Of Christmas and Danny Thomas too....
I was just thinking of what a great man Danny Thomas was. Yes, that Danny Thomas, the actor, comedian, star of “Make a Room For Daddy” – yes a true visionary and a maker of miracles. Thomas founded in 1962 the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Since its inception, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world, continuing the mission of finding cures and saving children. Danny Thomas believed “no child should die in the dawn of life”. What one man can do with his life that effects so many – absolutely amazing- a true Christmas miracle.
And…..,thanks to Thomas as a television producer pioneer ( along with Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Spelling among his partners) brought forth several of my all time favorite television programs such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD, Gomer Pyle USMC and The Mod Squad – thank you Danny I still enjoy these Gifts!!! But how come there is no programs like these anymore?
In fact at Christmas there is so much I miss during this period – such as all the wonderful holiday specials. Thomas’s own “Dick Van Dykes Show” had a classic holiday episode, you know the one- where Dick, Laura, Buddy, Sally and Mel Cooley perform on the “Alan Brady Show” – Sally sings the classic “Santa Send me a Fellah”, the cast does a chorale medley of Alan Brady’s name, Laura and Dick do a song and dance as two Santa’s helpers and even little Richie sings a rendition of The Little Drummer Boy” – wonderful!! classic television that made you feel like the holidays wrapped up in a bow.
Mostly, I miss the annual Christmas Variety shows with such hosts including, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Bob Hope, Dean Martin The Carpenters, and the King Family.
Some say the Christmas Variety show is out of vogue- I say bah-humbug to that! This weekend in fact I will be attending the Donny and Marie Christmas Show at Mohegan a Sun – I hear the show is sold out!! Television Specials-thank God that they still show include -“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty The Snowman” and a “Charlie Brown Christmas”- why can’t you show us some of the old classic Christmas variety shows–?? If there is one thing I want this Christmas is the return of the variety show- are you hearing me you Hollywood TV producers- give us that next Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson or even Ed Sullivan. And what about all those great TV comedians….I still show The Jack Benny and Red Skelton Holiday specials and laugh each time I see them!!
By the way– are you hearing me Hollywood- how about a bio movie based on one of the following funny ladies of our times: Totie Fields, Moms Mabley, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers or Gilda Radner. Can you imagine even a TV series based on these five women-? Instant rating hit!! I still get a lol from each one of them-one of Moms famous quotes- “Ain’t nothin’ an ol’ man can do but bring me a message from a young one.” or this one from Totie- “I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is two weeks.” Diller gave us this classic – “Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered. What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” And Marlo Thomas, star of the classic television show “That Girl” and daughter of Danny once said- “Our many different cultures notwithstanding, there’s something about the holidays that makes the planet communal. Even nations that do not celebrate Christmas can’t help but be caught up in the collective spirit of their neighbors, as twinkling lights dot the landscape and carols fill the air. It’s an inspiring time of the year.”
Wishing you all a very Merry Yuletide and a Happy Turning of the Calendar!!