Cheers to you! To my critics and my fans alike!
Some times I miss the score, the play and the message. So I cannot go wrong with MY top five favorites.
1. Christmas In Connecticut (the original black and white) — Barbara Stanwyck plays food writer Elizabeth Lane and has been lying to her editor about her perfect housewife life in the New York country. Oops, now editor (Sydney Greenstreet) wants to come to her house for Christmas and bring a war hero who has been stuck on a life raft for months. Throw in a boyfriend she doesn’t want to marry and let the shenanigans begin. You will love S.Z. Sakall as Felix Bassenak, the chef and friend who has to come to her rescue, as she can’t cook a lick. Always makes me want to live on a farm in winter and go on a sleigh ride.
2. It’s A Wonderful Life — C’mon, Jimmy Stewart ready to leave his small town, has a ticket, bags all packed and there is Donna Reed, standing in the doorway.
“I don’t love you,” he says… “I know,” she says … and they just keep kissing.
3. OMG! Any professional production of The Nutcracker!
4. March Of The Wooden Soldiers — An oldie, all the characters live in a shoe and work at Santa’s Toy Shop in Toyland. Toyland is full of chocolate, candy canes and toys. I still want to live in Toyland.
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas — Life was so good back when we were just a little kid in footed pajamas watching this cartoon. It was a family tradition. My dad would make homemade eggnog (the adults got a shot of hot water and whiskey in it and kids got the good stuff). We were always allowed to open one Christmas gift early after.
1. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! — Written in 1945 by lyricist Sammy Cahn and songwriter Jule Styne, first recorded by Vaughn Monroe and now done by basically everybody. Dean Martin’s is the best known, Harry Connick Jr.’s the most popular, Cliff Richards sings a version featured in Lethal Weapon, but I like the one performed on the Lawrence Welk show while I was snuggled on my dad’s lap in a hand-made wooden rocking chair. It was the Lawrence Welk singers and one guy always hit a baratone that vibrated the glacier ice bergs. Since then I like the song no matter who sings it.
‘Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve got not place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
2. Santa Baby — Eartha Kitt was all sugary spice with this song long before Madonna stole it from obscurity in 1987 for the Very Special Christmas album. Kitt’s singing made it special for a naughty girl to crave a sugar daddy this time of year.
3. Father Christmas — Okay, the Kinks singing about a kid who gets mugged performing as St. Nick and then asks for a machine gun and a job for his dad for Christmas, is not traditional Christmas tidings. But this is the KINKS!
4. Blue Christmas — Ernest Tubb did the original in 1950 and that was good. Elvis expressed the pain of a White Christmas without that special someone with his rendition (and gyrations).
5. Baby Its Cold Outside — Umm, I actually like the Saturday Night Live version done by Jimmy Fallon and Cecily Strong. A total upside down version with the guy trying to get his date to leave and she’s dispensing clothing. Not X-rated. Still prime time television. The original is also very good with the woman saying she should go and the guy saying but baby it is cold outside and such. AND it was performed by Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton. Watch both if you can find them!
Okay, Sports Moments on Christmas Day:
1. No question the Kansas City Chiefs against the Miami Dolphins in 1971. Eleven future Hall of Famers on the field. An exciting game to the end, but remembered for its length — no NFL game has gone longer. After 82 minutes, in the double-overtime period, Garo Yepremian, who had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked in the first overtime, lined up and nailed a 37-yarder for the Dolphins’ 27-24 win.
2. Christmas Day 1986 when Michael Jordan was without any championships and Georgetown graduate Patrick Ewing was a rookie for the Knicks. Jordan had scored 63 the year before against the Celtics. The Knicks won on Ewing’s last-second tip-in.
3. In 2002 Katie Hnida became the first female to play in a major division college football game as a place kicker for the University of New Mexico. Her point after attempt was blocked but the next season she became the first female to score points during a major division game. Hnida speaks out to groups around the country about sexual assault and has maintained she was a victim while at Colorado University before leaving for UNM.
4. Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain’s 59 points and 36 rebounds against the New York Knicks on Christmas day 1961. In 1965, the Celtics’ Bill Russell had 34 rebounds in a 113-99 win over the Baltimore Bullets.
5. The Ghost to the Post. This was Christmas Eve 1977. The 1977 Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders trailed the Baltimore Colts 31-28, third and deep in their own half, seconds remained. John Madden called a time out, during which the ice-cool Ken Stabler told his coach that “the fans sure are getting their money’s worth today.” He then sauntered back on to the pitch and, backtracking furiously and on the verge of being sacked, launched a high arrow of a pass straight upfield toward Dave Casper, who was cutting in toward the posts from the right. As the pass sailed over his head, Casper, who was nicknamed Ghost, flipped his head back like Pac Man to locate the ball and, running at full tilt under pressure from two Colts, swallowed it whole. The 42-yard pass saw Casper reach the 14-yard line and the play set up a field goal, which levelled the scores and took the game into overtime. Casper was once again the hero during sudden death, sealing the deal with a touchdown with 14 minutes left in the second period of overtime; the game is still the third-longest in NFL history.
So there you go... movies, songs and sports. Merry Christmas!