I WANT THAT!
This ad from a 1966 JC Penney catalog displays one of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time. My cousin Berk (who was my Dad's age) gave me that Lost In Space rocket gun for Christmas, I was a huge LIS fan but had no idea that thing existed. The gun would shoot spinning discs, perfect for targeting younger siblings. And I sure as heck didn't know that Batman utility belt existed or it would have been mine and Batarangs would have been airborn over the heads of my brother and sister!
Here's a doll the little girls wanted - Mattel's Chatty Cathy doll. To this day kids are referred to as a 'Chatty Cathy' but the doll disappeared by the 1970s. Is it just me or does Chatty look a bit needy?
Here's the introduction of Ken, Barbie's boyfriend. They met in 1961 and I thought they were still going together but I heard Barbie sees other guys now. Swell!
Kenner's Spirograph was a toy breakthrough - like millions of others I got one for Christmas and assumed it wouldn't be as cool as it looked on TV - but it was way cooler! I imagine this is still a great gift idea. And here's another hot toy that has survived to the modern age - the Easy-Bake Oven. Is there an American girl who didn't get one of these? Those cakes were tasty but they went fast.
Friday, November 26, 2010 - 9:50am
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 8:50am
PEOPLE LIKE LISTS
1. The Spirit of Christmas: The first three DVD collections on this list I covered in an article on Christmas Specials at dtvusaforum.com, this is the herky jerky puppet film produced by Bell Systems in 1950. This was last year's best-seller.
2. Bing Crosby - The Christmas Specials: The first two of the four Bing specials in this collection are Christmas specials by default, the first from 1961 ends with a nice version of White Christmas but that's it for the holidays. The second from 1962 was a Christmas eve broadcast with a bright carol medley otherwise it has little to do with the yuletide season. But the others are what I remembered Der Bingle's shows to be about - tons of fake snow and impeccable renditions of the classic Christmas carols I love.
3. Hope for the Holidays: Video montage with comedy highlights from Bob Hope's many Holiday specials over three decades, loaded with cheesy guest stars.
4. The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town/Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns/Mr. Magoo's Christmas: The Rankin-Bass animagic creations we all loved as a kid. The crazy thing is they've lost none of the magic they contained, kids love them today as much as we did. That's a pop culture rarity.
5. Doris Day - Christmas Memories: Three Holiday themed episodes from Doris Day's charming TV sitcom along with lots of fab musical extras and a sampling of Doris' 1952 Christmas radio broadcasts.
6. Merry Sitcom! Christmas Classics from TV's Golden Age: A classic sitcom lovers buffet with episodes of Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, McHales Navy, Bewitched, That Girl, Window On Main Street, and The Flying Nun.
7. Happy Holidays with Bing & Frank: This can be found on the afore mentioned Bing Crosby collection as an extra and it's my favorite holiday musical celebration, actually an episode of Frank's short lived 1957 series. Two amazing performers at their peak performing the Christmas perennials they're famous for. You can't beat this for getting into the Holiday spirit!
8. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol: The first and possibly best of the great animated Christmas specials debuting in 1962 (Rudolph came along two years later) with songs written by Broadway's Jules Styne (Gypsy, Funny Girl).
9. Holiday TV Classics: More festive TV with episodes from The Adventures of Long John Silver, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Red Skelton Show, Dragnet, Sherlock Holmes and Racket Squad. Public domain stuff.
10. TV Sets - Christmas Treats: How the sitcoms celebrated the Holidays including I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Andy Griffith, Brady Bunch, Taxi, Family Ties, Frasier, and Wings. From the fifties to the nineties, this one really spans the decades!
Just missing the top ten: The Andy Williams Christmas Show Live from Branson, Sonny & Cher Christmas Collection, A Classic Christmas - The Ed Sullivan Show, Bob Hope The Vietnam Years, Frosty's Winter Wonderland/Twas the Night Before Christmas, Menotti - Amahl and the Night Visitors, Peanuts Holiday Collection, Garfield Holiday Celebrations.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 11:59am
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 10:32am
HENRY FONDA'S TV SHOW?
In the meantime I have an interview with Glenn Mosley author of 'Henry Fonda and The Deputy' and we discuss Fonda's little known western television series. Get hip to it, a new DVD set collects that series in it's entirety.
If sales through TVparty are any gauge (and it usually isn't) the Bing Christmas Specials set is a massive hit.
Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 6:19am
HOLIDAY DVD REVIEW
It's a stretch to consider this a bona fide Christmas special but Bing does close the proceedings with a moving version of 'White Christmas' so we won't quibble.
Bing's 1962 Christmas Eve broadcast with guests Mary Martin and Andre Previn, also on disc one, was the first color hour from Der Bingle and it's also light on the holiday cheer save a wonderful medley of carols to close out the hour. Still, it's a classy blend of jazzy production numbers and musical mashups and well worth watching. Outtakes from this special can be found on this disc as well, with alternate song takes and a musical number by Mary Martin that was cut. Fantastic!
A real Christmas treat completes the first disc - the 1957 Holiday episode of The Frank Sinatra Show with guest Bing Crosby - a festive, wall to wall songfest with all the familiar holiday classics sung to perfection by two iconic voices of the season.
The two specials on the second disc are closer to what I remember the Bing Christmas specials to be with copious holiday medleys with snowy sets festooned in holly and (sometimes awkward) appearances by the Crosby family.
The picture and sound quality varies, 1962 was awfully early for color TV after all, but it's safe to say these specials are sure to bring back that Christmas magic we enjoyed as kids, huddled in front of the TV watching Bing with the family. Now you can begin that yearly tradition all over again.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 11:48am
FRIDAY FOR TV LOVERS
They're casting a TV show featuring real people who love TV. It's a one day shoot in San Francisco for fans of the following shows:
Did you know William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy appeared on Pyramid together in 1977?
Friday, November 12, 2010 - 8:40am
Jay Blotcher has an article abbout the ground breaking TV movie A Touch of Frost, it's the 25th anniversary of the first broadcast. Aidan Quinn and the director John Erman talk about what impact the film had on their careers.
Just finished watching The Tudors season 4 on DVD - a winner to the end, what a sublime experience that series was!
Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 8:10am
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