December 23, 2022

Around the dial

I've used this photo before at this time of the year; it's not me, but it could have been: cat, TV, Christmas cards, presents. What more could you ask for? Anyway, I think it's just a great picture. 

Let's stay on that Christmas theme for a bit, starting with this look at Comet Over Hollywood at 75 years and five versions of Miracle on 34th Street, which includes the rare fifth version that stars Ed Wynn as Kris. I knew about that one, but I'd really like to see it someday.

At The Epoch Times, Jeffrey Tucker writes about the lessons we can learn from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I think there's a temptation to read articles like this tongue-in-cheek, but not this one: his conclusion is very serious, especially considering the times we live in today.

You'll recall that last week I wrote an article on the many things that are wrong with "holiday" movies on networks like Hallmark, Netflix and the like. This week, The Babylon Bee comes up with the natural headline: Hallmark Researchers Close to Developing a Second Movie Plot.

Meanwhile, over at Comfort TV, David looks back at That Girl's first Christmas episode, and how his opinion of it has changed upon second viewing. Sometimes things don't always turn out the way you planned, and that's a rare message for TV at Christmastime.

At Garroway at Large, Jodie reminds us of Dave Garroway's appearance as Santa Claus in the 1954 and 1955 productions of Babes in Toyland, as well as a link to the 1954 broadcast. We watched this last week, and it's absolutely charming; Dave is exactly what you'd expect as Santa. Well worth it!

And Silver Scenes has a look at another Christmas special we've got, although we didn't watch it this year (we like to rotate the Bing Crosby specials, since there are so many of them)—Mary Costa singing the Ukranian Carol on Bing's 1970 show, which also features Robert Goulet, as well as the Crosby clan. 

TV Guides from the mid-70s often referred to Boris Karloff Presents Thriller, which always puzzled me, there being only one version of a show called Thriller that I was aware of, until I learned about the British show of the same name. Today at Cult TV Blog, John talks about that version, and the episode "Kill Two Birds." 

For those of you already looking forward to the New Year's weekend, Shadow & Substance has the lowdown on Syfy's Twilight Zone marathon. It's hard for me to watch the edited versions, especially when I have it on DVD, but if you turn over for a few minutes, you might be there for a couple of hours.

Diane McBain, who was one of the last stars from the golden age of WB detective shows in the late-50s and early-60s, died this week at age 81. She was always enjoyable on these shows; she was criminally underutilized on Surfside 6, but I've complained about that before. I'll be we'll be seeing some tributes to her on the blogosphere over the next couple of weeks.

Finally, congratulations to Aurora on the 11th anniversary of Once Upon a Screen. Here's hoping to many more!

For those of you who may not be checking in here until after the weekend, be safe if you're facing the heavy weather as we are here in Indiana, and my wishes for a very Merry Christmas! TV  


  1. Off-topic, maybe, but I just thought I'd mention it:

    Today (Friday), through the good graces of Amazon, I took delivery on my Christmas gift to myself : The Adventures Of The Puzzle Club, by Ellery Queen and Josh Pachter, published by Crippen & Landru of Cincinnati.
    This newest addition to my EQ shelf is the latest tribute to Fred Dannay and Manny Lee, compiled by Josh Pachter, who got his start writing for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1968, at the age of 17 - and whose work as writer of his own stories and translator of stories from all over Europe continues to the present day.
    Josh Pachter has also edited many collections of mysteries, covering a wide range of story matter, which he capped a few years ago with The Misadventures Of Ellery Queen, his tribute to his mentor in the field; he followed this up with The Misadventures Of Nero Wolfe and The Further Adventures Of EQ.
    This collection consists of five stories written by Dannay and Lee in the later days of their collaboration, about The Puzzle Club - well-read friends who get together to solve puzzle-mysteries.
    Dannay and Lee only did five stiries in this sey before Manny Lee died in 1971; that was when Fred Dannay decided to stop writing about Ellery Queen (although he didn't discourage pastiches and parodies from others, like Josh Pachter).
    Fast-forward to 2019, when Josh Pachter got permission from the Dannay and Lee estates to do new Puzzle Club stories - no more than five, to balance off the five by Fred and Manny.
    When the Misadventures books met with some success, Josh arranged to collect all the Puzzle Club stories into a single volume; to bring it all up to a full book, Josh recruited some friends of the EQniverse to provide introductions for the various stories - tributes to Ellery (and to Fred and Manny) and their world.
    As a capper, Josh has included the stories he wrote as a teenager, which got him started at EQMM, plus a sequel he wrote fifty years later to "close the circle", so to speak.
    This new volume is the Ultimate Ellery Queen Tribute - at least as of now.
    So if you haven't ordered it already (and I'll make the guess you probably already have) - well, why wait?
    Here in Chicagoland, the weekend is already flash-frozen (I almost wrote "shot to hell", but that's the wrong image, isn't it?) so The Puzzle Club arrived just in time for me; may you be as lucky with your order.

    ... And as long as I'm here, Merry Christmas!

    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Mike! That sounds like a very fun set to have. I don't say it often enough, but I always appreciate the tips you send over!

  2. Merry Christmas Mitchell and to all your readers :)

    And stay warm and safe over there! That icy blast looks brutal.

    Andrew (in t-shirt and trying to keep cool!)

    1. Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you, Andrew! It was very cold and windy, and kind of snowy (but not as much as they'd forecast), but as a veteran of many harsh winters in Minnesota we were able to scoff at it. And stay indoors as much as possible!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!