A Charlie Brown Christmas

The Peanuts were my favorite cartoon growing up and I would never miss their Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas specials. Everyone can relate to Charlie Brown because we lose more than we win in life. He doesn’t get to kick that football, his dog has more things than he does and he is forever trying to get the elusive little redhead girl to notice him.

The Peanuts inhabit a kids world where grownups are felt but not heard. At least not in English.

This 1965 special has everything good about them in one show.

The gang is skating and Charlie Brown is telling Linus that despite Christmas being a happy time he is depressed. Linus tells Charlie that is normal and Lucy pipes in with “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.” That sums it all up.

Charlie gets to direct the Christmas play and his main job was to get a spectacular Christmas tree under Lucy’s orders. …He picks the only real tree there…more like a branch but he is sure it will do the job. Most of the gang do not agree when he comes back with the tree but Charlie persists. Linus gets up and reads from the Bible and the inflection he lends to the reading is great.

After that, you will need to watch because it will be worth it.

Aluminum Christmas trees were marketed beginning in 1958 and enjoyed fairly strong sales by eliminating pesky needles and tree sap. But the annual airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas swayed public thinking: In the special, Charlie Brown refuses to get a fake tree. Viewers began to do the same, and the product was virtually phased out by 1969. The leftovers are now collector’s items.

Actors and Actresses The early Peanuts specials made use of both untrained kids and professional actors: Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus) were working child performers, while the rest of the cast consisted of “regular” kids coached by Melendez in the studio. When Schulz told Melendez that Snoopy couldn’t have any lines in the show—he’s a dog, and Schulz’s dogs didn’t talk—the animator decided to bark and chuff into a microphone himself, then speed up the recording to give it a more emotive quality.

Love the Christmas Dance.






Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer every year is the same as setting up the tree. Every year I would look forward to seeing this along with the others but what a fantastic durable show this has been. When I hear Burl Ives in anything…I think of him as the narrator Sam the Snowman of this program.


The characters are wonderful. Well except those other young reindeer who really come down on Rudolph when his nose lights up.

Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist
Clarice – The reindeer who likes Rudolph just as he is red nose and all.
Yukon Cornelius the prospector who loves silver and gold and has a tongue that can find his silver and gold.
Abominable Snowman – The bad guy of the show who only needs a dentist to make him a good guy.
Head Elf – He leans on Hermey to get his elf self-act together and discourages him from being a dentist…I never liked him too much.

Throughout the special, Yukon Cornelius is seen throwing his pickaxe into the ground, taking it out and licking it. It turns out that he is checking for neither gold nor silver; Yukon was actually searching for an elusive peppermint mine. In a scene right at the end of the special’s original broadcast, deleted the next year to make room for the Misfit Toys’ new scene, Cornelius pulled his pick from the ground, licked it and said, “Peppermint! What I’ve been searching for all my life! I’ve struck it rich! I’ve got me a peppermint mine! Wahoo!” The scene was restored in 1998 and has been reinstated in all the subsequent home video release except for the 2004 DVD release. However, this scene is still cut from recent televised airings.

The Island of Misplaced Toys got to me when I was a kid. I really felt sorry for these lonely toys. King Moonracer was over the island and tried to convinced Rudolph to tell Santa about them so he could pick them up and find kids who would play with them.

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The original 1964 airing did not include the closing scene where Santa picks up the misfit toys. That scene was added in 1965, in response to complaints that Santa was not shown fulfilling his promise to include them in his annual delivery.

The stop animation in this works really well.

The songs are really good. Silver and Gold, Holly Jolly Christmas, Jingle Jingle Jingle, We Are Santa’s Elves, There’s Always Tomorrow, We’re a Couple of Misfits and The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.



A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

This first premiered on November 20, 1973, on CBS and won an Emmy Award. Great Thanksgiving special as always with the earlier Peanuts.

The Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Peanuts specials I always looked forward to. The way their world was only for kids where grownups were heard but only as noise in the background.

It starts off with Lucy tempting Charlie Brown with that football. Just one time I wanted to see Charlie kick the football…or Lucy at times.

It’s Thanksgiving and Peppermint Patty invites herself and Marcie over to Charlie Brown’s house but Charlie and Sally are ready to go to their grandmothers. Charlie talks to Linus and he suggests having two Thanksgiving dinners.

The only thing Charlie can come up with is feeding his friends toast and cold cereal which does not make Peppermint Patty happy whatsoever. She lets Charlie have it bad until Marcie remind her that she invited herself over.

Not going to give it away for those who have not seen this wonderful holiday cartoon. The music by Vince Guaraldi is excellent and makes every Peanuts cartoon special.


A Quick visit to Captain Kangaroo

Bob Keeshan played Clarabell on the Howdy Doody Show. In 1955 CBS offered Keeshan his own children’s show, which became Captain Kangaroo. Captain Kangaroo ran from 1955 to 1984. The show spanned many generations of kids during that time.

Keeshan was Captain Kangaroo and every morning I would look forward to seeing The Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Bunny Rabbit, Dancing Bear, and Mr. Moose. I knew that Mr. Moose was setting the Captain up for the ritual ping-pong drop on the Captain’s head that never got old.

Mr. Green Jeans (Hugh Brannum) would have different animals at times to show. He also portrayed the Professor, Greeno the Clown, the New Old Folk Singer, and Mr. Bainter on the show.

The Painter was played by Gus “Cosmo” Allegretti who also handled the puppets and Dancing Bear.

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One one of my favorite sections was the cartoon “Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings” that would appear on some shows. Simon had a magic blackboard and anything he drew became real.

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Mr. Moose could be a slight smart aleck so I did like him. He also hung out with Bunny Rabbit and the Dancing Bear.

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Captain Kangaroo’s place with his cast of characters was a nice place to visit as a kid.

70s Saturday Mornings – Big John, Little John

After taking a sip from a fountain of youth, John Martin changed from a 45-year-old school teacher to a 12-year-old. Because he only took a sip, the change was not permanent but the change was reoccurring and Martin had no control as to when the change would occur.

John’s secret was only know to his immediate family and to explain the appearance of the 12-year-old John, they claimed he was their nephew. Throughout the series, John tried to find a cure for his predicament, but he was unsuccessful in his attempts. (http://www.70slivekidvid.com/bjlj.htm)

The show also featured Joyce Bulifant who appeared on Matchgame many times. I’ve only met a handful of people who actually remember the show.

This Saturday morning series was only on for one season 1976. It only lasted for 13 episodes. I liked the fountain of youth stories (especially now!) and I really liked the show at 9 years old. It starred Herb Edelman as Big John and Robbie Rist as Little John. Robbie Rist was the infamous cousin Oliver in the Brady Bunch. Robbie looked like a miniature John Denver to me… and grew up to be a musician…and actor.

Robbie Rist                             John Denver


Below the Big John, Little John intro video… is a tv commercial from the same time that shows my favorite EVER peanut butter spread…Koogle…I loved the Banana flavor.


Koogle Peanut Butter spread…I wish they would bring it back…probably was the worst thing for you but it was so good. I loved the banana flavor.

The Six Million Dollar Man

Voice #1: It looks good at NASA One
Voice #2: Roger
Voice #1: B.C.S. Arm switch is on
Steve Austin: Okay, Victor
Voice #2: Lighting rods are armed. Switch is on. Here comes the throttle
Circuit breakers in
Steve Austin: We have separation
Voice #2: Roger
Voice #1: Inboard and outboards are on. I’m comin’ forward with the side stick
Voice #2: Looks good
Voice #1: Uh, Roger
Steve Austin: I’ve got a blow-out in Damper Three!
Voice #2: Get your pitch to zero
Steve Austin: Pitch is out! I can’t hold altitude!
Voice #1: Correction, Alpha Hold is off. Turn selectors–Emergency!
Steve Austin: Flight Com, I can’t hold it! She’s breaking up! She’s break–
Rudy Wells: Steve Austin, astronaut–a man barely alive
Oscar Goldman: Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We
Have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man
Rudy Wells and Steve Austin: Will be that man
Oscar Goldman: Better than he was before: better, stronger, faster

So began one of the biggest television shows of the mid-seventies. Steve Austin, astronaut (Lee Majors) was in a terrible accident in an experimental aircraft. He was near death and operated on and he had parts replaced such as two bionic legs, bionic eye, and a bionic arm.  Steve Austin was essentially a superhero. He could lift and toss around almost anything, he had an eye with super focus and night vision and he could run up to 60 mph and jump 2-3 stories. He worked for the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) with Oscar Goldman as his boss. The Oscar character was popular also.

Oscar Goldman

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The series was on for 5 seasons (99 episodes) 1974-1978 with 6 TV movies…with the last one coming in 1994.

The show had a huge impact on kids. We would imitate him at school and with kids in the neighborhood. We would also imitate the noise that was made when he did some terrific stunt (da da da da da da da). Back in the seventies, some of us kids thought this would really work.

Merchandising was huge for the show. Everything from lunch boxes and running shoes to children’s eyeglasses through to jigsaws, coloring books, comic books, trash cans, slide viewers, board games and bedsheets.  I don’t have the statistics on the most merchandised tv show in the 1970s but this show has to be near the top. A little later on Star Wars would take merchandising it to another level.

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The merchandising didn’t stop with Steve Austin either. Lindsey Wagner (Jamie Sommers) stared as the Bionic Woman and out came the merchandise again. Jamie was Steve’s girlfriend and they went skydiving and Jamie’s parachute malfunctioned and Steve asked Oscar Goldman to use bionic parts on her to save her. Her body rejected them but she pulled through and ended up and working for the OSI also.

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The Bionic Woman lasted three seasons with 58 episodes airing from 1976 – 1978. In the final season, a bionic dog was introduced named Maximillian. There was a thought of another spinoff show with Maximillian but it did not happen. The dog could run 90 mph and bite through steel…Maybe it was good they drew the line.


In the 1994 TV Movie, “Bionic Ever After” Steve and Jame ties the knot.

Bev wedding

The Intro



70s Saturday Mornings – Ark II

Opening Narration

For millions of years, Earth was fertile and rich; then pollution and waste began to take their toll. Civilization fell into ruin. This is the world of the Twenty-Fifth Century; only a handful of scientists remain, men who have vowed to rebuild what has been destroyed. This is their achievement: ARK II, a mobile storehouse of scientific knowledge, manned by a highly trained crew of young people. Their mission: To bring the hope of a new future to mankind.

Ark II was a television program produced by Filmation as part of their Saturday Morning live-action children’s block on the CBS network in The ’70s, along with Shazam and The Secrets of Isis. It follows the adventures of a group of Science Heroes who travel through post-apocalyptic landscapes in a highly advanced mobile laboratory, trying to rebuild human society after pollution has decimated the world. Fifteen episodes were produced in 1976, though it continued to run in syndication until 1979. (https://www.metv.com/lists/13-super-live-action-saturday-morning-kids-shows-of-the-1970s)

Ark II was another Saturday Morning show that I really liked. This show better writing than some of the other Saturday morning live-action shows. It showed what pollution would do to the earth beyond our generation. The real reason I liked it was because of the mobile ark and the devices and gadgets they used….and Ruth (Jean Marie Hon)!

You had a monkey who could talk, the cool roamer, a jetpack, and a robot in a post-apocalyptic land…and did I mention Ruth?

The Cool Ark                                 Ruth                                                 A Young Helen Hunt

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Image result for Ark II buggy The Roamer…wonder where it is today?

Some Saturday Morning Commercials while we waited for Ark II