Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Specials Christmas Forgot.

I was going to post pics of TV Guide ads for all the old familiar Christmas specials, but I figure those shows are running incessantly on ABC Family anyway, so I'll stick with the ones nobody remembers.

I taped this 1978 special a few years ago, when the Disney Channel used to show cool old stuff overnight instead of endless episodes of "Boy Meets World." It's a pretty lame one, a fact telegraphed immediately by the opening shot of Victorian carolers being pelted with fake snow in the Orlando sun.

Shields and Yarnell start things out as the Clinkers, their robot husband and wife shtick, which is actually kind of amusing. Then Pablo Cruise belts out a crap pop ditty, and Avery Schreiber goes on interminably as Gepetto, cracking wise about getting splinters in his hand when he spanked Pinocchio and so forth. He sings a maudlin ballad about being lonely now that Pinocchio has moved away, and he creepily crafts a puppet that looks like a little clone of himself. Phyllis Diller and Dee from "What's Happening!" trade stale yocks (jokes about forced busing, etc.) presumably lifted from an old Mad magazine by Neil Simon's brother, Danny, who takes co-writing cred. I guess Bruce Vilanch was busy, or still hiding from George Lucas.

Soon there's lots more from S & Y, together and separately. His stuff is all slapstick, hers is ballet and jazz dancing. And might I add: yowza! Who knew she was such a piece? The best part of her segments, however, is when she dances ballet as Sleeping Beauty. The guy playing Prince Charming wears tights that should not have been allowed anywhere near the family viewing hour, if my drift is caught. He looks like he's got either Chip or Dale in there, cradling a walnut. I must point out that this Prince is not played by Shields, although I'm sure the guy wished he was wearing a shield at the point where he spins Yarnell and her extended knee nails him right in the chipmunk! She whacks his sack with such force that a comical sound effect really should have been added. But that's what he gets for putting it out there like that. I'll say this for him, he takes that knee like a man... a man in powder-blue tights, true, but he barely flinches, whereas I would have buckled like a cardboard canoe.

The show ends with a depressed-looking Andrea McArdle singing some listless standards and a fruity original song the like of which turns up on all these 70's specials, with Valium-inspired lyrics and a meandering, determinedly uncatchy melody. Avery then joins Andrea, still dressed as Gepetto, and hands her a ferret. I'm not kidding. Overall, it's no Star Wars Holiday Special, but if you're looking for something Christmasy to watch in an enhanced state, it'll do in a pinch.


Blogger trixybell said...

i NEED to see this, I remember it too well and have been searching a very long time...

Thu Sep 11, 03:16:00 AM 2008  

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