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Hello friends,

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great new year.  Hard to believe that the Christmas season is over (except for our Orthodox friends).  Wrapping things up for another year here on the old blog.  Hope you enjoyed some of the treasures I've found.

So, until next year.....Merry Christmas


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Merry Christmas everyone!

Thought I would start the day by bringing you my favorite Christmas Carol.  Do You Hear What I Hear was inspired by the events during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The Husband and wife team of Gloria Shayne Baker and Noel Regney wrote the song and the Harry Simeone Chorale were the first to record it in October of 1962.  But the next year, Bing Crosby recorded a version on November 22, 1963 - the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Bing has been synonymous with the song ever since.

This song truly expresses what Christmas is really about.

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Beginning in November of 1969, The Children's Television Workshop began producing the show on PBS.  It featured Actors and kids along with Jim Henson's muppets (Jim is a Mississippi native like me) and was a general education show that tackled reading, arithmetic, language, culture, music and social interaction.

In 1978, PBS produced a primetime Holiday special that featured the cast on Christmas Eve.

Here is part one of the program (all parts are available on Youtube)

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Here is a clip of an Osmond family Christmas special featuring Mr. Andy Williams sometime in the early to mid '70s which is when I came on the scene, Ha.

Enjoy!

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I have a new poll for this year.

Do you prefer Traditional or Modern Christmas music?  Now, I suppose we should define that by traditional, I mean everything from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Bing Crosby.  And by modern, I mean everything from Mannheim Steamroller to Brittany Spears.

I almost bet I know what the answer is going to be, but we have many international visitors to this site and I am anxious to hear their thoughts as well.

So Vote!

Results to be posted on Dec. 16th.

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Here is everyone's favorite Cat and Mouse team as they celebrate the holidays in their usual manner - at WAR.

This MGM short was created by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera who brought us such characters as The Flinstones and The Jetsons.

This short is titled The Night Before Christmas.
Enjoy!

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Paramount  acquired Fleischer studios in 1941 and in 1943 began producing the Popeye series in Technicolor.

There were three Christmas episodes from the Popeye series and here is a great one.

From 1955, here is Mister and Mistletoe


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Here is a rarely remembered cartoon.  In 1979, NBC broadcasted an animated Little Rascals cartoon during the Christmas season.  I only saw it once and never knew if anyone remembered it.  But, I've found it.

It's hardly a "classic", but it's funny enough that I thought I would put it up anyways. Here's a promo for it

Enjoy!

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Today is November 11th, the day we honor our Military Veterans.  So to honor them, here is a rendition of White Christmas sung on a front line in Europe during WWII......

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MGM pictures have always been a bit saccharine.  It was Louis B. Mayer's intention to make "feel good" movies for the public to take them away from the problems in the everyday world.  Their 1938 production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is no different.  Starring Sir Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart, this film is a sort of compact, Christmas card version of the famed story.  But, it is fun to watch and has plenty of Christmas spirit.

Here is an MGM promo featuring Lionel Barrymore for your viewing pleasure.


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Well, it's already November and the leaves are turning.  Soon, it'll be time for Turkey and the Macy's parade.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, here's a cartoon from MGM

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I updated the video on the Andy Williams Show post to a much better one.  I think you'll like it.
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Before we get started, I'd just like to thank my international visitors for coming to this site.  I hope it gives a glimpse of how we celebrate Christmas in America and we would love to hear how you celebrate in your perspective countries.

Happy Days is as a part of American culture as apple pie and the Christmas episode from 1974 is a great one.  In the early days of Fonzie's relationship with the Cunningham family, they are just beginning to get to know the Fonz.  It's Christmas Eve and Mr. C and Richie have had car trouble with the DeSoto.  Fonzie fixes the problem for free as a Christmas present.  It is then that Howard and Richie realize that Fonzie will be all alone for Christmas.

Here is a shortened version of that episode, Enjoy!



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This is one of my favorites.  The Andy Griffith show with Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.  In this episode, Ben Weaver has a local man hauled in for moonshining.  After Andy, Barney and the gang bring Christmas into the jailhouse for the family, Ben begins to long for Christmas himself and does whatever he can to get thrown in jail so he can participate in the Christmas he knew long ago.

Here is part  of that show



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After Jack Benny left radio he moved right into the new medium of television.  The Jack Benny Show ran from October of 1950 to September of 1964.  Here is a clip from the Christmas show featuring Mel Blanc in one of Jack's greatest holiday bits.

Enjoy!

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One thing we all looked forward to every year was the Christmas episode of our favorite TV shows.  From my childhood, it was everything from M*A*S*H to Diff'rent Strokes.  When you watch these now, Christmas wasn't callous or considered "cheesy" but was given the treatment it deserved.

Below is a mini-sode of The Jeffersons.  I'll be posting different Christmas episodes from time to time in the future.  Enjoy!

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Originally called the Santa Claus Lane parade, The Hollywood Christmas parade takes place on the weekend after Thanksgiving in Hollywood, California.  The parade began in 1928 as a way to boost shopping during the holiday season and was created by the chamber of commerce.

In 1946, Gene Autry rode his horse down the parade route and was so inspired by all of the children yelling "Here comes Santa Claus" that it inspired him to write the now famous song.

By 1978, the parade was broadcast in KTLA-TV and had attracted many celebrities.  In 2004, NBC tried to present it as a primetime special which proved disastrous.   By 2008, the chamber of commerce cancelled showing the parade on all Tribune owned stations (such as WGN in Chicago) due to losses of $100,000.

The parade also ended up being cancelled and a new parade called the Hollywood Santa Parade was initiated.

It was announced that  MyNetworkTV would telecast the 2009 parade.  It's a shame that the original parade had come to this.

Here is a promo for the 1987 parade that featured Jimmy Stewart as the Grand Marshall.

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I love Christmas commercials.  More than specials or movies they are a window into Christmas past like nothing else.  They bring to mind memories long forgotten of a time gone by. The Norelco commercials are no different and here is I believe the original.

*Below it are two more, one made in the 1970's and the other from 1994.

I hope you enjoy it!





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Born Pierino Ronald Como in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Perry Como is a well-loved Italian-American crooner with a string of hits in the 40's and 50's.

Perry joined a list of crooners who became synonymous with Christmas such as Bing Crosby and Andy Williams.  In a way, Perry and Andy share a sort of commonality in that they both discovered musical acts and had them on their show.  In Perry's case, he very much liked Richard and Karen Carpenter.  In fact, on their album "Christmas Portrait", Richard and Karen did a version of "Christ is Born", a staple of Perry's christmas carols.

Perry's last special was taped in Ireland in 1994 and titled "Perry Como's Irish Christmas".

Here is a sample of Perry singing "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas"

Enjoy!

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It may not be considered by some to be a classic, but I believe The Fat Albert Christmas Special deserves to be put up with the rest.

First airing on December 18, 1977, the show features Fat Albert and the gang as they try to keep a stingy old land owner from tearing down their clubhouse and help a stranded family who is about to have a baby and whose youngest son, Marshall, has run away believing he is unloved.

This is a pretty good special and has a lot of Christmas cheer.

Enjoy!


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Pop singer Eddie Fisher, whose clear voice brought him a devoted following of teenage girls in the early 1950's before marriage scandals over-shadowed his fame, has died at age 82.

Click here to read more
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Here, Dick Van Dyke does an ad for Kodak Instamatic Camera.  This was way before digital photography but was popular because of the easy loading of film.  My mom had one of these when I was a kid and it lasted forever.

Enjoy!

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This was part of a series of specials Judy did for CBS television.

This particular special features Jack Jones and Mel Torme'. It also features Judy's children - Liza Minelli and Lorna and Joseph Luft. This is pretty cool business as it was I think broadcast live.

Here is the opener to that special with all of it's pomp and circumstance.




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In 1976, Rankin/Bass made a sequel to The Little Drummer Boy. They subtitled it "Book II" in a biblical style reference.

The story follows Aaron right after the birth of Christ as he helps one of the wise men, Melchior, recover silver bells that were cast to ring at the birth of the Messiah. The bells were stolen by greedy Roman soldiers.

This is a very good sequel and it features a version of the 1963 Bing Crosby Christmas song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?".

Here is a number from the show



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Rankin/Bass were never a group to shy away from the true meaning of Christmas. They tried to present it in a way to kids that would not confuse them, but show that even someone like Santa Claus had a reason beyond himself for doing what he does.

One such special is Nestor, The Long-eared Christmas donkey. Taking from the same type of story as rudolph, this is the tale of a donkey named Nestor who has a physical "deformity" - Long Ears. It's a story that teaches children that just because someone is different doesn't mean you should make fun of them or that they are not important. In the end, Nestor serves a great purpose to mankind and takes his place in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

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Billie May Richards, the voice of Rankin Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has passed away in her sleep at the age of 89. Click here for the rest of the story.

Thanks to
Matthew for the heads up on this story. She will be missed in our world.
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This blog is mostly about the television/movie medium at Christmas time, but I wanted to share a few musical treasures that you should look into getting this year.

First on the list:

The Many Moods of Christmas featuring The Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra. This is a great classical take on Christmas. Recorded in 1963 for RCA/Victor records.








Merry Christmas Johnny Mathis

This is a great album. Johnny's voice is incredible and romantic and the arrangements lend themselves to Christmas in a truly magical way. From his rendition of A Christmas Song to Oh Holy Night, this is a must for any Christmas Music collection.






















Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer featuring Burl Ives

Now, aside from a great cartoon special, this show features some great music featuring the great Burl Ives. All of the songs are featured in this album and there are some great instrumental pieces that were featured as well along with some
new ones. This is nostalgia at it's best.





















Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Christmas Album

This is a great album. The boys at A&M records didn't try to make a junk album. This record captures the magic of Christmas with the funky late sixties jazz stylings of Herb and his band. If you don't have this one, get to Amazon or find a thrift store now.




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Thought I would share this with you.

Most of us have used internet radio like Pandora, etc. I use slacker. I like it better because it's easier to create a station. They have premade stations and they have a lot of holiday channels. My favorite of course is holiday classics and this is available year round.

Check it out and see at www.slacker.com
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Had to share this.

Many of you may be from the Boston area while many of us are not.

All of us are familiar with the holiday tunes presented by the Boston Pops Orchestra and late conductor Arthur Fiedler. Every year, the Orchestra puts on Holiday at Pops and it features great musical guests. This concert is broadcast on local television and at one time was simulcast on A&E.

Sadly, A&E no longer carries the concert. But, here is a little clip featuring John Williams as conductor playing the Pops signature Christmas piece.




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Holiday Inn is a film based on composer Irving Berlin's idea of an Inn that only opened on holidays. Berlin signed an exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures to write songs expressly for that project.

The film stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire with support from Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale. The film tells the story of one Jim Hardy and his crazy but successful idea to run an Inn that only opened for the Holidays. After meeting and hiring Linda Mason (Reynolds), he falls in love with her only to lose her for a time to his former partner Ted Hanover (Astaire).

The film has songs for most of the major holidays including Easter, Valentine's day and even the 4th of July.

It was believed that the big number for the film would be "Be Careful, It's my Heart" but "White Christmas" became a smash hit. That became the most difficult song for Irving Berlin to compose. He had first composed the tune in 1935 on the set of the film Top Hat. He had thought he would use the music for a future Astaire/Rogers film. He hummed the tune for Fred Astaire and director Mark Sandrich but Sandrich passed on the tune.

Later, the song was used to create a psuedo-sequel, White Christmas starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

Here is an excerpt featuring Crosby singing the perennial hit to Marjorie Reynolds.

Enjoy!



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Now that Summer is almost here, I felt it was time for me to start up the blog again. I thought I might start off a little light considering the kids are still in school for another week or two.

How about some Christmas commercials?

Here's one from 7up.




And another from McDonald's




Please support Susan's blog at Christmas Forever Favorites. She has a wonderful site dedicated to classic christmas albums and has been going through alot with her blog due to internet trolls causing trouble. Encourage her to continue her fantastic blog that gives us all joy.
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