- Happy birthday, Andy Williams! Since the death of Bing Crosby, Andy Williams is probably the closest we have to "Mr. Christmas." His Christmas shows in the 60s and 70s were classics of the genre - slightly corny, drenched in color (as so many programs were during the explosion of color broadcasts in the 60s - but check out the red and orange shoes!), and featuring a nice mixture of secular and sacred songs. The the entire Williams clan appeared in these programs, including Andy's brothers (the Williams Brothers got their start as a quartet in the late 30s before Andy made it big on his own, and it's no surprise that the Osmond Brothers, who were featured on many of his shows, strongly reminded him of his own roots), his mom and dad, and his wife Claudine Longet and their children. The Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Shows is a terrific reminder of how television viewed Christmas in the 60s; get a copy by all means if you can. And by the way, did you know that the classic song, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," was actually written for one of those Christmas shows? Andy Williams is 80 today, and here's to many more!
- Speaking of Christmas programs, a big thank you to Jim Fanning at the blog Tulgey Wood for his very kind words and link to my Amahl article at TVParty. I was quite touched by his very generous comments. Jim has a terrific blog, especially for anyone who, like me, is a nut about TV, movies and the like - be sure to check it out!
- Still on the TV track, a couple of obits from before Thanksgiving. First, Dick Wilson. You may not recognize his name, but if you're of my age you'd know him when you saw him - especially if he was giving his trademark line, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin." That's right: Mr. Whipple. And also, for classic TV fans, we note the passing of Sigrid Valdis, who played was Hilda, Colonel Klink's second secretary, on Hogan's Heroes, and was Bob Crane's second wife. Just in the last couple of years, she'd recorded a commentary track for one of the boxed set seasons of Hogan. Dick Wilson was 91, Sigrid Valdis was only 72. R.I.P.