Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Television Holidays

Now that so many of my favorite oldies television shows are on DVD, I have a real opportunity to enjoy entire seasons at a time. The same way that football aficionados watch games for hours, I can spend an entire afternoon with the Andersons or the Cleavers or Lucy or the residents of Mayberry.

And amongst my favorite episodes are the ones that show those familiar TV families celebrating the traditional Thanksgivings and Christmases of their eras. Bewitched had them every year and some of the most memorable Father Knows Best’s were holiday tearjerkers. Of course no one could throw a holiday party like Mary Tyler Moore, although Rhoda didn’t seem to do much celebrating of Hanukkah.

It seems as though I have a vague memory of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson having some holiday episodes, but I’m not sure, and I don’t remember any on I love Lucy, even after Little Ricky came along.

What is really strange is the shows that didn’t celebrate holidays. I don’t remember Mayberry decorating Main Street or Andy and the family around a Christmas tree or carving a Thanksgiving turkey. With Leave It To Beaver being the story of a boy growing up in Middle America, there should have been some major Christmas storylines.

Although I enjoy the holiday stories, as I get older I find myself watching the backgrounds – the sets. I look for familiar clothes, all the dads and sons in suits and ties, the visiting ladies in hats, the Christmas tree ornaments that I remember, the old big-light sets, the traditional Thanksgiving table settings, old kitchens and old telephones.

So, in the end it may not be about the shows, but rekindling memories of my own childhood.

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