December 21, 2015

What's on TV: Thursday, December 24, 1964

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was the big night. That was when family came over; that was when we did our tree, after a dinner that usually included the traditional (to some) oyster soup; that was when I opened an obscene number of presents*, after which I would retire to my room with the early favorites and zoom around while the adults opened theirs. The television was on if there was Christmas programming, which was how I somehow missed the famous Apollo 8 Christmas Eve broadcast, although as I think about it now I seem to recall I simply forgot it was on, and was disgusted with myself afterwards. Then, when I'd grown a bit older, I would watch one of the various Christmas Eve church broadcasts, usually the Catholic one although I was still some years away from my own conversion. The next day, Christmas, was something of an anti-climax; after my presents from Santa, there was generally not much going on - maybe the kitchen radio would broadcast Christmas music, or I'd watch the Christmas service from Washington, D.C. on NBC, which usually included a wonderful choral program.

*I was not spoiled; I was simply the only child of the only child in the family to have children, and thus was the object of much gift-giving from family members who enjoyed giving presents to a small child. (These were the family presents, not the Santa presents I'd get the next morning.) Who was I to ruin their fun? I was actually being thoughtful and gracious.

Yes, Christmas Eve was a special day, and the anticipation itself would often make me so excited that I'd be unable to sleep the night before; once I even worked myself into being sick to my stomach. But in much the same way that certain combinations automatically exude a meaning - December 7, for example, or November 22, or your own birthday - December 24 produced an almost Pavlovian response in me.  Therefore, it should be no surprise that this is the day I've turned to for this week's listings. And while the number of specifically Christmas-related shows is down from even a couple of years before, it's still a treasure house of lore and tradition.  Our listings are, once again, from the Twin Cities edition.



KTCA, Channel 2 (Educ.)

Afternoon

05:30p
Kindergarten

Evening

06:00p
Boys’ Choir (Church of the Holy Childhood) (special)

06:30p
Twin City Bach Society

07:30p
College of St. Teresa (special)

08:00p
Child’s Christmas in Utah

08:30p
Private College Concerts

09:00p
Professions

09:30p
Town and Country

10:00p
Brigham Young University

I can vouch for the quality of the music program at the Church of the Holy Childhood in St. Paul; although it was not our regular parish, we went to it several times a year when my wife and I lived in Minneapolis, usually when they were having a special Mass. The founding music director at Childhood was Richard Proulx, one of the legendary names in 20th Century Catholic music, and one of the best in a time when modern Catholic music is anything but good. In later years, continuing into the 21st Century, KTCA would broadcast almost exclusively Christmas programming on Christmas Eve, mostly musical programs. Perhaps they still do.
  

WCCO, Channel 4 (CBS)

Morning


06:30a
Sunrise Semester

07:00a
Clancy and Axel

08:00a
Captain Kangaroo

09:00a
News (Dean Montgomery)

09:15a
What’s New?

09:25a
Dr. Reuben K. Youngdahl

09:30a
I Love Lucy

10:00a
Andy Griffith

10:30a
The McCoys

11:00a
Love of Life

11:25a
CBS News (Robert Trout)

11:30a
Search for Tomorrow

11:45a
The Guiding Light

Afternoon


12:00p
News (Dean Montgomery)

12:15p
Something Special

12:25p
Weather (Bud Kraehling)

12:30p
As the World Turns

01:00p
Password

01:30p
House Party (guests George Gobel, Carroll Baker)

02:00p
To Tell the Truth (guests Jan Murray, Phyllis Newman, Darren McGavin, Shelley Winters)

02:25p
CBS News (Douglas Edwards)

02:30p
The Edge of Night

03:00p
The Secret Storm

03:30p
Jack Benny

04:00p
Around the Town (guests the Lutheran Brotherhood choir)

04:30p
Axel and Deputy Dawg

05:00p
Clancy and Company

05:30p
CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

Evening


06:00p
News (Dave Moore)

06:15p
Sports (Don Dahl)

06:20p
Direction

06:25p
Weather (Don O’Brien)

06:30p
The Munsters

07:00p
Perry Mason

08:00p
Password (guests Arthur Godfrey, Monique Van Vooren)

08:30p
The Baileys of Balboa

09:00p
The Defenders

10:00p
News (Dave Moore)

10:10p
Weather (Bud Kraehling)

10:20p
Sports (Hal Scott)

10:30p
The Sounds of Christmas (special)

11:00p
Church Service (Protestant; St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, New York) (special)

12:00a
Mora High School Choir (special)

12:30a
Great Lakes Choir (special)

01:00a
News (local)

I think it's worth mentioning that The Sounds of Christmas program at 10:30pm is hosted by none other than Baroness Maria Von Trapp, immortalized in The Sound of Music and played by Mary Martin on Broadway, Julie Andrews in the movie (which would come out early the following year). The program comes from the Trapp family lodge in Stowe, Vermont, and it's followed by the lone non-Catholic church service, and then music from a local high school first, followed by the choir from the Great Lakes Naval Station.

It's amusing that tonight's episode of Perry Mason is a rerun that has nothing to do with Christmas, but I suppose the programmers thought it would be a good one to air tonight, since it deals with Perry and Della finding an abandoned baby on Perry's desk.


KSTP, Channel 5 (NBC)

Morning


06:30a
City and Country

07:00a
Today

09:00a
Make Room for Daddy

09:30a
What’s This Song? (guests Doug McClure, Connie Hines) (color)

09:55a
NBC News (Edwin Newman)

10:00a
Concentration

10:30a
Jeopardy (color)

11:00a
Say When! (color)

11:30a
Truth or Consequences (color)

11:55a
NBC News (Ray Scherer)

Afternoon


12:00p
News (John MacDougall) (color)

12:15p
Weather (Johnny Morris (color)

12:20p
Dialing for Dollars (guest the Crosier Choristers) (color)

12:30p
Let’s Make a Deal (color)

12:55p
NBC News (Floyd Kalber)

01:00p
Loretta Young

01:30p
The Doctors

02:00p
Another World

02:30p
You Don’t Say! (guests John Astin, Carolyn Jones) (color)

03:00p
The Match Game (guests Y.A. Tittle, Peggy Cass) 

03:25p
NBC News

03:30p
Dialing for Dollars (color)

04:30p
Lloyd Thaxton (guest Tommy Quickly)

05:25p
Doctor’s House Call

05:30p
The Huntley-Brinkley Report

Evening


06:00p
News (Bob Ryan) (color)

06:15p
Weather (Johnny Morris) (color)

06:25p
Sports (Al Tighe) (color)

06:30p
Daniel Boone

07:30p
Dr. Kildare

08:30p
Hazel (color)

09:00p
Kraft Suspense Theatre

10:00p
News (John MacDougall) (color)

10:10p
Weather (Johnny Morris) (color)

10:20p
Sports (Al Tighe) (color)

10:30p
Christmas Card (guests Sammy Davis Jr., Norman Luboff Choir, Garry Graffman, Jan McArt, Joe Klein) (special) (color) (joined in progress)

11:00p
Church Service (Catholic; St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York) (special)

12:45a
Movie – “The House of the Seven Gables”

Both Dr. Kildare and Hazel offer Christmas episodes tonight; Kildare deals with a cynical man who believes he's dying, while the nurses practice Christmas carols (today, they'd probably all be arrested for singing religious works in a hospital that receives government funding); in the meantime, Hazel's employer, George, gets fed up with the commercialism of the holiday and decides to ban the gift exchange. Today, the scriptwriter would probably be arrested for offending the advertisers.

At 11, following the music program that replaces Carson, NBC covers the Midnight Mass from St. Patrick's in New York City, a Christmas Eve tradition prior to the advent (no pun intended) of the Midnight Mass from the Vatican. As is generally the case with these broadcasts, the famous Francis Cardinal Spellman will deliver a Christmas message. Ominously, this Mass includes the new liturgy that the Second Vatican Council supposedly mandated, in which "some of the Mass sung in English, some in Latin."


KMSP, Channel 9 (ABC)

Morning


07:45a
Breakfast with Grandpa Ken

08:30a
Romper Room (Miss Betty)

09:30a
The Price Is Right (guest Eileen Farrell)

10:00a
Get the Message (guests Arlene Francis, Barbara Cook, Mary Ingels, Douglas Fairbanks)

10:30a
Missing Links (panelists Nipsey Russell, Phyllis Kirk, Sam Levenson)

11:00a
Father Knows Best

11:30a
Ernie Ford (guest Mel Tormé)

Afternoon


12:00p
Top Cat

12:30p
The People’s Choice

01:00p
Lois Leppart

01:30p
Day in Court

01:55p
ABC News (Marlene Sanders)

02:00p
General Hospital

02:30p
Young Marrieds

03:00p
Trailmaster

04:00p
A Date With Dino

05:00p
ABC Evening Report (Ron Cochran)

05:15p
News and Weather (local)

05:30p
Leave it to Beaver

Evening


06:00p
Dobie Gillis

06:30p
The Flintstones (color)

07:00p
Donna Reed

07:30p
My Three Sons

08:00p
Bewitched

08:30p
Peyton Place

09:00p
Jimmy Dean (guests Jerry Vale, Porter Wagoner, the Qunito Sisters)

10:00p
News (Bill Fahen)

10:10p
Weather (Jerry Smith)

10:20p
Sports (Tony Parker)

10:30p
Movie – “Mother is a Freshman”

12:00a
Church Service (Catholic; Bishop Fulton J. Sheen at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.) (special)

Speaking of Cardinal Spellman as we just were, the reason Bishop Sheen is celebrating Mass in Washington, D.C. instead of his home archdiocese in New York is that Spellman, his bitter enemy and adversary, has banned the good Bishop from televised Masses in New York. It's an ugly side of the often ugly politics that has plagued the Church in one way or another for centuries.

Elsewhere, The Flintstones offers a happy Christmas episode in which Fred serves as a department store Santa - this despite the fact that Christmas, in the form of Christ, has yet to occur. It's B.C., folks, remember? Bewitched also acknowledges the Yuletide season, as Darrin I and Sam take in an orphan who believes in neither Santa nor Christmas. Unfortunately, that would be pretty much par for the course today. 


WTCN, Channel 11 (Ind.)

Morning


10:15a
Hank Meadows

10:30a
Movie – “Ruggles of Red Gap”

11:45a
Party Fare

11:55a
News (Dick Ford)

Afternoon


12:00p
Lunch With Casey

12:45p
The King and Odie

01:00p
Movie – “Alice in Wonderland”

03:00p
Bachelor Father

03:30p
Dave Lee and Pete

04:30p
Superman

05:00p
Casey and Roundhouse

05:45p
Rocky and His Friends

Evening


06:00p
The Rifleman

06:30p
Bold Journey

07:00p
Adventure Theater

07:30p
Movie – “Battle Stations”

09:00p
Wanted – Dead or Alive

09:30p
News (Dick Ford)

09:45p
Weather (Stuart A. Lindman)

09:50p
Sports (Buetel, Horner)

10:00p
Movie – “Hail the Conquering Hero”

12:00a
Amos ‘n’ Andy (time approximate)

I'm a little surprised Channel 11 doesn't have more Christmas programming on tonight, but I'd suspect the local children's shows hosted by Casey and Pete have a heavily festive atmosphere to them. The Amos 'n' Andy episode at midnight, however, is a classic, as "Andy takes his goddaughter Arabella shopping before Christmas."

***

By the way, have you noticed the link on the sidebar to the "25 Days of Ad-vent"? Over at In Other Words, we've been counting down to Christmas with some great vintage ads from Christmases past. click on the link to check them out!

3 comments:

  1. Get the Message and Missing Links both aired their series finales a day later, on Christmas Day. Here are links to parts or all of them:

    Get the Message (This was an All-Star game in which all the contestants playing with the celebrities were themselves celebrities playing for charity.): It was Marty Ingels, not Mary Ingels playing this day, though Mary Ingalls could've been interesting. ;)
    I love the Dixieland jazz theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIZTXFJQ9Do

    Missing Links: This was one of the few Goodson-Todman game shows not archived, at least publicly. It aired originally on NBC (in Living Color) from 9/9/63 to 3/27/64, then NBC cancelled it and replaced it with Jeopardy! hosted by Art Fleming. ABC took Missing Links, running it in B&W in the same timeslot as NBC (against Jeopardy!), 3/30/64 until Christmas Day. Here's the first minute of the last episode, including the celebrity introductions and sponsor mentions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHTjxqKvWrU

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think it was until both (1) the advent of trans-Atlantic satellite transmission, and, (2) Italy getting color TV that NBC broadcast (on tape) the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass from the Vatican.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - I'm going out on a limb here, or perhaps commenting without a net, but my aging memory tells me that it was 1974 or 1975, around the time of the Jubilee Year, when the Mass from the Vatican was first broadcast, at least on NBC.

      Delete

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