"Yule Log 2.0
re-imagines the traditional Video Yule Log* through a collection of short videos by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders (66 collaborators making 55 segments). With the controls in the upper-right corner, you can fit a continuous loop of one or all of the videos in a browser window or full-screen.*First televised in 1966 by New York's WPIX-TV to provide its audience with some pleasant, noncommercial viewing on the holiday (and most of the broadcast crew some time off)
In honor of Christmas, Splitsider's Mike Drucker
runs down twenty Christmas TV episodes, new and old. It all starts with The Dick Van Dyke Show... [more inside]
If you lived in Canada in the 80s and 90s, then the holiday season meant one thing
: Give like Santa
, save like Scrooge.
Early in 1903, the success
of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz
got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland
, was a rousing success
. Thirty years later it was made into a movie
starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach
. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst
production. [more inside]
For television stations around the world, December is the season of the Christmas tape
. Unlike ordinary blooper reels, Christmas tapes (also known as goof tapes) are produced as entertainment for the staff Christmas party, with the intention that they will never be seen by the general public. Tropes of the genre include
cruel practical jokes
, after-hours misuse of the studio's green screen
, in-jokes about unreliable equipment
, sarcastic assessments of colleagues' work habits
, and the usual piece-to-camera screwups
. The B-B-C's tradition of in-house production, however, has ensured that its Christmas tapes contain such oddities as indecent daleks
, Nazi weather presenters
and on one occasion, a rather bad
. Most links mildly NSFW.
This month the ClassicShowbiz Twitter feed
is linking to all kinds of classic Christmas themed TV episodes, including Andy Kaufman
, Sanford and Son
, Welcome Back Kotter
, The Jeffersons
, Mr. Ed
, Fat Albert
, Alfred Hitchcock
, Twilight Zone
, Bob Newhart
, Happy Days
, That Girl
, All in the Family
, and much more with more to come.
A Matter of Loaf and Death
is the new BBC Christmas short from Nick Park and Aardman
. In the mock murder mystery, Wallace and Gromit
start a new bakery business, Top Bun
. The short, Park's first since 1995, will introduce a new love interest for Wallace, Piella Bakewell
, a bread enthusiast.
A Yule Log for your iPod.
If you don't live in the New York area, and you have one of those fancy video iPods, you can now download some holiday cheer from Channel 11. (Their Yule Log phenomenon was previously discussed here
.) For more information about Yule Log traditions, wikipedia features in depth articles on both the traditional
and the modern
. [Inspired by logging out of gmail.]
Merry Christmas, Interweb!
Though it's become part of a larger media conglomerate, the Chicago T.V. station famous for Bozo the Clown
has dusted off some old footage
from its archives. Among the goodies converted to Flash format are a Frosty the Snowman cartoon which inspired a bit of online detective work
, as well as a more recent holiday favorite, The Yule Log
'tis the season for ... Rankin-Bass TV specials! The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass
is a fan-site devoted to the distinctive animation of Arthur Rankin, Jr
and Jules Bass
. In addition to extensive and interesting background information
on your favorite Christmas specials (like Rudolph
), you can also learn about lesser-known specials
such as The Ballad of Smokey the Bear
. The site also includes some rare video clips
, including a pencil-test from Frosty the Snowman
. There is also a very complete section on the Rankin-Bass TV series, Thundercats
. Please also see additional note inside....
Commentary on the state of morning TV?
A New York TV station ran a two hour video of a burning piece of wood on Christmas day and it beat Good Morning America, etc. in the Nielsens.
Was Christmas TV really ever all that special?
'Off The Telly' reviews three decades of Christmas Day television in Britain. "It's funny...that Christmas time is actually an excuse for some of the worst TV atrocities of the year to be inflicted upon us. Christmas telly does not equate with quality. And yet, never does TV become a more integral part of our own family or personal routines and traditions. And never are we so receptive to a gathering of disparate middle-of-the-road celebrities and their stale party pieces." And for the ultra-cynic, TV-Go-Home's Charlie Booker presents an alternative schedule