Not all TV shows produce a Christmas episode. The obvious reason is because it looks funny when it reruns in May. But a number of classic TV shows have taken the plunge and Warner Brothers has gathered together a collection of them in a brand new four DVD set.
Classic TV Christmas takes us on a journey from 1964 to 1997 with some of TV’s most famous characters learning about the spirit of the holidays. From heartfelt to hysterically funny, there’s something for everyone in this unusual collection.
Dr. Kildare – An Exchange of Gifts 12/24/64
Thinking he’s about to die, a derelict alcoholic gives away his life’s hoardings.
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father – Gifts are for Giving 12/23/70
What goes around comes around when Norman’s prized medallion circulates among the cast. Although not a Christmas episode per se, this story, originally aired two days before the holiday warmly illustrates the pure joy of giving.
CHiPs – Christmas Watch 12/15/79
Christmas season doesn’t mean time off for Jon and Ponch when thieves steal a 500 year-old bell from a community church.
Eight is Enough – Yes Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus – Parts 1 & 2 12/14/77
The Bradford’s Christmas is put on hold when all the family’s presents are stolen.
Welcome Back, Kotter – Sweathog Christmas Special 12/15/77
Mix merriment, mistletoe and menorahs and whip up a Christmas party with the Sweathogs.
Alice – A Semi-Merry Christmas 12/18/77
Alice, Tommy, Flo, Vera, and Mel spend Christmas together snowbound in a semi trailer.
Perfect Strangers – The Gift of the Mypiot 12/16/88
Balki ruins Larry’s holiday mood by inviting his lonely boss, Mr. Gorpley, to the their Christmas Eve party.
Mama’s Family – Mama Gets Goosed 12/20/86
Mama frets about cooking a live goose for Christmas dinner.
Veronica’s Closet – Veronica’s Christmas Song 12/18/97
Veronica and Olive audition to sing at a Christmas concert at Lincoln Center.
Suddenly Susan – The Walk Out 12/19/96
When Jack doesn’t hand out Christmas bonuses, the staff goes on strike.
Talk about stars! Richard Chamberlain, Brooke Shields, Kirstie Alley, Bill Bixby, Will Geer, and so many faces that will leave you saying, “hey, I know him.”
Want to know some of my favorite Christmas episodes? Here’s a short list I made for DVD Verdict back in the day.
The Partridge Family– stranded in an old ghost town on Christmas the family becomes part of a candy-colored fantasy about a Christmas bell and a Grinch-like gunslinger determined to steal it. I love this episode because it’s not your traditional holiday fare. It’s set in the old west and Keith is a narcissistic sheriff dressed in peacock blue who carries a guitar instead of a six-gun. The story is funny and charming and in the end the family sings a Christmas carol and breaks the fourth wall to send greetings to the fans.
Here Come the Brides – most of you probably have never heard of this series but it’s been on my mind since I was a kid. Bobby Sherman and David Soul both got their start playing lumberjack brothers who bring a hundred brides from New England to the mostly male town of Seattle. Their Christmas story is very religious (can they still do that on television) and revolves around a baby who is going to be born on Christmas. Two little girls promptly kidnap the baby because they’re afraid that the child will be killed as Jesus was. A poignant tale that is topped off by the lovely voices of Sherman and Soul singing a Christmas duet played on guitar. Still makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
Dragnet – This episode is another example of pointing up the religious reasons for the season. Friday and Gannon are called to a church on Christmas Eve because the statue of the baby Jesus has been stolen from the manger scene. The church is in a poor neighborhood and the detectives set about grilling everyone from the alter boys to the homeless man who comes in for a safe place to rest. Just when they’ve given up hope of recovery (and hope for mankind – I mean, what kind of person steals a religious statue?) a young boy comes into the church pulling a wagon behind him. In the wagon is the missing statue. When questioned the boy explains that for years he has prayed for a wagon and he made a promise that if he got one he would give Jesus the first ride. And so he did. Mystery solved. And tears are shed – well, from my eyes anyway. This one really hits me hard.
And now I must add:
A Supernatural Christmas: It’s a Christmas episode like no other when Sam and Dean Winchester battle a pair of homey Pagan Gods who are using wreaths to locate their victims. It might be Dean’s last Christmas so he wants to do it up right, but Sam is the Grinch who wants nothing to do with the holiday cheer. The final scene where Sam decides to do a motel Christmas, complete with pine tree air fresheners as tree decorations, is as sweet as it comes. And the last shot of the Christmas lights reflecting off the wet and shiny Impala is one of my favorite TV images.
Click here to pick up the new Christmas TV Collection from Warner Brothers.