Well, seems that I have more time on my hands. Sears still hasn’t shown up and it’s 2 o’clock. Guess we’ll spend another popcorn deprived night in front of the tv.
Last night we watched “Rudolph” newly remastered and supposedly in HD though the screen was still 4:3 instead of 16:9. It isn’t my favorite of the Christmas stop-action shows but it got me to thinking about my favorite Christmas shows of all time. This will include movies and tv specials.
10: The Homecoming: The Waltons
9: Charlie Brown Christmas
This one makes me feel like a kid again. The music by Vince Guaraldi helps make this special special. Hearing the kids sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” probably wouldn’t make the cut with politically correct producers of today, and everytime the kids wish Charlie Brown “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” I get a lump in my throat.
8: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The old animated version, not the one with Jim Carrey. Who doesn’t feel chill bumps when the Grinch’s heart grows? And is Sally Who the cutest little animated girl you’ve ever seen?
7: The Night They Saved Christmas
This was a made-for-tv movie from 1995 starring Jaclyn Smith and Art Carney and has Paul Williams cast as Santa’s head elf. A worker for an oil company drilling near the North Pole stumbles across Santa’s workshop. This is one of those movies that explains how Santa is able to deliver toys to the billions of children each year. You may have trouble finding it on tv though, seems the networks have forgotten about it. It’s worth watching just to see Jaclyn Smith in a snow suit.
Not a Christmas movie but the beginning and end are set at Christmas time and there’s Central Park and snow. One of my favorite movies and gets into the list for Christmas. The soundtrack is super with Louis Armstrong and Cool Yule and Nick Drake with Northern Sky.
7: A Christmas Story
A few years ago this would have been in my top-3, but I’m suffering from a “Ralphie overdose”. This movie is on nearly every night starting Thanksgiving. I plan to watch it at least once but because it’s on so much, I keep putting it off, knowing I can watch it anytime.
6: The Santa Clause
I like this one because it does a great job explaining the unexplainable. I like Tim Allen and he nails the character of a regular Joe who accidentally kills Santa and is forced to take his place. Funny, funny, funny.
5: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
This is the one with the young red-headed Kris Kringle and his stunningly pretty red-haired girlfriend who becomes Mrs. Kris Kringle. Fred Astaire is the narrator and Burgermeister who says “I hate toys. And toys Hate me! Either they are going or I am going and I definitely am not going.”
4: The Year Without A Santa Claus
This is my favorite of the animated specials. It’s the one with Heat Miser and Snow Miser and Mother Nature. I was 10 years old when this one came out in 1974 and I don’t think I’ve missed it.
3: Family Man
I saw this for the first time last weekend. Nick Cage plays a money-hungry man who left his girlfriend years ago to pursue a career. On Christmas eve he’s visited by an angel who shows him what his life would have been like if he had chosen her over his career. Kind of a modern version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Tea Leoni is terrific as his girlfriend/wife. I’ll watch this again, maybe this season.
2: Miracle on 34th Street
I like both versions, the one from 1947 with Natalie Wood and the updated version from 1994 with Mara Wilson and Elizabeth Perkins. I hate to say it, but I sort of favor the ’94 version. And if you don’t get a tear in your eye or a lump in your throat when they dump out all of those letters to Santa, you’re probably not going to think much of my #1 Christmas movie of all time….
1: It’s A Wonderful Life
No great competition for this spot. Perhaps the second greatest movie character of all time (behind Atticus Finch), George Bailey learns “No man is a failure who has friends.” Who can forget the image of George and Mary listening to Sam Wainright over the telephone and realizing they were really in love with each other? I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about the final scene in which all of George’s friends come to bail him out with gifts of cash.
And bonus points for this movie for being the inspiration behind the names for Ernie and Bert on Sesame Street. One of the best movies of all time and certainly #1 for Christmas.
narrowly missing the list: “When Harry Met Sally”, it isn’t a Christmas movie but it has a Christmas scene and the end takes place on New Year’s Eve. “Dick Van Dyke’s Christmas episode”, “Christmas Vacation”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “Home Alone”, “Clay Aiken’s Christmas special”.
Just kidding about that last one. ugh.
PS it’s a quarter till three and no Sears repairman and no phone call.