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YULE TUBE: Liza Minnelli and Tammy Faye!
December 27, 2008  | By Diane Werts

dangerous christmas tv.jpg

Yes, Christmas kiddies -- we've hit the jackpot. Our friends at TV4U.com have posted full-length streaming video of 1965's original TV musical The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood -- starring 19-year-old Liza Minnelli, Cyril Ritchard, Vic Damone, and rockers Eric Burdon and The Animals -- plus two '80s Christmas hours of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's PTL show You Can Make It!(Aren't they cute in that sleigh?)

Thank you, Santa!

Talk about cool time trips. How '60s is Dangerous Christmas? (Which has nothing to do with Christmas, by the way, but what the heck.) It's definitely a relic of the era of original TV studio musicals like Peter Pan and Cinderella. At the time of this hour's November 1965 premiere, composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill were hot off their Broadway hit Funny Girl, which gets a nice shout-out in a People riff by the veddy-proper British actor Ritchard as The Wolf.

This is his story, a revisionist telling, in which the uber-arch/gay Ritchard chews the scenery, as well as Miss Hood, whose name he informs us is actually Lillian. The proceedings are stagy as can be -- the studio set looks about the size of your garage -- but how groooovy! Dig Burdon's boys in those Spock ears and wolf tails. Dig Ritchard getting even campier in a dress disguised as Granny. ("Sing me something that was popular when you were a girl!" pleads Liza, and we think he probably could.) Dangerous Christmas is so veddy bad, it's good. Almost horribly great. Certainly unmissable.

Be warned, however, that TV4U has not the spiffiest interface or the clearest stream. And Dangerous Christmas comes in black-and-white. No matter. It's there. You wouldn't believe it existed without proof.

Flash forward two decades for two hours of Jim and Tammy Faye, earnest Christian appreciation for Christmas, and big-time shoulder pads, and raccoon makeup, and untold layers of irony and hypocrisy. This was in the couple's high-flying days of the Heritage USA theme park, PTL religious cable channel, and ritzy mansion living. The spirit is there -- really it is -- but the flesh is just too-too. And the singing and syrupy presentation are even too-er. Just be thankful you're not one of those on-set onlookers standing and nodding (and standing, and nodding) around Jim and Tammy's sleigh all hour.

If Dangerous Christmas is a hoot to watch, the Bakkers become a hurt. There's only so much a body can stand. Did I mention the puppets? And the pitches to send money? They weren't televangelists for nothin'. The second hour is actually Tammy testifying about the horrors of her prescription drug habit before what seems to be a prison population. There's some reality here, but there's also oodles of star-of-the-show narcissism. What a long, strange trip it is.

One thing's for sure -- both these shows are one-of-a-kind.

At least we hope they are.


1 Comment


J.T.  said:       

How can I get a video copy of the jim and tammy show?

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