Today in My History

2000:  Rocky 2
2001:  Love Letters
2002:  An Ethel Queen and a Judy Queen
2003:  Mind and Body
2004:  A Holly, Jolly Christmas
2005:  'Tis the Season Again

2006 Are You There, Grunya?
2007: The Printed Page
2008:  On the First Day of Christmas...
2009:  The Very Best Christmas Ever
2010:  The Saga Continues
'In Lieu of an Entry
2012: A Christmas Carol
2013:  Life Upon the Wicked Stage
Sunday Stealing
2015  Tell Me a Story
2016: Feet
2017: Lizzie
2018: Christmas--the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
2019: Saturday 9

2020 Christmas Letter

Theater Reviews
Updated 12/6
A Christmas Carol: the
Radio Broadcast

Books Read in 2020
 Updated 11/13
"Frontier Follies"

Personal Home Page

My family

Books Read in 2020
Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

Cast (updated 7/16)

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piņata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev  


December 14, 2020

Ned and Marta decided they would spend the weekend watching Christmas movies, but unusual ones like Die Hard and Ref and some others I hadn't heard of.  I hadn't intended to watch Christmas movies today, but ended up watching three -- two Judy Garlands and Elf.  The two Judy Garlands aren't specifically "Christmas" movies, though Christmas plays a big part in each.  Meet me in St. Louis takes place during a whole year, but it is the Christmas scenes that are perhaps the most memorable, especially "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which was written for that movie.

Likewise, In the Good Old Summertime is not a Christmas movie, though its emotional ending takes place at Christmas, so I think of it as a Christmas movie.

Elf is just strictly a Christmas movie.  I thought I had seen it before, but it turns out I had not.

I don't watch many Christmas movies, of the Hallmark Channel variety.  They mostly seem to fall under the "chick lit" category, and I'm not into chick lit.

I did watch Dolly Parton's new Christmas special (not on Hallmark) and it reminded me once again how most Christmas stories are varieties of the Dickens "A Christmas Carol."

Think about some of your favorite Christmas movies.  And think of the Dickens story.

 What does Dickens have in his story

- a mean guy who considers Christmas a humbug
- a nice guy who is being somehow manipulated by the meann guy
- some sort of magical figure (the ghosts in Dickens)
> - a little kid who warms the mean guy's heart


How about that faithful It's a Wonderful Life.  The Banker, Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) is obviously the mean guy who is going to destroy the business of good guy George (James Stewart).  George decides to commit suicide when Clarence (Henry Travers), an angel comes in to help him and in the end and little Zuzu (Karolyn Grimes) delivers the "God bless us every one" line, "whenever a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."

Was there ever a bigger Scrooge than the Grinch who has a whole town of good guys and a reluctant dog who tries to stop him.  But it takes the adorable Cindy Lou Who to melt his heart.

Now think of the 1947 A Miracle on 34th Street (one of my favorite Christmas movies). While Doris (Maureen O'Hara) is not exactly a "mean" person, she is very rigid and anti-Christmas, having to work Macy*s each year. John Payne is Fred, her neighbor, who ends up babysitting for her and creating a relationship with daughter Natalie Woods. The mystical figure is, of course Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. Through the "magical" things somehow created by Kringle and especially the finale, which I remembered so clearly from my childhood, Doris becomes a believer and gets the spirit of Christmas in her heart.

The Hallmark movies I have seen over the years pretty much all have the Dickens story, with a mean man or woman, a good person, some sort of magical interference and a little kid.  And of course the mean guy's heart is turned and everybody has a merry Christmas.

Elf had the bad guy Walter (James Caan).  The good guy would be his son, who he has ignored for most of his life, and while the elf himself (Will Farrell) is adult size, it is his childlike personality and the magic things he can do as an elf that eventually melt Walter's heart.

In the Dolly Parton movie, Christine Baranski is a woman whose father died and left her the town he built and owns.  Filled with anger at her father, she decides to sell the town to a shopping center and everybody must vacate their homes by Christmas eve (of course).

Naturally there are a lot of good people who are going to be affected by her actions.

Dolly Parton is an angel who takes Baranski back through her life, showing her how it really was.  As her heart is beginning to soften a bit, she meets a 9 year old girl and becomes friendly with her  When the girl is in an auto accident and nearly dies, Baranski brings in a world famous doctor, who saves the girl's life, and changes her mind about selling the town.

I wonder what Dickens would think if he could watch so many of these Christmas specials that are variations of his "A Christmas Carol."



"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"


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