DAVID FLYNN recalls some of the American TV series that produced special festive features

TV Ratings are usually high at Christmas when many families are at home together for a prolonged period. In the days of the classic tv series, almost all had one or two Christmas storylines throughout their times on the box.

A lot of work went into the making of US Christmas episodes of classic tv sitcoms and drama series, but for other reasons, producers of some US television shows were reluctant to have Christmas episodes of their series.

The main reason was because many countries outside of the United States bought and screened these programmes, and they might end up showing a M*A*S*H or Brady Bunch Christmas episode in April or in another month not connected to Christmas. However, American viewers expected Christmas shows from time to time, and they generally did do well in the ratings, so therefore producers felt they had to oblige.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents was an anthology series of self-contained black and white half-hour episodes. The series had three Christmas episodes throughout its run.

Its 1955 show had Irish actor Barry Fitzgerald play a thief who had just come out prison. He got a job as a department show Santa Claus and sees a young boy who is aggressive, and who is attempting to steal in the store. ‘Santa Claus’ fears for what the boy could become, so tries to advise him on his future.

The Honeymooners only had one season on the air, but remains an American tv classic. It featured two married couples living in appartment life in 1950s New York.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own festive double issue