Saturday, December 7, 2013

Advent Calendar: Christmas TV & Movies

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past four years (2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012), but this year, there are some new prompts, and the sequence has changed for some old prompts used in previous years.  For the latter, in some cases I'll simply re-post, while in others, I will link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's at least somewhat related.

The prompt for today is:  December 7 – Christmas Television and Movies

Whether it is the movie It’s A Wonderful Life or A Charlie Brown Christmas on the telly, what is your favorite television program or movie? What are your memories of first seeing it as a child and did your family have certain traditions related to the show or movie? Are there different versions (such as The Christmas Carol) and have you found modern favorites?  Tell us about your favorite Christmas television program or movie and your memories of Christmases past.

This is a new prompt for this year!

Growing up, I loved all those animated Christmas specials that came out in the mid-1960s:  A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), which used the cool-to-me stop-motion technique.  I can remember waiting for them to be shown once each season on TV - now of course, you can find networks that play them numerous times during the holidays.

I think it was the voices and/or music that made these memorable for me:  Jim Backus (the millionaire Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island) as the nearsighted Mr. Magoo (playing Scrooge), Burl Ives as the narrating Sam the Snowman in Rudolph (and singing "Holly Jolly Christmas"), and Boris Karloff as the narrator and Grinch.  I was surprised to learn that Karloff did NOT sing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," as I always thought, instead, it was an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft (also the voice of Kellogg's Tony the Tiger).  Such a wonderfully deep basso profundo voice!  Charlie Brown Christmas featured the wonderful jazz music of Vince Guaraldi that I love.  I can't listen to "Linus and Lucy" without wanting to dance like the kids dance to Schroeder's playing, or hear "Skating" without thinking of this Christmas special.

My all-time favorite Christmas movie is, of course, It's a Wonderful Life.  It's also about the only one I can legally use images from in this blog, because Republic Pictures, the original copyright owner and producer, neglected to renew its copyright in 1974, putting its images in the public domain (copyright issues with this film are complicated, though).  This movie never fails to make me cry.

Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed & Karolyn Grimes (playing George, Mary, and Zuzu Bailey) in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at 

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