My Classic Christmas Entertainment Alphabet

My Christmas tree is finally up! Which for me means one thing . .  I’m finally ready to start watching Christmas movies and television shows, one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season!

To kick things off, I thought I’d do a quick and fun post to share just a few of my favorite things from the world of classic Christmas entertainment. Much like I did with my cinematic alphabet a few years ago, I chose one item for each letter of the alphabet, all of which in some way represent my favorite movies, television shows, and songs.

Following are just a few of my favorite things associated with classic Christmas entertainment:

A – Alfred Kralik – Jimmy Stewart’s character in The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

B – The Bishop’s Wife (1947) starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven (I love all three of them!)

C – Christmas in Connecticut (1945) and A Christmas Carol (1938) – I’m so excited that I get to see them on the big screen this Sunday! Check out the details here and see if they will be playing in your area.

D – Desk Set (1957) starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy – I wish my tree at home could look like this, but I think my cat would try to eat the tinsel. :-)

E Elf (2003) – Not from the classic era, but I just love this movie, and it does contain a rendition of the classic song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” originally written in 1944.

F – Fonzie – the main focus of one of my favorite Christmas television episodes, “Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas” from Season 2 of the show Happy Days

G – George C. Scott’s performance in the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol, my absolute favorite version of that movie. I think Scott’s performance is brilliant and the movie is perfection!

H – Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank – First airing in 1957, it is a must see episode from the tv series The Frank Sinatra Show, which you can read more about at Christmas TV History.

I It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – I know, a somewhat unoriginal choice, but as someone who adores Jimmy Stewart I just can’t leave this classic off my list.

J – “Jingle Bells” as sung by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. They recorded the song together in 1943 and it sold over a million copies.

K – Kris Kringle – the character played by the delightful Edmund Gwenn in the equally delightful movie, Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

L – Linus sharing the true meaning of Christmas in A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – as a person of strong faith, I just love the sweet way he recites the story of the birth of Jesus.

M – “Mistletoe and Holly” – a song written and recorded in 1957 by one of my favorite entertainers of all time, Frank Sinatra

N – Natalie Wood’s wonderful performance in Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

O – “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “O Holy Night” – three of my most favorite Christmas carols all just happen to start with the same letter.

P – Polly Parrish – Ginger Rogers’ character in Bachelor Mother (1939) and Debbie Reynolds’ character in that movie’s remake Bundle of Joy (1956)

Q – I tried and tried and tried, but could not think of anything Christmas related that starts with or even contains the letter Q. If you know of anything, let me know! :-)

R – “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” as sung by Gene Autry – my mom loved Gene Autry and his version of the song is one I’ve loved since I was a little girl.

S – “Silver Bells” when it was introduced in the movie The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) and sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell

T The Thin Man (1934) – not necessarily known as a Christmas movie, but it does contain some Christmas scenes and I couldn’t pass up the chance to include this awesome movie in my list.

U – “Up on the Housetop” as sung by Eddy Arnold – it’s not necessarily a favorite anymore as an adult, but it’s one of those songs that brings back good memories from childhood.

V – Virginia Dale who played Lila Dixon in one of my all time favorite classic holiday movies, Holiday Inn (1942) which I had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen last year.

W White Christmas, both the 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and the song made famous by Bing Crosby, which was featured in the movie Holiday Inn (1942)

X – Francis X. O’Leary – The defense attorney who defended Barbara Stanwyck’s character in the movie Remember the Night (1940) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray

Y You’ve Got Mail (1998) – a very good adaptation of one of my favorite classic Christmas movies, The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Z – S.Z. Sakall who played the character of Felix in Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

What are some of your favorites? Choose as many letters as you would like and let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you all a happy holiday season! :-)

Signature

The Best Oldies to Watch When You Need Cheering Up

Sunshine

Are there any movies you like to watch when you’re feeling happy, sad, bored, etc.? For me, it’s rarely my emotions that determine the movie I watch, although sometimes the time of year or even the weather can play a part. I mean, who doesn’t love to watch a good mystery when it’s storming outside?! Well, I do anyway! :-)

But when Frances stopped by my Facebook page and suggested I create a list of the best oldies to watch when you need cheering up, I thought it was a great idea. Even though I don’t usually pick a movie for that reason, I figured it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a few titles handy just in case I’m ever in need of some good cheer myself.

So after going through the list of all the classic movies that I have seen so far, I came up with the following movies that I think would put a smile on just about anyone’s face. (To learn more about each movie, click on the title which will bring you to its summary page on IMBd.com)

Laughter is the Best Medicine – Classic Comedies

It Happened One Night Hitchhiking Scene

It Happened One Night (1934) One of the first classic movies I ever watched, the hitchhiking scene with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert showed me early on that old movies can be just as laugh out loud funny as current movies. I never would have believed that before I discovered my love for classic film.

The Thin Man (1934) and the entire “Thin Man” series. This movie is just so much fun. I love the mix of comedy and mystery, and the wonderful chemistry between its two stars William Powell and Myrna Loy make them one of classic film’s greatest on-screen couples. Continue reading →

Favorite Oscar Winning Best Original Songs: My Top Five

Happy Oscar Sunday to those of you who enjoy watching the Academy Awards! It’s not something I watch anymore, but I do like to see who wins after they’re done if I have a favorite actor or movie that was nominated. I’m a big fan of Colin Firth, so I am pulling for him tonight. Having an increased interest in the Best Original Song category, it will also be interesting to see who wins that award this year.

With that said, it’s time for me to finish up my top ten list of favorite Oscar winning songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood. You can check out the first five in this previous post.

Here are my top five favorite songs:

5. Thanks for the Memory (1938) – Featured in the movie The Big Broadcast of 1938, music by Ralph Rainger, lyrics by Leo Robin. Originally performed in the movie by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.

I found the scene in the movie where Bob Hope and Shirley Ross sing this together to be very poignant, and that contributed to my fondness for this song. The song became a signature for Bob Hope, and he sang it many times over the years, adapting the lyrics at different times to fit the situation. Continue reading →

Collecting Vintage Movie Magazines: Featuring Photoplay

One of the things I’d like to do to complement my love of old movies is to start a movie memorabilia collection. I have to admit though that I’ve been dragging my feet on that lately. Eager to get started in some way, I decided to start by collecting a few vintage movie magazines.

There were many movie fan magazines published during the golden age of Hollywood including Photoplay, Silver Screen, Modern Screen, Motion Picture, and Movie Mirror Magazines, and you can still find copies of many of them on eBay. Magazines sold for as little as 10 cents when they were first published, but today can sell for as much as $100 or more depending on who is on the cover or how rare the magazine is.

The first magazine I decided to buy is a copy of Photoplay magazine from February 1946 featuring Ingrid Bergman on the cover. Although verifying whether the magazine is in mint condition before buying is important for serious collectors or for those who may want to sell their collections in the future, I wasn’t as concerned about condition this time. I thought it might be a good idea at first to check out a few different magazines to compare the type of content in each before buying issues that are worth more. I purchased this particular issue for $9.99, which is on the lower end for vintage movie magazines. Continue reading →