Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas thoughts from Studio 103

I'm on the air today, hosting Weekend Edition and a variety of holiday specials, and spelling our otherwise Gentile on-air staff. A little gift from the Jewish news director.

The traffic (such as it ever exists in Flagstaff, Arizona) is pretty non-existent on the way in to work at 5:30 am on Christmas morning. Not another occupied car on the road today. While some will be watching Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments" later, the ride through town was, for me, more reminiscent of Heston driving around a deserted Earth in "The Omega Man" - minus the blood-lusting zombies, anyway.

[It's now just occurred to me that "The Ten Commandments" might be more typically watched on Easter, rather than Christmas. I can't keep track of what you Gentiles watch and when.]

But speaking of movies, Christmas is always an enjoyable opportunity for me each year to go to a party and drop the conversational bombshell that I've never actually seen "It's a Wonderful Life". Unlike my ongoing boycott of "Rain Man" (too consciously Oscar-worthy), "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"(too many people telling me I have to see it), or "Caddyshack" (too many people doing bad Bill Murray imitations) I didn't start out to avoid that particular cultural commonality. It just wasn't part of the holiday tradition in the 19 Minutes household when I was growing up. As time went on, I decided that "I've never seen 'It's a Wonderful Life'" was a better conversation starter than "Hey, how about that Jimmy Stewart in 'It's a Wonderful Life'?" Plus, it moves the conversation to a discussion of iconic films we've never seen, rather than a discussion of a movie that everyone in the room but me has seen. (If that maneuver fails, my fallback position is to feign complete ignorance and express my amazement that Jon Stewart would be in a film so closely linked to Christmas, given that he's also available to work on Christmas morning, if you catch my drift.)

Lest you think I'm completely opposed to the Christmas assault on the airwaves, I'll point out that I'm a card-carrying member of the non-existent "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Fan Club. NPR's Diane Rehm Show devoted an hour to the 40th Anniversary of "ACBC" last Friday, a discussion that raised the question of whether there's something less-special about being able to watch the special on-demand via DVD, rather than having to wait for an entire year before it next aired.

And I submit that, yeah, there is something less special about throwing it in the DVD player, and missing out on all the commercials for Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars (is there another example of two different products that were always marketed together?) and Peppermint Patties (raising the question of whether York advertised Peppermint Patties on Peanuts specials purely because the candy shared a name with a Peanuts character).

On the other hand, if I watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on DVD, it lowers the risk that I might accidentally channel-surf my way over to "It's a Wonderful Life" and inadvertently ruin all my Christmas party talking points.

Joyeux Noël, Hauska Joulua, and - of course - Happy Chanukah, everyone.

1 comment:

The Motor Moron said...

I do the same thing, only instead with the iconic movie, "Grease". That was a great conversation starter I noticed while in college, especially with women!