22 December 2009

Black and White Christmas

Last year I bought something called "Holiday Family Collection" off Amazon...it was less than $10. It's a bunch of old Christmas cartoons, some Christmas movies like The Great Rupert and Beyond Tomorrow, and Christmas episodes of mostly 1950s, but also early 1960s television series. I popped out the volume that had the television shows on it.

The first episode that started was "The Late Christmas Present," the very first Christmas episode of the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and it came with the original Aunt Jemima Pancake mix commercials. It was a sweet story: on Christmas afternoon Ricky and Ozzie go to the home of another Nelson family to see if the department store delivered Ricky's missing catcher's mitt to them. They find out Mrs. Nelson is a widow with three little children who had a tiny tree and a poor Christmas. So they gather toys and things to help them.

Next I played "Cannonball Christmas," from Petticoat Junction: Scroogy Homer Bedloe tries to shut the Hooterville train down on Christmas Eve, before the annual caroling tour. This was intact except the theme song was replaced due to copyright considerations. But it had the original Filmways logo! Following that, I put on the Paul Winchell Show episode. It was rather slapstick-y, although the second half was a "space cadet" 1950s look at the year 2000, where Paul spends Christmas on the moon. This came with the original Cheer commercials, for "new Blue Cheer," which was advertised as making your clothes so clean they needed no bleaching nor bluing. (Does anyone still know what "bluing" your clothes means?) It also had the old "NBC Television Presentation" logo and black-and-white logo at the end.

The next episode was "The Christmas Present" from the British Scarlet Pimpernel series, with Marius Goring as Sir Percy. And, oh, my ears and whiskers, Patrick Troughton playing one of his best friends! This was from 1955, the year I was born. The Pimpernel rescues four royal children from the clutches of Chauvelin. (Hey, this guy is good...he not only manages to bring four kids to England, but a donkey and a dog, too!)

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