Sunday, December 21, 2008

A few More Stocking Stuffers For Christmas





A Christmas tradition, first on radio, and then on television, was the Jack Benny Christmas show.  Each year jack would attempt to buy cheap gifts for Mary, Don, and Dennis from a harried store clerk (usually Frank Nelson or Mel Blanc), and each year Jack would keep returning the gifts until he drove the poor fellow nuts.


In this episode, Jack is buying a wallet for Don Wilson. In other years he bought shoe laces (exchanging plastic tips for one with metal tips, and then back again), and one year, he even bought gopher traps!


Mel Blanc steals the show with his sales clerk routine, and breaks up Jack at just shy of the 21 minute mark of the show. 


Even though the audience always knew what was coming, the Jack Benny show never failed to please.   This episode is from 1960.  By then, Jack had been doing the show for more than 25 years.




The Jack Benny Christmas Show - Jack Benny
An annual event on Jack Benny's radio show, Jack takes a trip to the local department store, only to run into some familiar characters. Notice Mel Blanc in his usual role as the salesmen unfortunate enough to have to wait on Jack, again, again, and again! IMDB for Jack Benny's Christmas Show Director: James V. Kern Writers: George Balzer, Hal Goldman Original Air Date: 18 December 1960 (Season 11, Episode 9) Jack Benny ...



Growing up in the 1950's, meant growing up with the Nelsons.  First on radio, and then on television, Ozzie and Harriet were America's family.  Here is their 1956 Christmas show.


"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" 1956 Christmas episode
1956 episode of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", the 2nd longest running American sitcom of all time. This is a Christmas-themed episode. "Ozzie and Harriet" never reached the top 10 in the ratings, But steading ratings made sure that it out-lived many more better-known shows, and it's gentle corny humor made it popular with kids. Overall it's a classic show that has aged well. NOTE: This copy is a mid-60's re-run print, and features different commercials to the original broadcast.


While just about everybody has seen  White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life often enough to be able to recite the dialog along with the movie, there are other, lesser known movies out there certainly worth enjoying as well.


One little known gem is called   Beyond Tomorrow, and it stars Harry Carey, C. Aubrey Smith, Charles Winninger, Jean Parker, and Richard Carlson.


This charming 1940 fantasy revolves around 3 ghosts who try to watch after and guide two people they knew in life. 


Beyond Tomorrow - A. Edward Sutherland
Director: A. Edward Sutherland Writers: Mildred Cram (story) and Adele Comandini (story) IMDB PAGE Release Date: 10 May 1940 (USA) Harry Carey ... George Melton C. Aubrey Smith ... Allan 'Chad' Chadwick Charles Winninger ... Michael O'Brien Alex Melesh ... Josef - the butler Maria Ouspenskaya ... Madame Tanya Helen Vinson ... Arlene Terry Rod La Rocque ... Phil Hubert Richard Carlson ... James Houston Jean Parker .....




There was a time, not so terribly long ago, when animators produced high quality finely drawn cartoons. Nearly every frame was carefully rendered by hand, not generated using computers.  


The cost of making these intricate films, in terms of man-hours, grew so great that by the late 1950's animators were simplifying their techniques in order to save money, and the era of exquisitely rendered animation came to an end.


We are lucky, however, that the works of people like Max Fleischer remain available for us to enjoy.


Here then, from the golden age of animation, are a stocking full of mostly-forgotten Christmas cartoons.



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Christmas Comes But Once A Year - 1936

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - 1948

Snow Foolin' - 1949

The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives - 1933

Somewhere in Dreamland - 1936

Hectors Hectic Life - 1948

Jack Frost - 1934

The Little King - 1934

The Christmas Visitor - 1959

Santa's Surprise - 1947


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