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Arts & Culture

Chestnuts roasting by the TV: some of the best (and worst) holiday shows of all time

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ABC, CBS, NBC, 'Tis the Season
From Bing Crosby to Star Wars: during the 1960s and 70s, television was packed with holiday specials

Celebrating the holidays on television is as old as television itself. During TV’s so-called "golden age,” there wasn’t a single evening without at least one big variety show on the tube. And when it came to Christmas episodes, the series pulled out all the stops.

Joanna Wilson should know. It’s her life’s passion (and profession) to chronicle every television episode, special and made-for-TV movie with a holiday theme. Her 800+ page encyclopedia titled "‘Tis the Season" includes thousands of detailed entries.

“We watch Christmas entertainment differently than we watch all other sorts of TV programs. As soon as I realized how unique and how different a Christmas entertainment is, I definitely wanted to train my eye on that. And now it's become a lifelong passion and a professional project. I've been working on this now for 20 years.”

Wilson visited with Morning Edition host George Prentice to take a very unique stroll down memory lane, including a listen to some of TV’s worst one-and-done holiday disasters.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren