December 5, 2014

Christmas invades Around the Dial - and more!

All right, all right, I know I'm a day late with this (and perhaps a dollar short as well, but that's for another day); better late than never though, right?  Besides, it just means we have even more to catch up with today, right?  Let's dip into a week with a definite Christmas theme!

I didn't see last night's live version of Peter Pan on NBC, but I doubt it would have compared to the classic Mary Martin production that NBC aired in the 1950s and '60s.  At Classic Film and TV Cafe, Rick has a fond retrospective of those Mary Martin versions, as well as some more recent attempts to capture the magic of that strange, wonderful story.  Although I must have seen the 1966 telecast, it's the 1973 version that I first remember, and the 1989 one that I captured on DVD.  (There's also a very good comprehensive look at the genesis of the original musical, from it's Broadway days to television, here.)

You probably aren't surprised to find that I have difficulty getting interested in more modern Christmas movies; my heart, after all, is with my own memories, which tend to be significantly different from contemporary ones, but Joanna at Christmas TV History covers a very unusual and often moving documentary from this year on men who play Santa Claus, and the effect it has on them.  It reminds me of the British Christmas special The Curious Case of Santa Claus, featuring Jon Pertwee as a psychiatrist and James Coco as the Santa who insists he's the real thing.  You should watch it when you get a chance.

Cult TV Blog is back with a look at the Avengers episode "Esprit de Corps," from the Mrs. Gale era of the show.  He correctly points out the negatives as well as positives of this episode, and why when all is said and done it's still vintage Avengers.  We finished our Avengers top-to-bottom viewing a year or two ago (it was a Friday night staple, since replaced by The Saint), but it's probably due for a revival next year.

I've mentioned some of my favorite Christmas shows from time to time, but I don't know if I've ever given a comprehensive list of the programs in the Hadley DVD collection.  (Note to self: idea for future post.)  Comfort TV's David has a great list of classic Christmas-themed episodes of popular shows, and since mine tend to be of the movie/variety show ilk, it also gives me something to add to my own viewing.  Thanks!

I'm old enough to remember the American Football League; hence, I'm also old enough to remember when there were not two, not three, but four pro games on Thanksgiving Day.  Ah, those were the days!  You don't read about them much, though, which at times makes me wonder if I remember them correctly.  Thankfully, Jeff at Classic TV Sports is here to remind me that I was right, with this review of Thanksgiving football of the late '60s.

This week's TV Guide review at Television Obscurities will be up later on, so be sure to go and read it.  In the meantime, there is this story on CBS' upcoming broadcast on Sunday of two colorized I Love Lucy classic episodes, including a repeat of the Christmas special.  I'm of two minds about colorization; I think it's criminal in the case of movies and shows that made the cinematography an integral part of the story's atmospherics (think film noir), but there are cases (Holiday Inn, for instance) where I'm sure it wold have been made in color were that the norm for the time.  (Speaking of which, Terry Teachout has an interesting piece on the colorization of old photos here.)

Whew - that should give you enough to mull on until tomorrow, when your scribe is back with another TV Guide from the mid '60s, featuring a couple of Christmas classics.  Be here!

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