Thursday, December 09, 2010

Those holiday specials were...ummm...special

Here is my dilema: There are certain things I love but I'm not sure I love them for what they are or for the memory they induce.

For instance: There is a song in my Playlist by Julius LaRosa called "Eh, Cumpare." Bluntly, Placido Domingo will not be performing it anytime soon at the Met. It's a campy song, but I love it. I love it because I have a very specific memory from when I was five or six of that song coming on and my mother, grandmother and two aunts singing and miming along and laughing so hard they couldn't breath. I'm pretty sure there had to be Old Fashioneds and Martinis preceding the performance (for everyone but my mother, who didn't drink but had no problem acting like she had). From then on whenever that song was played, the entire Linguini assembly would begin singing and miming and laughing. (This was obviously not only a Linguini thing -- if you watch Godfather III, they have a similar -- though certainly more organized -- reaction to the song).

So, for what it's worth, growing up I absolutely loved Christmas specials. Not just the ones for kids, though. During the Christmas season, I was permitted to stay up past my 8 o'clock bedtime (that's right -- through my sophomore year in high school I had to go to bed at 8 o'clock...) and see all the Christmas shows that ran throughout December; and everyone had one -- Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Red Skelton (who ran the same one every year -- Greer Garson; I loved it), Dean Martin, Andy Williams, and any other celebrity who had a "variety show" (TV Guide designation) on the air at the time.

I see clips of them now and part of me cringes. The writing was horrible, the "special effects" were embarrassing (and not even done ironically) and the music was canned. But -- what was it? I couldn't look away.

Well, of course it was that I was warm and comfy on the sofa surrounded by relatives (oh brother, was I surrounded by relatives...), safe, secure and convinced that this whole "living" thing was a breeze. And, of course, there were cookies.

To this day, I hear Bing Crosby sing and my whole stress level drops.

And, so, for those of you who have forgotten how wonderfully horrible they were or for those who have not experienced the "specialness" of the 1960s Christmas Special:

Or, of course, you could just go to Branson...

1 comment:

Trasherati said...

Ah, Dino...I love him so.
The variety shows were my TV staple as a kid - I loved them so much more than sitcoms.
Almost as much as the old Hollywood Squares.