Monday, December 06, 2010

Vintage Christmas on DVD

I've been enjoying the holy heck out of this 4 disc DVD collection, Holiday TV Classics. The fine folks at Mill Creek Entertainment have gathered up 49 episodes of vintage Christmas television programing from the 1950's & 60's, slapped it on 4 DVDs and put it out for only $9.99 MSRP. If you pick it up at WalMart it's actually only $5.00!

I love old television, especially stuff produced for the holiday season. I wasn't around in the 1950's, but it seems that Christmas meant just a little bit more back then. I guess the country had been through some rough times and the holiday season was a really special time to slow down and appreciate everyone and everything around you. Anywho, this collection of old TV shows is great for someone like me who just loves the history of television. The footage on most of these shows is top notch and the audio is also fantastic for material that hasn't been remastered or probably preserved very well.

Now, I haven't watched all 49 episodes...yet. But so far what I've watched has been very enjoyable. Most of the original sponsor cards and announcements are still in place, and some of the shows still have their original commercial breaks still intact. The Bell Telephone Company sponsors Telephone Time, which I was expecting to be a game show but was actually a dramatic anthology series which ran on CBS for two seasons. The episode on this disc is called "A Picture of the Magi," a creative reworking of O'Henry's classic tale.

I, of course, also enjoyed a holiday themed episode of Date With The Angels one of Betty White's earliest network roles. The episode take place mostly in a department store and for my money there isn't a thing much more Christmasy than a 1950's department store at Christmas! From the looks of old movies and shows that I've seen, Toy Trains were the ONLY toys available to boys in the 50's.

There are plenty of shows that you have heard of before sprinkled among the set's 4 discs. There's several episodes of The Beverly Hillbilllies, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Dragnet and The Jack Benny Program. Holiday TV Classics is a real treat for the shows that you can't readily find on DVD...or VHS for that matter: Screen Writers Playhouse, The Paul Winchell Show, Dear Phoebe, and Racket Squad - just to name a few.

I watched the Lux Video Theatre episode, which I later discovered was a redramatization of the movie Holiday Affair. I also enjoyed discovering The Bob Cummings Show, which was racy for it's time but is now as tame as a Disney Channel Show (just more entertaining.)

This is a great collection of material that will provide nights of entertainment throughout the season. Look for Holiday TV Classics at WalMart in the $5.00 DVD section. At almost 21 hours of vintage Christmas television, that's around twenty three cents per hour for your entertainment dollar. Beat that!

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