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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 13: Charlie Brown. Of Course.
Posted on 12.25.11 by Widge @ 12:01 am
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Charlie Brown and Linus with the Christmas Tree

Well, here we are again at the end of another year of 13 Days of Xmas. We hope you've enjoyed our little snack trays of holiday madness. As is tradition, when we get here, we watch what is a classic that should be viewed once a year--much like Night of the Living Dead should be viewed, and is encouraged at the end of each 32 Days of Halloween.

It's A Charlie Brown Christmas. Enjoy. Hope you and yours have an excellent holiday season with the appropriately sized self-medication of your choice.
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 12: Christmas With Johnny Cash
Posted on 12.24.11 by Widge @ 9:42 am
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Johnny Cash

As we're here on the last night before the Big Day (and I think we all know what's coming then), it's time to hit some more awesome music. This time we're going to 1970 and an episode of The Johnny Cash Show. Later in the 70s he would have a string of Christmas specials (and if you haven't tried them, they're pretty fantastic--available on DVD), but this predates those.

If you're pressed for time because you're prepping for dinner or for a barrage of family or whatever, please do yourself a favor and finish the first segment of it so you can at least check out Roy Orbison doing "Pretty Paper." Orbison always sounds amazing but he sounds even better than normal and I can't put my finger on why.

And then as a bonus, a performance of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day/Silent Night" from 1996. Awesome.
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 11: Fun With British Radio Shows
Posted on 12.23.11 by Widge @ 9:07 am
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Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe from The Goon Show

As we were looking around for what to do next during 13 Days of Xmas, I saw that last year we had taken a moment to offer up some Christmas goodies from I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, the mother of all panel show mayhem. So looking to British radio (much as we've done elsewhere and recently, too), I've decided to throw you a couple of episodes.

First up, we have David Mitchell chairing a 2008 special Christmas episode of The Unbelievable Truth. Even if you're not familiar with how the show works, you'll catch on quickly. It's brilliant simplicity and, of course, it doesn't make it over here stateside in any form.

Also, a Christmas episode of The Goon Show, which was Harry Secombe being flanked by the vocal stylings of Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan with the results being utter madness. This episode was, from what I can read, recorded in 1956 for broadcast outside England. It didn't get broadcast in England until 1988. From what I can tell, this isn't available stateside in any form either.

Enjoy!
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 10: A Mel Blanc Christmas!
Posted on 12.22.11 by Widge @ 7:02 am
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Mel Blanc in a suit

So as we march down to the Big Day, I find myself--as is usual with these things--finding a plethora of bits rushing in for room...and some hard choices must be made. However, it occurs to me that we haven't thrown the spotlight previously on the man and the legend, Mel Blanc, and his smattering of holiday classics.

They are "Yah Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree," "The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Beeg" and the Bugs-driven "Christmas Chopsticks."

All of these are available on the Greatest Hits release as an MP3 download.

Previously on Day 10, we've been hanging out with The Honeymooners, wrestlers, people who get really serious about Xmas lights and Christmas in the future!
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 9: Abbott and Costello!
Posted on 12.21.11 by Widge @ 11:34 am
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Abbott and Costello: Christmas Stocking

It's good to go old school classic comedy on any day, but Day 9 looks to be the perfect place for it. We open with Costello leading the group in a stirring rendition of "White Christmas." And just when you think the unexpected is happening, the expected happens and all turns out well in the end. There is a particular line from the Phantom of the Opera musical--if you hear Michael Crawford shouting it towards the end of this first clip, your enjoyment will be at least doubled.

Then we go to "The Abbott and Costello Program" and their Christmas Shopping episode. And yes, I would have liked the whole thing to be intact--but musical interludes have been cut by the original poster.
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 8: Holiday Music That Doesn't Suck
Posted on 12.20.11 by Widge @ 7:45 am
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MXPX: Christmas Punk Rawk

As an example of what the Christmas Eve and Day playlist would be on WIDG-FM, and since we ran out of time to do a proper Christmas Music Monday (and since we tackled music previously on Day 8--literally tackled it), we kick off our holiday listening party with the Billy May Orchestra and a fantastic mambo version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." And I don't normally just post videos that are mostly static, but this is so festive and so perfect for the song, well, I couldn't resist:
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 7: Claymation Christmas
Posted on 12.19.11 by Widge @ 7:14 am
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Claymation Christmas

Since last year we were checking out the Raggedy Ann and Andy Christmas Special, seems like another one is in order. So we'll go with Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas.

The name Will Vinton might or might not mean anything to you--but even if the name doesn't ring a bell, his style will fairly quickly into watching this. Yes, this is the man who brought you the singing claymated California Raisins (they appear later in the proceedings of this vid), among tons of other stuff. This is a holiday special that originally aired in 1988. And wound up winning an Emmy. It's two of Vinton's characters taking you through a number of Christmas carols, with a number of bizarre visuals, like a walrus ice ballet and Quasimodo conducting a bell choir made up of...well, bells. Enjoy.
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 6: Krampus!
Posted on 12.18.11 by Widge @ 9:21 am
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Santa Claus and Krampus on a motorcycle

St. Nick and Krampus. They Fight Crime.

Krampus Fever appears to be taking off this year and I'm not sure why. I thought everybody knew about Krampus, playing Hyde to Santa Claus' Jekyll. It's fairly simple: if you're a good kid, Santa brings a sack and takes toys out of it to give to you. If you're a bad kid, Krampus takes you and puts you in his sack and takes you home, where he will take you home and eat you. Or turn you into paste. Or bury you in Rox's crawlspace. Whatever he's going to do, you're not going to like it.

And we worry we're traumatizing kids if we threaten to call Santa Claus to snitch on them. Bah.
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011, Day 5 - Commercials (and Commercialism) Run Rampant!
Posted on 12.17.11 by Widge @ 10:32 am
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Polaroid Christmas commercial

Day 5 has traditionally been a day to review some classic commercials--some famous, some infamous. This ever since way back on Year One we gave you our Top 10 favorite Xmas commercials of all time. But now it's time to sit back, relax, and remember a simpler time when you actually had to watch commercials and couldn't just skip them on your DVR.

Speaking of a simpler, more innocent time...let's kick off with something you are almost guaranteed not to find under the tree anymore:
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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13 Days of Xmas 2011 - Day 4: Holiday Hocus Pocus
Posted on 12.16.11 by Widge @ 7:51 am
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Stephen Fry QI Christmas

Last year we did some more Brit Christmas TV fun, bringing you the monster-sized Christmas Whose Line Is It Anyway? episode from their second season. And led off from a bit out of the American version. So keeping with that them, we turn again to the best show the BBC thinks Americans aren't smart enough to watch: QI.

Yes, it's true: the BBC iPlayer is due to hit our shores any day now. And when it does, if you are a Anglophile worth a damn, get it. I know it's iPad-only, but buy it anyway. Seriously. Otherwise, how will we prove to them that we can recognize good television? I mean, they were 100% right about how nobody gets Doctor Who over here...right? Rrright.

This magic-focused holiday party features Sir Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and...I dunno, some kid. I know him from somewhere...
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Categorized as: 13 Days of Xmas
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