Chris Hicks: A bounty of heretofore unreleased Christmas material

Published: Friday, Dec. 14 2012 10:00 a.m. MST

Still, fans and those who enjoy the old variety format shouldn’t feel cheated. Burnett is in the ensemble cast and she gets to shine in some amusing skits and perform some enjoyable songs that reveal her budding talent in its earliest form. She’s also teamed in one episode with Julie Andrews and Gwen Verdon, and they work wonderfully together. (Burnett and Andrews became close friends and would later team up for three hugely popular “Julie & Carol” TV specials. Why aren’t those on DVD?)

“The Dean Martin Christmas Show” (Time Life, 1968, $12.98, one episode). This disc contains just a single episode of Martin’s show, but it’s also priced right, and there is some wonderful comedy and music. Martin is in a very jolly mood, making up comic lyrics as he sings and giving the entire affair a very light tone.

There’s also a hilarious comedy skit with a very young Bob Newhart, in which he and Martin go off script for an escalating war of off-the-cuff exchanges. Dom DeLuise is also here, along with Dennis Weaver and surprise guest Bob Hope. A lot of big stars also turn up at the end for cameos promoting a charity.

“Christmas Around the World With Perry Como” (LEA, 1975-82, $19.98, 26 songs). This nearly two-hour “best-of” collection features colorful sequences from six of Como’s 1970s and early ’80s holiday specials, which were filmed around the world, from the Holy Land to Paris to Colonial Williamsburg, among other locations.

Guests include John Wayne, Angie Dickinson, Sid Caesar, Richard Chamberlain and many more, with skits and readings and some dancing, but the emphasis is squarely on music and song in Como’s patented relaxed style.

All of these may be purchased for much less than the retail prices listed here; some are in local stores and others can be found on Amazon.com and other online stores.

Note: Last week’s column on Christian Vuissa’s film “Silent Night” prompted quite a bit of email asking where it can be purchased. Seagull Book and Deseret Book — both the physical stores and the online stores — have the DVD in stock for sale, and the film is scheduled to be shown on the cable channel BYUtv several more times between now and Christmas Day.

E-MAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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