanolin on Garfield and Friends. The version that's on DVD has a 1991 copyright date for some reason. Nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, it lost to A Claymation Christmas Special although three of the specials before it won; one year the only two nominees were Garfield specials, and the next year it lost to a Cathy special, believe it or not! The same year as this special, The Brave Little Toaster was also nominated despite being long enough to be a feature film. One of the better 1980s animated Christmas specials overall, and one I'm surprised isn't rerun more.

    Next up: the Muppets!
     
  12. Message #792 of 884 Dec 20, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
    Jack P

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    I finished off what will be the "lighter" Christmas episodes.

    That Girl, S1-"Christmas And The Hard Luck Kid."
    -Ann recalls spending Christmas with a lonely child at the school she once taught at. Christopher Shea, who did the voice of Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special plays the boy.

    The Odd Couple, S1-"Scrooge Gets An Oscar."
    -One of the best Scrooge sitcom ripoffs. When Felix asks the Poker Players to read for the part of Scrooge when Oscar refuses (and throws Felix out), the inept attempt of Vinnie (Larry Gelman) doing "Scrooge as an axe murderer" is priceless.

    Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, S1-"Long Live The King"
    -I'm glad Voyage did a Christmas show in its superior first season. If they'd waited until Season 3 or 4 we might have seen an episode of Santa being abducted by an alien or monster! :)

    And now easing my way into the upper tier.

    Star In The Night (1945)-A 20 minute short included in the "Christmas In Connecticut" DVD (won't be doing that film this year) involving a modern-day Nativity parallel in the southwest starring J. Carroll Naish. A nice charming piece that if made a decade or two later would have been a nice TV anthology show item.

    Loretta Young Show-I did "Christmas Stopover" and "Three And Two, Please." Maybe next year I'll be ready to watch the first one (when we'll have a longer Thanksgiving to Christmas period)

    A Christmas Carol (1951)-The Alastair Sim version.
     
  13. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’m in the same boat, my friend. All this wonderful new stuff I’ve picked up and much less time left than I thought. I just know my TV time is gonna be extremely limited between now and the day of. If I can finish watching the Frasier Christmas episodes with my wife, get in Its A Wonderful Life and one version of Christmas Carol, plus the Twilight Zone episode, I’ll call it a win. Those feel like the musts for me this year. But hey, anything missed this year makes it to the front of the line next year!
     
  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Triage! What do you do if you don’t have two hours for Miracle on 34th Street? Watch the one hour TV version instead!
     
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  15. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Josh, you have to try with all your might to at least watch “Busy Christmas” from Ozzie and Harriet. If not that one then watch “Christmas Tree Lot” off the Shout Christmas set.

    Gary “those two from Ozzie and Harriet are must watches for me every year” O.
     
  16. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’ll make it happen!
     
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  17. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Good for you! I don't think you'll regret making time for it.
     
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  18. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Daniel Boone, S2-"The Christmas Story"
    -We get their Nativity parable story. Ralph Moody who was in both versions of the Dragnet Christmas story is a not very convincing Indian chief!

    And the last of the Christmas specials I intend to watch so I can free myself for the remaining top tier of episodes.

    Christmas In Washington, 12/20/88 (NBC)
    -President Reagan's last Christmas in Washington. James Stewart hosts. Music by Shirley Jones, Vikki Carr, Gary Morris, Kathleen Battle. Sadly, the NBC Newsbrief before this notes the crash of Pan Am 103 in Lockerbie.

    Season's Greetings, 12/21/88 (NBC)
    -John Williams and the Boston Pops do a Christmas concert from Symphony Hall in Boston. Andy Williams, Reba McEntire (sporting classic 80s big hair), Roberta Flack and John Candy.

    The Christmas Tree Ship (2004)
    -A Weather Channel documentary about the loss of the schooner Rouse Simmons in a Great Lakes storm in 1912. The schooner was the "Christmas Tree Ship" that for years in Chicago, was a centerpiece of the Christmas season selling trees cut in Michigan (and the schooner likely sank because it was overloaded with thousands of trees) . It's a story of their captain, Heinrich Scheumann and his love of the Christmas season (the documentary has reminiscences of what the ship was like from the last living witness to what the ship was like when he visited it as a child in 1911, the year before it was lost) and how even after the tragic loss of the ship Scheumann's widow and daughters carried on the tradition of selling trees in Chicago for another twenty years.

    Time And Again-Christmas (1997)
    -Episode of the NBC News Archives series revisits the playing of Christmas music on the Today Show, 1989, and also the only aired excerpts of the 1960 "Coming Of Christ" documentary since it's last network airing in 1971.

    Tomorrow afternoon we start getting into the top tier.
     
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  19. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Amos & Andy - "The Christmas Story". Andy works as a department store Santa to buy a talking doll for his god-daughter, Amos' 9 year old daughter. Amos explains the Lord's Prayer to his daughter as he tucks her in on Christmas Eve. Great blending of the secular and sacred. Highly Recommended

    Bachelor Father - "Deck the Halls". Bentley loses the Christmas spirit after fighting the crowds shopping and pushes Kelly and Peter to go along with his plans to buy no presents for anyone. Great little episode. This is a series that is begging for an official release. Highly Recommended

    Restless Gun - "The Child". I already described this one, but just got around to watching it last night. Highly Recommended

    Bewitched - "Visions of Sugar Plums". Sam and Darren bring in an orphan for Christmas. Famous episode with Billy Mummy. Easily the best of the several Christmas episodes from this series. Highly Recommended

    Father Knows Best - "The Christmas Story" (a very popular title). Jim takes the family up into the mountains to cut down a tree and they get stranded in heavy snow. A closed lodge, complete with lonely old man, provides them a memorable Christmas. Highly Recommended

    Honeymooners - "Twas the Night Before Christmas". Already described. One of my favorites. Highly Recommended

    West Point - "Christmas Present". Already described. A solid episode from this military-themed series. Recommended

    Steve Canyon - "The Gift". Steve helps a young orphaned girl from an Austrian displacement-camp find the true meaning of Christmas. Has a great premise but fizzles just a tad on an ending that I thought could have been stronger. Also has to hold the record for scariest Santa Claus mask of all time. Still an enjoyable episode. Recommended

    Gary "the next three days will be spent watching only the essentials" O.
     
  20. Jay_Z_525

    Jay_Z_525 Agent

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    Lots of great moments and lines in that episode. “Oh Floorwalker” has actually become an inside joke to some friends and family members.
     
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