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*.

 

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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…

 

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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.

 

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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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