Saturday, December 2, 2023

Some 1949-1958 US television Xmas/related programming of sorts!

US commercial television syndicationTHE CHRISTMAS CAROL (sic), as narrated by Vincent Price, and commissioned by television manufacturer Magnavox in 1949 and fed to 22 stations in its first run. One of the earlier US non-network productions to have survived, and apparently the earliest known extant US television adaptation of the Dickens story. The younger Cratchit daughter was played by Jill St. John when she went by Jill Oppenheim, apparently among her first professional credits (at age 9).


ParamounTelevision NetworkTIME FOR BEANY, #421, 11 April 1951 (as you might gather, I haven't found a more Solstice-adjacent episode, but at leasthis episode makes gratuitous reference to Ina Ray Hutton, also [with her Orchestra] on Paramount's never-too-robust early-mid '50s L. A.-based networkBob Clampett, Stan Freberg, Daws Butler, et al.--Albert Einstein and the young Frank Zappa among the devoted fans. Won three Emmy Awards and was nominated for a Peabody Award and thus was the most honored Paramount Network series, and the '60s Beany and Cecil cartoon was a revival). 

DuMont Network: CAVALCADE OF STARS, "A Honeymooners Christmas", 21 December 1951, with Art Carney, Joyce Randolph, Jackie Gleason and Pert Kelton in this pre-Audrey Meadows performance ...when the Honeymooners were a recurring sketch on the variety series...

NBC: YOUR HIT PARADE, Christmas Eve 1955 episode. Absolutely nothing non-pop, even given the #1 song for this episode is "Sixteen Tons", not even performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford much less the Merle Travis original, but by Snooky Lanson. Buthe Xmas music is mostly well-performed...

Canadian Annex: CBC: ON THE  SPOT, "Christmas Comes Twice";  a 1955 episode from OTS 's first season, abouthe seasonal celebrations of Ukrainian-Canadians, and their aspirations for an independent Ukraine.

CBSTHE JACK BENNY PROGRAM, 1957 tv version of "Christmas Shopping"; here's the 1960 version. And the 1961 "Christmas Party" episode.

ABC: AMERICAN BANDSTAND, 18 December 1957, apparently in the first season of national broadcast. Apparently also, a 25 Dec-scheduled episode was recorded (presumably earlier on)...unavailable, as far as I see now.

NTA Film NetworkART FORD'S JAZZ PARTY, "Tribute to Buddy Bolden", the final episode, transmitted 0n WNTA on 25 December 1958 and soft-fed to affiliates (the link includes three not quite complete episodes, including the New Orleans jazz special that was held for the final episode, last of the three). Part of Jazz Party's wide distribution cited during the second episode in the IA queue was due to its clearance on the US Armed Forces television services around the world, and perhaps some local civilian clearance in some countries.

NET (National Educational Television): A LARGE SPECK OF PROGRESS, a short 1958 fantasy parable, not light-handed but certainly earnest and rather cleverly produced on a budget at the Ann Arbor/University of Michigan production studio, presumably for first broadcast on DetroiNET station WTVS (more than a decade before PBS supplanted NET as the primary US national public-broadcasting network).

Happy Solstice/New Year Holidays!


Elgin Bleecker said...

Thanks for the notes and links.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks for the reminder on the Jack Benny Christmas show. I love it!

Todd Mason said...

Shows, Jack!--3 links await you (or so I hope--Blogspot is not a buddy)(or Program, as JB apparently preferred).

And thank you both, Elgin and Jack.

Charlie Ricci said...

A very cool post. I remember a few of these shows & the rest my Mom talked about. Thank you.

Todd Mason said...

You're quite welcome, Charlie, and thank you!