Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Before life with a zillion cable stations and webisodes there was just plain ol’ network TV. Back in my childhood days (70s to early 80s), the holiday season was a graveyard of reruns and really, really old movies. The only glimmer of hope we had for anything new (or at least new-ish) were those yearly cheesy LIVE Holiday specials. Shows that featured the best and brightest from tv and film belting out Christmas classics, unleashing vast amounts joy and a few stale, G-rated jokes along the way. Here are some of my fave corny classics…

BOB HOPE HOLIDAY SPECIALS (70s-80s): Old Ski Nose was the king of holiday specials (spanning almost 4 decades). As a kid I remember laughing my ass (encased in Underdog footsy pajamas) off. I also remember being slightly confused as to why I really liked seeing Dolly Parton, Loni Anderson or Cheryl Ladd dressed in skimpy reindeer outfits.

STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL (1978): A 2hour special that celebrated the success of “New Hope” mixed in with a little Christmas cheer. Tons of movie character cameos (Carrie, Harrison, Mark, R2...). Probably the oddest scene (which is saying a lot) featured Bea Arthur slinging drinks to Harvey Korman in the Cantina.

DONNY AND MARIE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (1978) Similar to Bob Hope, Donny and Marie usually had a star studded affair – plus a slew of older Osmonds and purple socks.

JOHN DENVER AND THE MUPPETS: A CHRISTMAS TOGETHER (1979) John rocked the tunage with Rowlf, Animal, Kermit and Piggie – No Emmet and the Jug-Band . Aired on ABC. The soundtrack was released on CD in 2006 with some extra special tracks.

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