What’s Worth Watching: Classic Christmas specials on getTV for Thursday, December 24
Some folks prefer to keep an endless loop of the Yule Log on their TV to mark Christmas Eve, but if I can find the nostalgia channel getTV on my mom’s cable system, you can bet that’s where it will stay for much of Thursday into Christmas Day proper. Starting at noon ET, the channel will show a rotating series of classic Christmas specials, many derived from popular variety shows of the 1960s and 1970s. Here’s a sampling of what to expect (the full lineup is available at www.get.tv/schedule):
The Christmas Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1973)
Remember when they still got each other, babe? This was the couple’s second holiday musical special during the run of their hit CBS variety series. Daughter Chastity (now Chaz) was just 4 when this aired as she joins them on stage, along with guest star William Conrad (then famous as Cannon).
The Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Shows (2001)
This compilation spotlights the highlights from eight seasons worth of Yuletide songs (often featuring Williams with the Osmonds and his own brothers). If “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is one of your personal earbugs, blame Andy.
The Merv Griffin Show — Christmas Special (1965)
Among the headliners in this special edition of the legendary talk show is a pre-Brady Bunch Florence Henderson, with sultry jazz great Barbara McNair and Jimmy Boyd (best known for I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus).
Christmas With Danny Kaye (1966)
In this edition of the Renaissance comedian’s ’60s variety show, Kaye mixes it up with Peggy Lee and series regulars Harvey Korman (pre-Carol Burnett Show) and Joyce Van Patten. But a 24-year-old Wayne Newton, in one of his first TV appearances, steals and stops the show with his Jingle Bell Rock.
The Judy Garland Christmas Show (1963)
This classic episode has been widely parodied, as it presents Judy the Great welcoming famous friends who happen to just drop by for some harmonizing at the piano, including Mel Torme, Jack Jones and her soon-to-be-famous daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft.
Mitzi Gaynor Christmas Show (1967)
The South Pacific singer-dancer fills the Kraft Music Hall with holiday cheer, joined by Ed McMahon (who knew). Those really were the days.