Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Five Classic TV Series That Should Have Had a Christmas Show

I love the whole idea of “Christmas in July.”

Outside my home the temperature is in the triple digits, and now that Independence Day is over I’ll have no more days off from work until Labor Day. So it’s nice to spend a few moments thinking about a holiday season that’s cooler and friendlier, without all the stresses of gift buying and lugging the tree out of the garage.

Watching Christmas episodes of classic shows is one of my favorite holiday pastimes, but for Christmas in July I’m going to focus instead on five shows that did not acknowledge the season – and what might have been. 

1. The Fugitive
This one bothers me the most. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, Dr. Richard Kimble’s life was already an endless tribulation. how much worse would that ordeal seem around the holidays – alone, separated from family and friends, watching others on the streets experiencing the joys of the season. 

The Fugitive lasted four years, certainly long enough for someone to have come up with a holiday story; would he try to return home for Christmas to visit his sister? Or perhaps, being a pediatrician, he’d find himself delivering a baby on Christmas Eve, in the kind of humble rural conditions in which Jesus was born. This was a missed opportunity for a classic hour of television.

2. I Dream of Jeannie
Bewitched, the magical sitcom often paired with Jeannie in memories and reruns, did several memorable Christmas shows. 

But Jeannie never went there in five seasons, though there was a season two episode called “My Master the Rainmaker” in which Jeannie made it snow over Major Nelson’s house. 

That might have been a starting point for a holiday episode – the incident makes the papers, Dr. Bellows has questions, etc. Or, since she comes from the Middle East, could Jeannie blink them back to Bethlehem for the first Christmas, with Tony as a fourth wise man?

3. Hogan’s Heroes
Wartime Christmas stories often depict opposing forces declaring a temporary truce to celebrate a day of peace and joy. I’m not sure that would work here, as the bumbling Luftwaffe at Stalag 13 were never a match for Hogan’s elite team of saboteurs. And that would be a bit heavy for this series anyway. 

A better idea might have Hogan petitioning Klink to have a Christmas tree in the prisoners’ barracks, buttering him up about how they were honoring a tradition that began in Germany. Klink would allow the indulgence, which offered a way for the prisoners to get outside the camp on the pretext of cutting down a tree – and they’d use that opportunity to have an important meeting with the underground.

Actually, that’s not very inspired either. Just bring Marya back with her latest German officer conquest, for a holiday dinner featuring the usual “is she or isn’t she on our side?” anxiety from Hogan (but not, of course, from the lovestruck LeBeau).

4. Batman
Yes, Santa Claus (played by Andy Devine) did pop out of a window during a Caped Crusaders bat-rope climb, but that’s not enough to qualify for holiday episode status. 

How about this: as the citizens of Gotham City hope for a white Christmas, Mr. Freeze returns to give it to them – followed by a white spring, summer and autumn. It would have been nice to see stately Wayne Manor decked out for the holidays. 

5. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
Such an obvious storyline presents itself here – Tom Corbett and his son Eddie face their first Christmas without Eddie’s mother.

Tom, as one of TV’s most wonderful dads, would try to fill Eddie’s season with joyful distractions – visits to Santa, the biggest tree in the Christmas tree lot, an extravagant number of gifts, a Christmas Eve party with all of their friends in attendance. But after the festivities end and their guests leave, Eddie tells his dad how he appreciates all of his efforts, but what he really wants to do is talk about his mom. And then they’ll have one of those warm, quiet, heartfelt best-friend conversations that no one could perform better than Bill Bixby. 


  1. For a series that was focused on its two juvenile leads, and for the number of years it was on, Leave it to Beaver is the real oddity for its lack of ANY holiday-themed episodes, not just Christmas. I wonder if concerns about future airings in syndication was the reason.

    1. That does seem odd - I would have included it here but my knowledge of the series is sadly limited - one of the few blind spots in my classic TV knowledge. I'll remedy that one of these days.

    2. LitB did have sort of a Christmas episode in that Beaver was dressed as an angel for a Christmas school program, but Beaver had messed up his hair with "The Haircut". This aired in October though, so I don't count this either.
      The closest LitB came to a holiday episode near the actual holiday was Season 3's "Mother's Day Composition", which was a very funny episode centered on Mother's Day. It originally aired late in Season 3 on Apr. 30, 1960, a week & a day before Mother's Day that year. I wish had aired a week later on May 7, the day before Mother's Day AND the birthday of 1 of my grandmothers. Today [July 11] was my other grandmother's birthday.

  2. How about the original "Charlie's Angels" TV series? Should THAT show have had a Christmas-oriented episode?

  3. I am actually shocked Leave it to Beaver didn't have a Christmas episode! So weird. And an I Dream of Jeannie episode would have been great, too! Missed opportunities.