Nostalgic TV Shows and a Storied TV Variety Series Return Along with Memorable Holiday Specials
By: Ellis Nassour
Get-TV [68-3 on broadcast TV], one of several movie channels that show hundreds of often classic films monthly – sorry to say, laden with commercials for all sorts of pain remedies and buy-one-get-one-free come-ons [with that obnoxious announcer who repeats the 800 number often up to four times in 10 seconds], also has brought back some memorable TV variety shows and The Merv Griffin Show.
Monday night is very special for The Judy Garland Show, 8 P.M, Eastern. The guest this Monday is Donald O’Connor. Series guests include Steve Allen, June Alyson, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Ray Bolger, Diahann Carroll, Vic Damone, Bobby Darin, Lena Horne, Steve Lawrence, Peggy Lee, Merman, Jane Powell, Martha Raye, Mickey Rooney, Soupy Sales, Smothers Brothers, and Streisand.
Shot in B&W. unfortunately, it was on CBS for the 1963 season. Mort Lindsey, who also worked for years with Sinatra, was series music director briefly. There’s special material by Mel Torme, also a frequent guest. Besides Garland in great voice in concert with signature songs and then some, highlights include her chats and duos with guest stars; and the finale "Born in a Trunk" sequence. Costumes are by Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie; with choreography by Ernie Flatt, Peter Gennaro, and Nick Castle.
Garland, week-after-week on her best behavior, is energetic and captivating in front of a large studio audience. When she sings, she soars. Scheduled opposite blockbuster Bonanza, ratings were low. Reportedly CBS head James Aubrey, for reasons unknown, immensely disliked Garland, and was happy to pull the plug. The cancellation had a devastating effect on her and, reportedly, led to her decline and renewed bouts of unreliability. Breathtaking moment after breathtaking moment, you shake your head. How could she be so brilliant and so troubled? There’ve been many before-their-time losses of great talent, but this incomparable showman’s decline and death is one of the entertainment world’s most perplexing and regretful one.
Wednesday, December 14:
The Christmas Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1973), 9 P.M.; Guest, Chastity Bono.
Wednesday, December 16:
Christmas with the King Family (1967), 8 P.M.;
Bing Crosby and the Sounds of Christmas (1971), 9 P.M., Guest: Robert Goulet; and
The Andy Williams Christmas Show (2001), 10 P.M., Guest: Donny Osmond.
Monday, December 21
The Judy Garland Show, Christmas Show, 8 P.M; Guests: Liza, Lorna, Joey; Jack Jones, Mel Torme.
Wednesday, December 23:
The Perry Como Christmas Show (1974), 8 P.M., a lavish holiday treat shot on soundstages with some impressive special effects. Even though there is the sound of real applause, you never see an audience. The show is so elaborate, with a large skating rink and a spectacular, but classy Nativity sequence, it is doubtful there was one and the applause is canned. Multiple Emmy and Grammy-winning Como, for five decades a million-selling record and top-rated TV star, is so relaxed and genuine you wonder if he can be real [it has been noted that he could lose his temper, but imagine him doing so the way he eases through his show]. This Christmas treat is a mixed bag, but with impressive highlights: smooth-voiced Como who never has to reach high notes to impress; the Grammy-winning, million-selling brother/sister act, the Carpenters; and Olympic champion Peggy Fleming. Karen Carpenter is especially memorable. Before the camera hits her, you hear her begin to sing. With only a few chords, you know it is her. She is another who does need showy high note belting to wrap+ you in magical warmth. She appears very shy and introverted. Notice the quiver of the right side of her mouth as she sings. You listen, and as with Garland, you have regrets of losing her so early [from complications from anorexia];
Christmas with Danny Kaye (1966), 9 P.M., Peggy Lee, Wayne Newton, Harvey Korman; and
Mitzi Gaynor Christmas Show (1967) [Kraft Music Hall], 10 P.M.; the incomparable queen of razzle dazzle Mitzi Gaynor sings and dances; Guests: Ed McMahon, Cyril Richard, and Tony Tanner.
For more information, visit www.get.tv/schedule.