TV Insider

'Christmas With the King Family' Is getTV's Perfect Holiday Gift

The King Family singing group: (back row from left) Cathy (Tina's sister) and King cousins Bill, Ric, Rob and Don. (front from left: King Sister Vonnie (Tina's mom), Tina, cousins Carolyn and Jamie)

The holidays often make us reminisce about the past, and through the magic of television (and more than a little help from our friends at getTV), viewers can get the chance to go back in time to the 1967 broadcast of the classic TV special, Christmas with The King Family.

It's getTV's third annual "Most Wonderful Month of the Year" celebration, and classic TV fans will surely remember The King Family, a popular recording and concert act from the '60s and '70s. The family, dubbed "America's First Family of Song," hosted 17 holiday-themed syndicated specials over the years, and the most popular was the Christmas with The King Family special, which first aired 50 years ago.

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Jeff Meier, senior VP of programming and general manager of getTV said, “The King Family holds a special place in the television memories of Baby Boomers, especially when it comes to holidays, so it seems entirely fitting that getTV should celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of their most popular specials, Christmas with the King Family, by including it as part of our third annual 'Most Wonderful Month of the Year' programming.”

King cousin Tina Cole, also known for her role on the popular '60s sitcom, My Three Sons, talked to TV Insider about the broadcast of the special and if we could ever get more holiday specials featuring The King Family.

When was the last time you watched the Christmas with the King Family special?
Tina Cole:
I actually watch it every year right after “Thoinksgibbing” (that's what the King Family kids named our Thanksgiving Special)! Having it on TV again for the 50th anniversary makes it that much more special.

Did it bring back any particular memories for you as a member of the family or even as a viewer?
My memories of every scene are so vivid because they represent our life on all levels—both personally and professionally. As a viewer, it hits home that we are not just "perfomers," but a real family with foibles and humor and lots of love.

From the top, Tina with her 14 month old son Volney, King Sister Marilyn with husband Kent Larsen with King Kids Cam Clarke and Laurette Conkling.

The songs in the special are so iconic. What was it about the King Family singing them that made them so unique and impactful?
It’s our mom’s and The King Sisters' sound multiplied by 30. Because we are family, the voices are genetically similar. There’s a unique blend that only happens with relatives. I know that’s the case for The Lennon Sisters and The Osmonds as well. But most of all, I believe it is the heart and mutual, spiritual love of Christmas that rings true.

For those watching the special for the first time, they might want to have tissues handy for at least one special moment, right?
Absolutely! Unless they're made of ice! I was there and I still tear up when I see it! It’s the moment our cousin Ric, who was in the army at the time, surprised his Mom, Alyce, live on camera while she was taping her solo number for the show. Alyce wanted nothing more than to have her son home at Christmas. Of course that’s the wish of all mothers with kids in the military. The fact that it actually happened and that it was a total surprise to Alyce, made it all the more magical. It’s the moment people seem to remember the most from everything we did. I think it’s because it was a completely real and you can see the love right there on screen.

Could the re-airing of this special be a sign we could continue to see more of these classic specials? (Fingers crossed!)
I sure hope so. We have many more 'real' stories to tell that would touch so many hearts. That’s what our shows were really about. I think that still resonates with audiences, so I hope we see more of them. Many of our specials are on DVD and there’s also a new musical documentary about our family in the works called “Family Harmony: A Musical Legacy.” I’m excited about that, too.

Here's an exclusive clip from the special, including that special family reunion:

Christmas with The King Family, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 10/9c, getTV.