Although they start showing up during U.S. Thanksgiving, it's still not too late to see all your favourite Christmas specials this holiday season. You can find a complete list in this feature I wrote for the Toronto Star, posted here at their web site. In the meantime, the Big Three animated evergreens get several airings this month, including these remaining scheduled viewings:
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Saturday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m., YTV). "We thought we had ruined Peanuts," producer Lee Mendelson said a few years ago, looking back on this 1965 gem. "Too slow, too religious. What's the jazz music doing on there?" Then it premiered and got a 50 share, won an Emmy, a Peabody and has been a Christmas perennial since. Good grief!
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Sunday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., CBC). Just about everyone associated with this 43-year-old animated special is dead: Chuck Jones, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), composer Albert Hague, singer Thurl Ravenscroft, narrator/Grinch Boris Karloff. Just another job for all of them at the time, The Grinch brings them all back to life every Christmas.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Tuesday, Dec. 22, 6 p.m., YTV; Dec. 25, all day long, 6 a.m.). After 45 years, with that jerky stop-motion animation, you'd think Rudolph would be banished to the island of misfit toys. But the low-tech charm is part of the enduring appeal. Narrator Burl Ives leads an outstanding vocal cast, including Canadians Larry Mann as Yukon Cornelius, Paul Soles as Hermey the Elf and Carl Banas as the Elf foreman.
If you missed something you meant to catch earlier this month on TV, you might still find it on the Internet. Go to CTV.ca/rewind to stream several titles, including A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, and Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Winfrey Primetime Special.
At Globaltv.com, stream classic Christmas episodes from Maude, Who's The Boss? And Married ...with Children. Also available: The Santa Claus Parade and new holiday episodes of Family Guy, House, The Office and The Cleveland Show.
You can also summon up Christmas on demand at Rogers' channel 100. A Christmas Story, Elf, Bad Santa and Reindeer Games are among the titles available.