The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, December 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Saturday Night Live Celebrates the Holidays (NBC)
Featuring comedy sketches and musical performances that both spoof and celebrate the holidays, this unique program of clips from NBC’s long-running late-night live variety show was specially curated for this screening from the Library of Congress’ television collection. Beginning with the original 1975 cast through the present decade, the show will include guests Steve Martin, Candace Bergen, Adam Sandler, Alec Baldwin, William Shatner, John Malkovich, Robert De Niro and many more. Digital presentation, approximately 90 min.
Friday, December 21 (7:30 p.m.)
A Christmas Story (MGM, 1983)
Humorist Jean Shepherd narrates this memoir of growing up in Hammond, Indiana, during the 1940s when his greatest ambition was to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The film is based in part on Shepherd’s 1966 compilation of short stories titled “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” which originated on his radio and television programs. Writer-director Bob Clark had long dreamed of making a movie based on Shepherd’s work and his reverence for the material shows through as detail after nostalgic detail rings true with period flavor. Dozens of small but expertly realized moments reflect an astute understanding of human nature. Peter Billingsley – with his cherubic cheeks, oversized glasses and giddy grin – portrays Shepherd as a boy. Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon are his harried-yet-lovable parents. A Christmas Story was added to the National Film Registry in 2012. Rated PG. 35mm archival film print, 94 min.
Saturday, December 22 (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 Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) who tyrannizes his small hometown. 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 by showing him the bleak parallel universe that might have been. 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. 35mm film print produced by the Library of Congress.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.