TV Guide #11: December 19-26, 1981

Let's check out what was on the Boob Tube 34 years ago.  Tis the season for sappy Christmas specials and Love Boat level celebs bringing us yuletide cheer.  Enjoy.

Nothing says Christmas like Bruce Dern in a hot tub (with a script written by Jerry Lee Lewis).

The holidays are upon us.  To usher in the season, we have Gerald Ford at Schuller's Crystal Cathedral, Lawrence Welk doing "Jing-a-Ling", Mr. Magoo as Scrooge, and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"... followed by The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Loved me some Witch Mountain back in the day. I don't recall "Mr. Krueger's Christmas"  whatsoever.  Also note Bo Duke hosts a "Solid Gold" featuring Paul Williams and Loverboy.

I daresay the airwaves were even more saturated with Christmas in 1981 than today.

It's not exactly a holiday classic, but neither is Rod Stewart singing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" with Kim Carnes.  I think I'll take "The Curse of Bigfoot".

What would the holidays be without a Bob Hope Special? (Featuring Loni Anderson no less.)  I actually am very fond of The Shop Around the Corner - a great little film.

Also, take note of the animated Little Rascals Christmas special.  I'd like to see that.

See a Specialist tonight.... a specialist in the art of love.  Stay classy, San Diego.

As Kirk Lazarus once said, you should never go full retard.

I come from an Italian family.  I distinctly remember watching this Pavarotti special as if it were yesterday.  I even remember this odd caricature.

This seems an odd mix: Teddy Pendergrass with Oral Roberts and the Krofft Puppets.

Well, we've had a relentless stream of holiday specials for the past week, and now that Christmas has finally arrived we get very un-Christmas episodes of Falcon Crest, Benson, and Bosom Buddies, For good measure, we have several un-Christmas movies.  Go figure.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Trip down memory lane. Happy Holidays!

  2. I love your references to "Anchorman" and "Tropic Thunder". Totally fitting.

  3. voiceofthe70sDecember 06, 2015

    I notice that even then the classic "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" was relegated to being shoved on at 5 PM instead of the prime time glory still enjoyed by "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty the Snowman" and other animated specials. The other indignity it suffers is that when it IS shown these days, the beginning and ending framing device, indicating that the characters are actors in a play, is invariably omitted, lessening the effect greatly. It's too bad. It really is one of the great animated holiday specials with music by the same writers who wrote the music for "Funny Girl". I also love the "crossover" employed by this animated special. The cartoon character Gerald McBoing Boing (remember HIM?) plays the actor playing Tiny Tim.

  4. Interesting that the artist gave M. Rooney in the "Bill" ad his old Andy Hardy hair, but in the actual photo from the TV Movie he is actually somewhat bald and looking his age! lol

  5. That caricature of Pavarotti looks like a cartoon spider head. With testicles.

    Yes, The Shop Around the Corner is a fantastic film. Although the toadie kid is really annoying, especially later when he's a big shot telling the newbie how things work.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Reminds of the TV Guide cover that still haunts me to this day.


  6. I'll never forget the "Bill" movie! I was home on college break and saw it with my dad. I have to say I loved it at the time. I don't know if it could possibly stand up to today's PC standards. I believe Rooney won an Emmy for the role, which he deserved. But the era of going "full retard" ended with Hoffman in "Rainman." Good riddance. Kinda cringe-worthy to see these performances today.

  7. Actually, the Rod Stewart concert was great. It was done live. I still remember the night it was on, and still listen to the soundtrack that I recorded. I had no VCR then. And yes, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is still great to listen to. I don't care for the bookends that show it's all a play.

  8. Bill won a Golden Globe and even a Peabody award. Mickey Rooney did indeed win an Emmy.

  9. Al Hirshfeld is the cartoonist who drew the Pavarotti cartoon. A bit of trivia, he admitted he drew most of his cartoons using a tiny pencil and pocket notebook, while the notebook was in his front pocket. He died in 2003.

    BTW, who drew that picture of Santa and the little kid for Channel 4...an elementary school kid.

    I hope Oral Roberts had Teddy Pendergrass sing "Turn Out The Lights" to the Lennon Sisters.

    I've never seen Mr. Kruegar's Christmas but I remember it was promoted to death in TV Guide when I was a kid.