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Fri, 30 Nov 2007

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year, but that doesn't mean that it only lasts one day. This year, the Cable Family Classics Channel is bringing you a different holiday classic movie every night for each of the twelve days before Christmas. Some are old favorites, some are new favorites, some are new takes on old favorites, and some are just plain old. So warm up the Tivo or stock up on blank videotapes for the VCR - you'll want to make sure to capture these great films to watch with your family, now and all throughout the year!

December 13: The Third Card

Tyler Palmer is stationed as a guard at the front gate of Thule Air Force Base in Greenland. It's long, lonely, boring duty, far from the front lines of the fighting, but also far from everyone and everything he knew at home. In fact, Thule holds the distinction of being the only major U.S. military installation that Bob Hope never visited on his annual Christmastime USO tours.

But last year, besides the usual supplies and equipment, the monthly cargo supply flight for December arrived with something extra: a bag full of Christmas cards for the airmen and solders from people back home. None were addressed to anyone by name, and Tyler settled for three from the bottom of the bag. Two were from school children, but the third was from Mary Crippen of Slidell, Louisiana. The card enclosed a picture of her house all decorated for Christmas, and wished its recipient a merry Christmas.

Tyler's enlistment ended a few months later, and when he finally returned to the States, he set out to find Mary and thank her personally for the card that had done so much to lift his spirits. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived in Louisiana, it turned out that Mary's house had been washed away in the storm surge from hurricane Katrina; she had fled with so many others from the storm, and and never returned; no one knew where she had gone.

With only the third card, Mary's name, and a scrap of wood from where her house once stood which had the word "Rosebud" written on it, Tyler sets out to find Mary. Can he find her in time to return her Christmas wishes?

December 14: A Mom For Christmas

Timmy lives with his father in a modest house just outside Lexington, Kentucky. They have everything they need, but something is clearly missing. Four years ago, Timmy's mother died after a brief, sanitized, never-named, holiday-special-type illness. Ever since then, even though Timmy's dad tries hard to "make things right", he hasn't dated any women since then.

Timmy only wants one thing for Christmas - a new Mom for his Dad, so the three of them can be a family again. On a visit to Schenkel's Department Store, Timmy confides his wish to the store's Santa, and tells him that if Santa can't get his father married by Christmas, he will stop believing in Santa and will never celebrate Christmas again.

What Timmy doesn't know is that the store's Santa, Klaus Kreitzer, has another part-time job: database administrator at! Armed with the particulars about Timmy's dad, Klaus uses his privileged access to the dating database to retrieve information about potential matches for Timmy's dad. Klaus creates an on-line profile for Timmy's dad and responds to the system's recommended "matches". Needless to say, hilarious hijinks ensue as Klaus experiences one problem after another trying to find the right girl for Timmy and his dad. Will Klaus be cleared of the identity theft and stalking charges brought by one of the dud "matches" in time to get the pretty and charming Sarah together with Timmy's dad before the Christmas Eve deadline?

December 15: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter is a seemingly normal eleven-year-old growing up in a fairly ordinary suburban home with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, until one day he is visited by a giant man who tells him that he is really a wizard, and that he is to go to the Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn the necessary skills. There he makes new friends and learns about enemies he never knew he had, including the evil Lord Voldemort. This is the movie of the book that started it all!

(Okay, we realize that this really isn't a Christmas movie - although there is one scene where Harry and his friend Ron wake up on Christmas morning at Hogwarts and open their presents. The truth is that the Harry Potter movies are real ratings boosters for us, and, since we were able to work Christmas in in this tangential way, so much the better for us.)

December 16: Elves Attack!

One evening, not long before Christmas, up near the North Pole, the northern lights took on an even stranger appearance than usual. But instead of just a shimmering glow in the sky, the lights this night were actually the gleam of spaceships from the planet Trelfaz, carrying an invasion fleet whose goal was to take over the Earth. The Trelafzians looked similar to humans, but they were only about three feet tall, had pointed ears, and wore colorful costumes of red and green. Their nefarious plan was to land at the North Pole, immobilize Santa and the elves with their Paralyzing Rays, and use Santa's sleigh to circle the world on Christmas Eve, capturing government leaders and disheartening children all over the globe.

Two young kids from Wintergreen, Nebraska, Bud and Kitty Leminster, are the only ones who know what has happened, thanks to the note, "Under Attack / Return to Sender" that Santa quickly scrawled on their letter to him and put back in the North Pole mailbox. Will Bud and Kitty be able to convince their skeptical parents that Santa is really in trouble? And will they get to the North Pole in time to avert a worldwide catastrophe?

December 17: Christmas At The White House

Join President and Mrs. George W. Bush as they celebrate the holidays at the White House. Don't worry about there not being enough room - recent departures of a number of administration staff and cabinet members means that there are plenty of spaces available around the holiday table!

Our viewers will be privileged to participate in a hallowed Bush family ritual: a reading of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" by Vice President Dick Cheney. (Be sure to watch his pacemaker jiggle when he gets to the "shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly" part!) Also making a special appearance will be President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush, who will parachute in tandem from Air Force One at twenty-five thousand feet as it flies over the capital to a pinpoint landing on the South Lawn, singing Angels We Have Heard On High all the way down.

The festivities conclude with the First Family sining Christmas carols around the fireplace in the White House residence, the Yule Log being stoked by the burning of a continuous stream of secret, confidential, and otherwise redacted documents from the collected papers of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

December 18: Santa Claus vs. Al-Qaeda

The classic 1950s film Santa Claus vs. The Martians gets a new, refreshing update to make it as topical as today's headlines. Bruce Willis heads an all-star cast as Santa, who has decided that he can no longer remain on the sidelines in the long-running war on terrorism. Recalling his own precedent of delivering lumps of coal to Hitler, Tojo, and other senior Axis leaders during World War II, Santa decides that changing times call for stronger methods!

Morgan Freeman plays a retired Marine Corps drill instructor who is hired by Santa to transform the elves (led by Gary Coleman) from a cheerful group of toy builders to a crack counterinsurgency team, capable of tracking terrorists down across miles of wilderness, infiltrating their camps, and neutralizing them. Watch as Santa leads his team on the ultimate Christmas Eve commando raid against the Al-Qaeda camps on the Afghan-Pakistan border. They're not packing toys for good little boys, but have turned tinsel into a high-tech weapon, and are hitting the ground with more firepower than the terrorists have ever confronted before. Don't miss the fireworks as Santa's Raiders avenge the attacks of 9/11, and kick some jihadist butt!

(Special appearance by Hal Holbrook as Osama Bin-Laden.)

December 19: A "Silent Night" Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens' classic story is presented in a contemporary and artistic way by famed French mime Marcel Marceau. In this performance, filmed only a few months before his death earlier this year, Marceau, as always costumed as his beloved character "Bip", plays all the parts in this holiday tale - Scrooge, Marley, the Crachits, the three Christmas ghosts, and all the rest - in his unmistakable pantomime style.

Many of Marceau's artistic choices (walking into the wind to represent Marley's walking in chains, for example) are thought-provoking, challenging the viewer to rethink their old, stereotyped interpretations of this timeless story. After all, everyone thought Patrick Stewart was just so clever when he put on a one-man stage performance of "A Christmas Carol" several years ago, but not only could he move around the stage, he was able to use his voice to help tell the story. Marceau accepted what turned out to be one of the more formidable challenges of his career, telling a well-known story without actually using any of its words.

(In conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this program will be closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired.)

December 20: This Week in the NFL

So enough already with all this holiday cheer and Saint Nick and "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" stuff. Everybody knows that Christmas means just one thing - the football playoffs are just around the corner! So there's no time like the present to review the standings and check on the latest betting lines and odds.

Join Barry "Cleats" Nagurski and the rest of the "This Week in the NFL" team for a three-hour special reviewing all the highlights of the previous week's games. As a special bonus, thanks to a judicious editing out of pauses in the action, the halftime show, and most of the commercials, all the plays of the Packers-Steelers game from last Sunday will be shown in their entirety - all in less than twenty-five minutes!

The program concludes with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders performing a medley of their favorite Christmas chants and cheers at a nursing home in Arlington (just outside of Dallas), a display that never fails to warm the hearts of true football fans everywhere.

December 21: A Dad For Christmas

Marcy lives with her mother on a modest ranch just outside Bozeman, Montana. They have everything they need, but something is clearly missing. Four years ago, Marcy's father died after a brief, sanitized, never-named, holiday-special-type illness. Ever since then, even though Marcy's mom tries hard to "make things right", she hasn't dated any men since then.

Marcy only wants one thing for Christmas - a new Dad for his Mom, so the three of them can be a family again. On a visit to the local Tractor Supply store, Marcy confides her wish to the store's Santa, and tells him that if Santa can't get her mother married by Christmas, she will stop believing in Santa and will never celebrate Christmas again.

What Marcy doesn't know is that the store's Santa, Sam Cringle, has another part-time job: he's a first lieutenant in the Montana State Police! Armed with the particulars about Marcy's mom, Sam uses his privileged access to state and federal information databases to retrieve information about potential matches for Marcy's mom. Sam then goes door-to-door in his unmarked police cruiser to play matchmaker. Needless to say, hilarious hijinks ensue as Sam experiences one problem after another trying to find the right man for Marcy and her mom. Will Sam be cleared of administrative misconduct charges in time to get the handsome and charming Brad together with Marcy's mom before the Christmas Eve deadline?

December 22: The Christmas Wish

The old maxim, "Be careful what you wish for - you might get it!" is the theme of this chilling, cautionary tale decrying the ever-increasing commercialism surrounding Christmastime. Written and directed by George Romero, this film tells the story of Claire, a woman of modest means who works in a department store in the gift wrapping department. Things are usually fairly slow there, but naturally, during the Christmas season, a huge influx of work regularly overpowers Claire and her colleagues as waves of irritable, impatient shoppers all clamor to have their many bags of gifts wrapped in no time flat. Every night during December, Claire returns to her small one-bedroom apartment completely exhausted, feet aching, fingers numb and bleeding from dozens of paper cuts inflicted by accident during the course of the hectic day.

Looking out of her window as she prepares to get into bed, Claire sees a shooting star, and, thinking it a good omen, makes a wish: "I wish I could have all the help I need in the gift wrap department so I wouldn't have to go home tired!" Then she promptly falls asleep.

After a restless night, Claire returns to the store for another day of wrapping, finding it difficult to stay awake. There is an ever-growing pile of unwrapped gifts piling up, and her boss tells Claire that she must stay late after the store closes to catch up so that the customers will have their presents wrapped and ready when they return tomorrow. Alone in the store, with only the night watchman for company, Claire tries valiantly to complete her wrapping chores, but only ends up working more and more slowly as tiredness overtakes her. Finally she lays her head down for a quick nap on the counter.

Awakened by strange noises coming from the rest of the store, Claire walks out into the darkened aisles, only to find the security guard dead at his desk, trussed with yards and yards of Scotch Tape and wrapped in festive paper up to his neck, a pair of pinking shears sticking out of his chest. She screams and tries to run, only to be cornered by a moaning platoon of the store's mannequins, roaming zombie-like through the store, herding her relentlessly back to the gift wrap department. Can she escape this nightmare without being turned into a holiday parcel herself?

(Note: this film is presented in black and white: do not adjust your sets!)

December 23: The Romney Family Holiday Special

From the homestead in Bellmont, Massachusetts, join former Governor and 2008 Presidential contender Mitt Romney and his family for this warmhearted gathering full of tradition and spirit. And what spirits! Listen as Mitt and Ann recount their family histories, and show home movies of the baptisms-by-proxy they've performed for more than 10 generations of the Romney family, going back over three hundred years.

Later, watch Mitt and Ann join their children around the fireplace to sing traditional Mormon hymns like Joseph Smith Has Heard On High, It's A Long Way To Salt Lake City, and Deck The Halls with Books of Mormon. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be assembled on the front lawn of the estate to join in the singing (due to Secret Service metal-detector screening, the entire Choir may not be available to participate).

The show ends with a traditional "family sealing" ceremony, during which everyone at home who logs on to the "Mitt 2008" web site and enters their name and address can be spiritually bound to the Romney family for all eternity. A great last-minute gift for Mormons and non-Mormons alike!

December 24: A Pet For Christmas

Ray and Ann live with their parents in a modest condominium complex in the suburbs outside Boston, Massachusetts. They have everything they need, but something is clearly missing. Four years ago, the kids' pet schnauzer died after a brief, sanitized, never-named, holiday-special-type illness. Ever since then, even though the kids' parents try hard to "make things right", the family hasn't had any pets since then.

Ray and Ann only want one thing for Christmas - a new pet, so the four of them can be a family again. On a visit to the local Macy's store, Ray and Ann confide their wish to the store's Santa, and tell him that if Santa can't get them a new pet by Christmas, they will stop believing in Santa and will never celebrate Christmas again.

What Ray and Ann don't know is that the store's Santa, Alonzo Griffiths, has another part-time position: he's a volunteer at the local ASPCA animal shelter! Armed with the particulars about Ray's and Ann's preferences, Alonzo uses his privileged access to found and abandoned animals to search for potential matches. Alonzo then spirits out candidate pets one at a time to watch Ray's and Ann's reactions to them during their frequent visits to the mall. Needless to say, hilarious hijinks ensue as Alonzo experiences one problem after another trying to find the right pet for Ray and Ann's family. Will Alonzo be cleared of animal cruelty charges brought by a suspicious co-volunteer at the shelter in time to get the cute and playful greyhound puppy Whipsie together with Ray's and Ann's family before the Christmas Eve deadline?

On Christmas day, in place of its usual programming, the Cable Family Classics channel will be joining with the Home Shopping Channel to present (no pun intended) a full day of on-air shopping opportunities for those of you who still have last-last-minute gifts to buy before the relatives start arriving for Christmas dinner. It's never too late to pick out something for friends and family, even if all you can do is print out and wrap the e-mail we'll send acknowledging your purchase.

From our family to yours, we wish you all the best during this holiday season!