A Holiday Movie or TV Special You Look Forward to Seeing
“Gather round, children,” I call. “Let me tell you about what Christmas was like back in the olden days.” They come running, eyes wide with anticipation.
“Sit down. Sit down.” I say and I begin my tale.
“When I was a little girl, back in the 1970s thing were very different. For one thing Christmas specials were only shown on TV once each holiday season!”
They ‘GASP’ collectively.
“What about DVD or Blue Ray? Couldn’t you just buy them?”one cries.
“How about online streaming or that TV channel that shows the specials 24 hours a day from Thanksgiving on?” Another asks. I just smile and shake my head.
“Computers and DVD players hadn’t been invented yet and we only had 6 television channels, none of which showed all day Christmas specials. Heck, most of them went off air everynight at 12:00!” I can see they are stunned into silence so I continue.
“What we did have was something called a ‘TV Guide’, a little book that listed all the shows that would be on that week. I would check the listing for shows that would be on between 7pm and 9pm, what they called ‘prime time’ and when I found my favorite Christmas special I circled it in red pen so we wouldn’t forget about it.”
“What were your favorite shows?” One of the little cherubs asks.
“Well, I had two that I really liked. The first was A Charlie Brown Christmas, the same one that’s still on now-a-days and the other was How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but the old animated version narrated by Boris Karloff, not that silly one with Jim Carey that you all watch.
Now, my sisters were ten years older than me, and if you asked them what their favorite Christmas special was they would probably tell you about one that was sponsored by the ‘Bell Telephone Company’ and was shown on the Public Broadcasting Station each year.
“Who is ‘Bell Telephone?” they shout, confused.
“Never mind,” I reply, “That’s a story for another time.
The TV special was a rendition of the poem The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore and The Christmas Story from the Bible told entirely with marionettes. you know, those puppets that move on strings? I found a video of it on YouTube last year and showed it to my daughter. She said it was creepy and was surprised that my sisters didn’t have nightmares after watching it so I guess marionettes aren’t for everybody.
Anyway, on the nights that Charlie Brown and The Grinch were scheduled to air I would make sure I was done my bath early and was ready in my pjs in front of the TV in time for the show to start. I knew that if I forgot, or we were out that night, I wouldn’t get another chance to see them for a whole year.” The children stare at me doubtful, wondering if I am putting them on.
“What about your favorite movie? asks the oldest. “We know you love A Christmas Story. Every year you laugh like crazy at Ralphie in his fuzzy pink bunny suit. Did they show that all day long on Christmas Day like they do now?”
“I do love that crazy father and his leg lamp!” I chuckle, “but that film wasn’t made till 1984. when I was little my favorite movie was one I still enjoy today. It was an old black and white film called Its a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. You may have seen it once or twice.”
“Everytime a bell rings an angel get his wings!!” they shout knowingly.
“That’s right!” I smile. “My mom and dad loved that one too so we would all snuggle up, turn out the lights and watch it together. By the end when George Bailey runs through Bedford Falls wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, I was happy and all filled up with the Christmas spirit.”
I sigh and gaze over there heads lost in childhood.
“Hey, guys!” the oldest one yells, “Let’s go download all three Santa Clause movies on to the flat screen TV and binge watch till dinner!” They jump up in unison and race off ready to make their own Christmas memories.