The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
Thursday, December 10 (7:30 p.m.)
The Lemon Drop Kid (Paramount, 1951)
Bob Hope stars as The Lemon Drop Kid, a small-time New York City swindler who is illegally touting horses at a racetrack. When he accidentally cheats a notorious gangster, the Kid must scramble for a way to repay his looming debt by Christmas. With the help of his girlfriend (Marilyn Maxwell), the quick-thinking Kid and his gang launch a scam using Santa suits to raise money for homeless women. The film introduced the now-classic holiday tune “Silver Bells” written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. This holiday comedy, directed by Sidney Lanfield, is based on a story by Damon Runyon. 91 minutes.
Friday, December 11 (7:30 p.m.)
White Christmas (Paramount, 1954)
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye star as a top song-and-dance act who accompanies Betty and Judy Haynes, a pair of sister entertainers (played by Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney) to the Columbia Inn in Vermont where the women are scheduled to perform over the Christmas holidays. They arrive to discover that the inn is run by the boys’ former WWII commanding officer who is about to go out of business due to a lack of snow. The foursome decides to put on a show to save the establishment. Michael Curtiz directed this Technicolor Christmas classic that features Irving Berlin songs “Sisters,” “Snow,” “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me,” the Oscar-nominated “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” and, of course, “White Christmas.” 120 minutes.
Saturday, December 12 (2 p.m.)
Christmas Television Specials (1965 -1979)
A trio of animated Christmas specials, digitally preserved by the Library of Congress Video Preservation Lab, will be shown on the big screen, with the much loved A Charlie Brown Christmas kicking off the matinee program. Based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz, the program made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965. It went on to win both an Emmy and a Peabody Award and the soundtrack album by Vince Guaraldi was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007 and added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American sound recordings in 2012. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (CBS, 1966), directed by Chuck Jones and based on the children’s book by Dr. Seuss, features the voice of Boris Karloff as both the narrator of the film and the speaking voice of The Grinch. The final selection is Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales (CBS, 1979), featuring Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters in three new-in-’79 cartoon shorts with seasonal themes. Mel Blanc provided the voices of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Tasmanian Devil and Santa Claus. 75 minutes.
Saturday, December 12 (7:30 p.m.)
It’s a Wonderful Life (RKO, 1946)
Director Frank Capra created a holiday favorite with this story of a once ambitious young man George Bailey (James Stewart) who sacrifices personal adventure to stand up against the despot Potter who tyrannizes his small hometown (Lionel Barrymore). When it looks like Potter has finally beaten him, George wishes he’d never been born and an apprentice angel (Henry Travers) grants his wish. Shown the bleak parallel universe that might have been, George recants his wish and is restored just in time to see his family and friends come to his aid against Potter. Suggested by a short story written as a Christmas card by author and historian Philip Van Doren Stern, Capra and writers Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett crafted the screenplay for this film which has become synonymous with Christmas. The film—named to the National Film Registry in 1990–also stars Donna Reed, Thomas Mitchell and Beulah Bondi. 130 minutes.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.