Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tis The Season…Again!

The holiday season is here once again with Christmas just around the corner. Last year at this time I wrote about the onslaught of holiday programming that hits our televisions during this time. Tonight, the classic “It's A Wonderful Life” is airing on NBC and beginning on Christmas Eve, TBS will run its annual 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story”. All the other Yuletide movies are there for your viewing pleasure as well. My personal favorite is the underrated “We’re No Angels” starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov.

That’s just the movies; there are still the TV programs to be considered.

Being more of a television-guy than a movie-guy, I have seen my share of Christmas-themed episodes on the tube. TV Land has a marathon starting tomorrow at 5:00 am. It kicks off with Roseanne and concludes at midnight with 3rd Rock.

Sandwiched in between are multiple installments of Three’s Company, The Brady Bunch, Good Times, Sanford And Son, All In The Family, Married With Children and The Beverley Hillbillies. There is even a 2-hour chunk of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for you Ty Pennington fans.

Over nineteen hours of holiday sitcom programs that aren’t really among my favorites. I preferred it when shows like The Bob Newhart Show, Cheers, Becker and The Dick Van Dyke Show went all merry and mirthful. You could even give me Frank Costanza celebrating Festivus with the gang on Seinfeld.

The TV Land marathon would be much improved if they mixed in some of these programs. Sanford And Son? Come on.

My biggest disappointment with the marathon’s lineup is the fact that it does not include the Andy Griffith episode entitled "The Christmas Story". Mayberry’s version of Ebenezer Scrooge will surely warm the cockles of your heart. I know each time I watch it my cockles get toasty.

Here is a quick synopsis:

On Christmas Eve, ornery department store owner Ben Weaver insists that Andy lock up moonshiner Sam Muggins. Weaver has brought along a jug of moonshine as evidence of Sam's wrongdoing.

In order to keep Weaver off his back and still have the party they had planned, Andy arrests Sam's wife and children as "accessories before, during, and after the fact", and deputizes Ellie, Opie, and Aunt Bee to help watch the prisoners.

With the Muggins family in jail, Andy, Barney and their deputies prepare a feast with all the trimmings for the family and decorate a Christmas tree. Everyone is having a good time except Ben.

Peeping through the jailhouse window, Weaver is touched when he sees everyone having a good time. Touched with the Christmas spirit, the crotchety store owner tries to get himself arrested in order to join the fun.

After several failed attempts, Andy finally arrests Weaver, after he dumps a garbage can in the alley. Together, the men appear at the door of the jail with a suitcase full of gaily-wrapped gifts from Weaver's store. Weaver is welcomed and regaled with food and drink. He falls asleep in one of the jail cells after finishing the jug of Sam's moonshine.

TV Land will be airing this all-time favorite of mine, but not until Christmas Eve at 7:30 pm and on Christmas Day at 10:00 am. Maybe there is something to be said for anticipation making the reward even greater.

During this festive season, I hope that you all have the opportunity to view your favorite holiday programming. Whether it’s a movie or a TV sitcom, take a break from all the shopping, wrapping and partying and do yourself a favor and make time to enjoy it.

Happy holidays! And don’t forget to catch Andy Griffith’s version of “The Christmas Story” and see Barney Fife dressed as Santa Claus. Until next time…ho, ho, ho from the booth.


Karen said...

Amazing. I am THE number 1 fan of anything Mayberry. I own every single one of the DVD sets-the complete series. I have recently been watching, repeatedly I should add, specifically the Christmas one that you wrote about. I get teary eyed everytime Elanore and Andy sing "Away in a Manger." It just plain wouldn't be Christmas for me without seeing that show several times. Oh for the good old days when things were sweet and good and people were decent and kind. So much cynicism now. Yes,I am aware that things weren't ALL sweetness and light. I just miss some of the finer points I think we have lost somewhere along the line.
I am watching "It's a Wonderful Life" right now(while I frantically work on a final paper-one of three huge ones as well as try to prepare for a 3 hour written final!). I am so glad that the network decided to show this FANTASTIC CLASSIC. Seems to be harder and harder to find these classics around this time of year-mostly the newer crap.
Anyway, having said all of that just to thank you for your astute insight to what is/was good tv. Some things can't be improved upon!

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Wow Karen, I had no idea that you were such a fan of Andy and the gang! I have always maintained that the Andy Griffith Show is easily the most decent show ever made. It is wonderful.

One thing, was Muggins first name Jim? I was pretty sure. I have seen some that recaps on the Internet that refer to him as Sam. Let me know if you get a chance!

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

I seem to have got a little behind with the blogs - must be the Christmas season ! I aim to watch "It's a Wonderlife Life" this year - keep hearing so much about it but have never watched it. The Brady Bunch is what some of our nephews and nieces call all of us - why I cannot imagine!

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thank you for reading! I apologize, but I am not quite sure who you are. I have an idea, but please help me!

Leplume said...

Have you ever seen the film "All Mine to Give"? It's old, and they rarely play it but if they do it's usually around this time of year though it's not really a Christmas movie. It takes place in Wisconsin and its the saddest movie I've ever seen. I cry everytime! I think it was also called "The Day They Gave Babies Away" or something like that. If you get the chance, catch this one.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

I will definitely do so. Thanks for the tip Mary.

What us it about movies that make us cry? Bang The Drum Slowly makes me cry each and every time I see it. Oh well, what ya gonna do…