"Rankin/Bass made 18 specials, of varying length and ambition, between 1964 and 1985. Nearly all of these films revolve around the performance of some Christmas song or another. Nearly all of them deal with the crippling scars of childhood shame. And nearly all of them are completely off the rails insane." Vox's Todd VanDerWerff watches, and ranks, all 18 Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials.
Until Sunday, 12th January, Paul Reubens, aka PeeWee Herman, has released the PeeWee's Playhouse Christmas Special on YouTube for free holiday viewing. [more inside]
Bing Crosby is something of the unofficial "classic voice of the Christmas season," but his most popular piece in recent years is the unlikely duet from 1977, the same year he passed away. The Washington Post provides the odd story of holiday harmony, how David Bowie joined Crosby at the piano for their duet, "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy". If you like the classics, here's some Bing over the years: a fan-made abbreviation of Frank Sinatra's Christmas Show from 1957, Bing sings "White Christmas" in 1961, Bing & Kathryn Crosby take you on a trip to "Christmas Island" from his 1971 Crosby family special, and from his final Christmas special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, Bing and Twiggy singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." If you'd like a full period piece, here's an all-star 1958 USO Christmas show (program history and overview). If that's all a bit too sweet for you, let Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, June Carter-Cash, Jessi Colter, John Carter-Cash, and more regale you in the Christmas On The Road TV Special (1984).
With the 2nd round NHL series between Nashville and Vancouver turning into the sleeper goalie duel everyone expected, superfans step up to create a better storyline: A Garden Gnome vs. Two Guys In Full-Body Spandex. [more inside]
Maria Bamford's One-Hour Homemade Christmas Special! by Maria Bamford, stand-up comic and pretty much a native speaker in Pretend Tiger. FYI, if you've heard some of those jokes before... it's a gift! She made it for us, for Christmas, to celebrate her success at selling out this year.