My Favorite TV Christmas Shows

TV Guide listed 109 Christmas shows to be broadcast this holiday season. (Golly, I hope I counted correctly. Did I miss something?) I know everyone eagerly awaits their favorites. Here are my mine.

Rudolph

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer. I like to start the season on a light note. I watch Hermie (“I want to be a dentist”) –a discontented Elf, and his friend, Rudolph the –well, you know. They want to be “independent” together. (It’s my second favorite line in all the Christmas TV shows. My favorite line is –wait a bit, you’ll see.) And Yukon “Silver and Gold” Cornelious, The Abominable, and –from the Isle of Misfit Toys— Charlie-in-the-Box.   “Who wants a Charlie-in-the-box?” I do, and so do you, right? Will Christmas be cancelled or will Rudolph save the holiday? What do you think, kids?

CBXmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas. Is there ANYBODY who hasn’t seen this show? “It’s not such a bad tree after all, Charlie Brown.” “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” And, as Charlie’s younger sister reads him her “endless” gift list for Santa, she says: “And if that’s too complicated, just send money: preferably, tens and twenties.” (Charlie moans; and his sister says, earnestly) “All I want is my fair share.” THAT’S my favorite line. And for those few of you who are seeing it for the first time: don’t worry. Everything turns out OK.

XmasCarol

A Christmas Carol. Yes, I know there have been many versions of this film. Starring, as Ebenezer Scrooge, Alistair Sim, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Albert Finney, and many others. My favorite stars George C. Scott as Scrooge. Scott is perfect: from a money grubbing b__________, then questioning, worried he’s waited too long, to a believer: “I’ll believe in all 3 Christmases –the past, the present, and the future. I swear it on my soul, Jacob Marley.” He’s a better Scrooge than he was as Patton –and that’s saying something. The location filming –in a town the same age as the story itself – and cast are marvelous. Remember: Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present; David Warner as Bob Cratchit; Susannah York as Mrs. Cratchit; Roger Rees as Fred; and, as Jacob Marly: Frank Finlay –who would scare anyone into believing anything. Glorious.

 

XmasStory

A Christmas Story. Written by NYC’s Jean Shepard, who has a cameo in the film (He says: (To Ralphie) “The line starts back there.”) Yes, Ralphie and all the kids—good and bad, Ralphie’s Mom (Melinda Dillon, the wife in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Dad (Darren McGavin, check his bio on www.Imdb.com), and grown up Ralphie (check his bio AND picture today in Imdb) –everybody is fantastic. Were your Christmas’ like this? If you have not seen it, do yourself a favor: watch it this year!

Miracle34St

Miracle on 34th Street. This is the film that, legally, answers the question once and for all: Is there a Santa Claus?   No smoke and mirrors, no magic trick, yes or no. You will like the answer and the way the story unfolds. Acting is fine and the black and white film won’t take away from your enjoyment. Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance. You will enjoy it, too –even if you could not see it when it was first presented for your viewing pleasure in 1947.

XmasinWales

A Child’s Christmas in Wales. This may be hard to find. It was a TV movie (1987) based on the Dylan Thomas poem of the same name. Perhaps a local theater company may put on a production. The story: A family is celebrating Christmas and the young boy doesn’t want to go to sleep. He listens to his Grandfather tell of his Christmas’ of long ago. The Grandfather is planned by English actor, Denholm Elliott (A Room with a View), who is magnificent. A true family movie that will warm your heart and leave a happy tear in your eye. Give it a try. It’s worth your time.

Love Actually

Love Actually. This film is loved or avoided by everybody. The bottom line (IMO): A wonderful Rom-Com well written with a fantastic cast. Worth seeing if only to figure out which group you fall into or watch what seems like every English actor you’ve ever heard, and some you haven’t. Laugh with Bill Nighy (Billy Mack) or cry with Emma Thompson, enjoy the relationship of Colin Firth and Sienna Guillory (you do not know her, but you will remember her), and ask yourself: is that what happens when an X-rated film is made by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit –all 3, and Dr. Watson to Cumberbatch’s Holmes) and Heike Makatsch (try to remember her face). Fine writing and good acting with Christmas as a background for many stories.

 

 

Try any of my suggestions if you are still uncertain if you will like any of these productions. You might find a new Christmas pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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