...Those of you whose cable providers carry getTV have a real treat in store tonight: HAPPY HOLIDAYS WITH BING AND FRANK, a 1957 Christmas special directed by Sinatra. It airs at 10:00 Eastern time. This is one of my favorite Christmas DVDs, and getTV sent along the info that this is the first time the show has aired on TV in over a decade. There's some awkward patter in between songs, but for the most part the show is pure music, one great song after another with the 20th Century's two greatest male singers. The show will be repeated on December 12th, which would have been Sinatra's 99th birthday.
...Bing Crosby is the subject of a new American Masters program, BING CROSBY REDISCOVERED, which premieres on public television this Tuesday, December 2nd. Susan King has more in the Los Angeles Times.
...Robby has a list of gift suggestions for classic film fans at Dear Old Hollywood.
...The 2009 release CHRISTMAS WITH THE KING FAMILY now has a sequel, A KING FAMILY CHRISTMAS VOL. 2. Certain to provide a hefty dose of nostalgia for some of us! Watching their specials is a very early Christmas memory.
...The Universal Vault Collection and Olive Films have spread holiday cheer among classic film fans with recent announcements of new releases. New Universal Vault DVDs include long-wanted titles such as Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott in the Jerome Kern musical HIGH, WIDE, AND HANDSOME (1937), which I reviewed in 2010; Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan in THE MOON'S OUR HOME (1936); Fred MacMurray and Ray Milland in William Wellman's MEN WITH WINGS (1938); Dorothy Lamour and Ray Milland in HER JUNGLE LOVE (1938); and Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones in LOVE LETTERS (1945). There's a complete list at ClassicFlix.
Olive Films releases coming to both DVD and Blu-ray on January 20th include Joan Leslie, Audrey Totter, John Lund, and Brian Donlevy in Allan Dwan's THE WOMAN THEY ALMOST LYNCHED (1953); Kent Taylor and Petula Clark in TRACK THE MAN DOWN (1955); Steve Cochran, Lizabeth Scott, and Herbert Marshall in THE WEAPON (1956); and Dan Duryea and Patric Knowles in WORLD FOR RANSOM (1954). More details at ClassicFlix here and here.
...Fellow TCM fan Paula Guthat, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting at the TCM Classic Film Festival, owns a movie theater, Cinema Detroit. The Detroit Free Press ran an article on Paula last week. Yesterday Paula was one of four classic movie fans who helped Ben Mankiewicz introduce films on Turner Classic Movies.
August I mentioned that the Dukes of Hazzard boys, John Schneider and Tom Wopat, used Kickstarter to raise the funding to produce a Christmas album. That album is now available on CD or MP3. As a particular fan of Schneider's singing, I'm getting the CD on the basis of sampling his rendition of "Silver Bells," one of my favorite Christmas tunes.
...After reading this Marc Myers column on Christmas music in the Wall Street Journal I also ordered a Rosemary Clooney album in which she sings songs from WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954).
...A follow-up on the Amazon Echo, first mentioned here in early November: a review at ZDNet calls it a "perfect 10."
TCM Movie Morlocks blog, Kimberly Lindbergs on "10 Things You Might Not Know About Rod Taylor."
...I missed a very interesting New York Post article by Lou Lumenick last month, on the Museum of Modern Art restoring TO THE LAST MAN (1933), a Randolph Scott film which includes a very early screen appearance by Shirley Temple.
...Susan King discusses the new book on Bob Hope in the Los Angeles Times. I'll be reviewing the book at a future date.
...The Hollywood Reporter says that Thanksgiving moviegoing dropped sharply. The only movie currently out which I'd like to see, THE IMITATION GAME (2014), is only playing in Los Angeles, so no movies for us this weekend.
New Beverly Cinema, and there are some really interesting screenings planned for December. My attention was caught by next weekend's double bill of the Westerns STATION WEST (1948) with Dick Powell and Jane Greer and RAMROD (1947) with Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake. Late December features the Zane Grey Western DESERT GOLD (1936) with Larry "Buster" Crabbe and a very young Robert Cummings and Marsha Hunt, paired with Gary Cooper in THE WESTERNER (1940). Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in THE EXILE (1947) is another interesting title. I hope to visit the New Beverly before too long; I think the last time I was there was the late '70s or early '80s.
...Notable Passings: Former Paramount Pictures president Frank Yablans has died at the age of 79...Famed puppeteer Bob Baker has passed away at 90. I have a vague memory of having seen one of his marionette shows as a child.
Happy Advent, and have a great week!