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Christmas Specials in TV Guide (1970s-80s)

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I’ve combed through a few back issues of TV Guide to bring you some memories of Christmas past.  Sometimes the holiday specials were great (ex. A Charlie Brown Christmas – first aired in 1965), but more often than not, they were just a gathering of celebs-of-the-day singing carols and telling bad jokes.  Take for instance…

 

tv-guide-dec-8-14 1979

TV Guide – Dec 8-14, 1979

 

Hey, at the time, we loved it.  A special featuring Donny & Marie and cast from Laverne & Shirley, C.H.i.P.s, and Eight Is Enough – count me in!  As cheesy as these specials could be, I do miss having them around each December.

 

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TV Guide – Dec 1-7, 1984

 

Somehow I can’t see Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton pulling off a scene set in WWII London.

 

tv-guide-dec-4-10 1976

TV Guide – Dec. 4-10, 1976

 

The king of Vegas – before the plastic surgery.

 

tv-guide-dec-8-14 1979

TV Guide – Dec. 8-14, 1979

 

This may be the greatest of them all: Judy “Send in the Clowns” Collins, Doug Henning – the most cringeworthy magician in history, David Soul of Starsky & Hutch, the one-and-only Coal Miner’s Daughter, the banjo picker from Hee-Haw, and Hugh Heffner’s hot Playmate wife.  This is truly what Christmas is all about.

 

tv-guide-dec-12-18-1981

TV Guide – Dec. 12-18, 1981

 

Can your mind even comprehend how awesome a Commodore’s Christmas would be?

 

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TV Guide – Dec. 19-25, 1981

 

I have a hunch why Mr. Hope chose Loni Anderson and Brooke Shields to co-host his special… that sly dog.

 

tv-guide-dec-8-14 1979

TV Guide – Dec. 8-14, 1979

 

“Come to Memphis and meet men who will spend the birthday of the Prince of Peace in the bitterness of a federal prison”  Happy Holidays!

 

tv-guide-dec-17-23-1988

TV Guide – Dec. 17-23, 1988

 

Featuring the stud of the late 80’s, Don Johnson – plus a LA Dodger’s pitcher (Orel Hershiser) and a bevy of beauties to keep that randy Bob Hope happy.

 

tv-guide-dec-17-23-1988

TV Guide – Dec. 17-23, 1988

 

I love John Denver, but I can’t tell a lie – he recorded perhaps the worst Christmas song of all time: Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas.  It’s just as awful as it sounds.

 

tv-guide-dec-8-14 1979

TV Guide – Dec. 8-14, 1979

 

Bob’s at it again; this time with  the Rose Queen and the chicks from Police Woman and One Day at a Time.  That man was unstoppable.

 

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TV Guide – Dec. 17-23, 1988

 

Holy crap – look at Pee-Wee’s guest lineup: Oprah, k.d. lang, Joan Rivers, Zza Zza, Grace Jones, Dinah Shore – what a motley bunch!

Let’s move away from celebrity-packed Christmas variety-show specials, and take a look at some other brands of holiday specials: namely TV movies and animated specials…

 

tv-guide-dec-17-23-1988

TV Guide – Dec. 17-23, 1988

 

I can’t explain exactly why, but this special was epic.  I think it was because an entire generation of Gen X’rs had grown up on Brady reruns, and the idea of seeing the Brady kids grown-up was just something that could not be missed.  I know I was watching with rapt attention.

 

tv-guide-dec-8-14-1984

TV Guide – Dec. 8-14, 1984

 

Starring “Hot Lips” from M*A*S*H*.

 

tv-guide-dec-17-23-1988-5

TV Guide – Dec. 17-23, 1988

 

Not to sound like a scrooge – but just kill me now.  “Time to forget, time to forgive, time to love”… and time to throw up a little in my mouth.

 

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TV Guide – Dec. 18-22, 1978

Unless Debbie breaks out into “You Light Up My Life” when she gets the comb, I’m not interested.

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TV Guide – Dec. 18-22, 1978

 

For more special Christmas episodes of your favorite TV shows from the 1960s-1980s, click here.

 

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TV Guide – Dec. 18-22, 1978

 

I’m sure it was a fine holiday special.. but I’ll take the California Raisins Christmas instead…

 

tv-guide-dec-17-23-1988-7

TV Guide – Dec. 17-23, 1988

 

In case you didn’t know – Christmas Comes to Willow Creek stars both of the Duke boys from Dukes of Hazzard.  I wonder if there were any car chases in this holiday special.

 

tv-guide-dec-1-7-1984-2

TV Guide, Dec. 1-7, 1984

 

Does anyone out there remember the insanity that was The Cabbage Patch Kids obsession in America.  For some reason, parents became rabidly obsessed with getting their kids these dolls – even if it meant killing strangers in cold blood.

 

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TV Guide, Dec. 8-14, 1979

 

TV Guide, Dec. 8-14, 1979

TV Guide, Dec. 8-14, 1979

tv-guide-dec-11-17-1982

TV Guide – Dec. 11-17, 1982

 

Why is Pac-Man washing Santa’s feet?  Has St. Nick fired all the elves and made the Pac family his personal slaves?  Stay tuned.

 

tv-guide-dec-12-18-1981

TV Guide – Dec. 12-18, 1981

tv-guide-dec-12-18-1981

TV Guide – Dec. 12-18, 1981

tv-guide-dec-12-18-1981

TV Guide – Dec. 12-18, 1981

 

Well, that’s about all the Christmas TV goodness I can handle in one sitting.  Until next time – Happy Holidays!

 

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  • timdub70

    I think the “hot babes” on Bob Hope specials goes back to when he was doing USO shows where he would bring on a beautiful young star and say, “This is who you’re fighting for, boys!” And all those exclamation points after the stars’ names on the ABC Christmas Specials!

  • Steve Mills

    The most cringeworthy magician was the other guy, the one who thought he was all cool and amazing. Um, oh, David Copperfield. So punchworthy. At least Henning fit the times.

    I wonder why I got a sudden flash of Loni Anderson and Brooke Shields naked, rolling around together. I’d better go think about that and figure it out.