Sunday, December 20, 2020

Top Ten #99:

1) The Little Rascals: Our holiday special this week took a look at one of writer Romeo Muller's lesser-known efforts, this 1970s NBC special that doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar (except BOTNS) anymore. Now we need to get more of these PSAs on the Internet!

2) A Charlie Brown Christmas: The greatest of all time was free last weekend on PBS and Apple TV+ but can still be seen this weekend on the latter and of course via our video collections, where this special surely resides.

3) Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town: Last week I posted a look at what the true premiere date is for this classic Rankin-Bass animagic work, noting that it appears to have debuted 12/13/70 but that the official histories indicate 12/14/70.  Well, I listened to the excellent commentary track Greg Ehrbar does for the recent Blu-Ray release, and he says it's 12/13...which is nice except an article by him on Cartoon Research says it's 12/14! The mystery continues!

What isn't mysterious is how great the Mickster is in it and what a fun special this is. I think it's going into my annual rotation now.

4) Betty White: BUZZR has a Betty-thon all week starting tomorrow and featuring Password, Match Game, etc.

5) Angel Tompkins: Happy birthday to Ms. Tompkins, Gloria from our beloved Search.

6) The Great Santa Claus Switch: 50 years ago tonight, a special episode of The Ed Sullivan Show featured the host narrating this story with Art Carney and the Muppets.

7) A Christmas Dream: A year after his special with Emmanuel Lewis was a modest hit for NBC, Mr. T got a repeat performance on this night in 1985 even though this otherwise great article says it only ran once.  Just think: T, Webster, David Copperfield, Ed Koch, Willie Tyler and Lester--The 1980s, folks! How could that not have been repeated?

8) The Facts of Life: I watched two Christmas episodes of the series--from the later seasons, no less--and I have to justify it somehow.

9) Jets/Dolphins: Sunday afternoon on this day 40 years ago, NBC experimented with an announcerless game between these two teams.  That may not seem like a big deal considering many sports announcers would score below "zero announcers" in polls with fans, but no announcers was a bold move. There were frequent cut-ins to Bryant Gumbel with updates and summaries.

10) WKRP in Cincinnati: On this night in 1980, the sitcom aired an episode titled Bah, Humbug in which Carlson learns the error of his ways after being visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Hey, that's a cool idea! Someone else should use that as the basis for an episode.

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