Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Pick N' Grab Christmas

It's Christmas time in Bel Air and the stuck-up attitude of most of it's residents is making Will and Ashley loose their Christmas spirit. That's the premise behind the first season Christmas special from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. All the grown ups seem to have forgotten what the season is all about so it's up to Will to help spread some good old fashioned Christmas cheer. After a quick visit to the Pick N' Grab, Will and Ashley load up on cheapo Christmas decorations and enough lights to make the Banks' residence noticeable from the closest highway. As a result a mob of outraged neighbors shows up at their door in protest against Will and Ashley's festive decor. The episode features a cameo appearance by Evander Hollyfield (year's before Tyson bit off a chunk of his ear), who drops by to put Will in his place after the Prince insults him over the the phone. The episode originally aired on NBC the night of December 10, 1990.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. The show still holds up and that's probably why we can still catch it multiple times a day on various cable networks.
During the show's run the writers were able to put together some really good Christmas episodes which ranged from the extremely jokey (such as this episode) to the more touching ones such as the episode in which little Nicky is set to have his christening during Christmas time and Will is determined to give him the perfect gift by convincing Boyz II Men to sing at the ceremony.

In the coming days we'll be taking a look back at some of the top Christmas episodes from our favorite sitcoms, but let's Kick things off with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air's episode # 15: "Deck the Halls".

If you'd like to catch this episode on T.V. tune in to Nick at Nite Friday December 19 @ 3:00 A.M. or TBS on Tuesday December 23 @ 9:00 A.M.

Siskel & Ebert review A Christmas Story...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Yule Log with a twist...

The Yule log is a traditional TV program in which audiences are treated to holiday music along with the image of a burning log in a fireplace. It has become a Christmas tradition and its origins date back to 1967 when it was first broadcast on New York's WPIX. The idea was originated by station CEO Fred M. Thrower, who was inspired by an animated Coca-Cola commercial a year earlier which featured Santa Claus at a fireplace. Thrower considered the idea of the yule log as a televised Christmas gift to those residents of New York city who lived in apartments and homes without fireplaces. In 1994 we got a special variety on the Yule Log tradition thanks to Mtv and its lovable slackers. Here it is for all to enjoy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas in Hollis

Originally released back in 1987, RUN DMC's Christmas in Hollis is one of the greatest Christmas music videos ever. The song was included on the 1987 A Very Special Christmas album, the first in a series of compilations to benefit the Special Olympics. The video is a great example of what made music videos in the 80's so much fun, it actually has a story and it plays like a short film. Plus the performers don't take themselves too seriously, unlike the over the top performance music videos we get nowadays which have no story elements to them and are nothing more than self gratifying junk. I love the look of the video, even the cheesy FX work for Santa's sleigh flying across the sky. Santa's control room with the Simon game used as a naughty or nice switch is awesome. The old school video composites and the colorful production design instantly take you back in time to the late 80s. Here it is in all its glory.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Christmas Story Gift Guide

It wouldn't be Christmas time without Ralphie Parker and company. "A Christmas Story" has truly become a classic over the past quarter of a century, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. To celebrate the film's 25th anniversary tons of licensees have put out a wide assortment of toys, collectibles, and memorabilia featuring the film's memorable characters. Here's a run down of some of the best gifts you'll find this season for the "Christmas Story" fan on your gift list.

Here's where it all began, in the writings of Jean Sheperd. This edition of "A Christmas Story" gathers together the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. You'll find young Ralphie Parker’s shocking discovery that his decoder ring is really a device to promote Ovaltine; his mother and father’s pitched battle over the fate of a lascivious leg lamp; the unleashed and unnerving savagery of Ralphie’s duel in the snow with the odious bullies Scut Farkas and Grover Dill; and, most crucially, Ralphie’s unstoppable campaign to get Santa—or anyone else—to give him a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Even if the whole adult world is telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”?

The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story, previously published in the larger collections In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, come together perfectly to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and make us laugh.

Warner has released a new ultimate edition of the film on both DVD and Blu-Ray. The discs themselves are the same as previous releases. No new special features here, but what you do get is a tin chock full of goodies including a recipe book inspired by the film, cookie cutters, and an apron with the film's logo.

The Blu-Ray edition comes with a strand of the infamous leg lamps from the film.
If you don't yet own the film this is the perfect edition to bring home.

The Parker family is probably one of the most memorable families we have ever met in the history of cinema. Now you can recreate your favorite scenes from the film this Holiday season with these highly detailed and beautifully sculpted figures from the collectibles toys experts at NECA. Available as a set including the entire family or as individual pieces.

You can also find a figure of Flick with his tongue attached to the tree just like in the movie.

The notorious piece of home decor that almost tore apart the Parker family is now available to own as a 20 " desk lamp. Made by the folks at NECA with a great deal of attention to detail. This lamp is the closest to having the real deal without putting down hundreds of dollars for the specialty limited edition full sized replicas.

What better stocking stuffer than this tin full A Christmas Story band-aids? Three different designs are included.

It seems like there is a monopoly game for every popular film or TV franchise that has ever existed so it makes total sense for Ralphie and the Parkers to join in the fun. If you still don't own any version of Monopoly this is the ideal one to get for this holiday season.

Available by the truck load at your local K-Mart is this wonderful gigantic tin chock full of delicious cheap pop corn. The tin is very durable and you can definitively keep it after eating all the corn to store your favorite "A Christmas Story" collectibles. Includes butter, cheddar, and caramel pop corn.

Playing cards are always fun and if they feature Ralphie and company then they are probably the perfect stocking stuffer. 2 decks are included inside the tin featuring black and white images straight from the film as well as Parker family portraits.

Why wait for Christmas every year to spend time with the Parkers? Now you can have them on your wall all year long with this 2009 wall calendar featuring multiple stills from the film. Available now at your local bookseller.


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