2021 marks the 200th anniversary of The Saturday Evening Post. We’re planning a whole year’s worth of celebrations and a look back at what we’ve covered over two centuries, starting with the January/February issue. Here’s a preview. (You should subscribe!)
Happy Holidays (from me and George Bailey).
I don’t like lists. There’s nothing wrong with personal, specific lists or grocery lists (which reminds me, I need milk), I’m talking about those lists we see on every web site now. “The Best Sci-Fi Shows of All-Time!” “The 40 Comedy Films of the 1980’s You Need To Watch Right Now!” “The 50 Best TV Episodes That Feature An Actor With Blonde Hair Whose Name Begins With A G!”
I used to like them, before every site began running them. In the days of print magazines and the early days of the web, these lists had some gravitas, because they were rare and written by people who really knew the shows, the movies, the music. But now, when every single web site runs their “best this” and “worst that” list, on every single pop culture topic imaginable, over and over again, those types of lists have become repetitive, trivial, and maybe even meaningless.
Six or seven years ago, Entertainment Weekly ran a “100 Greatest TV Shows of All-Time” feature and… didn’t put The Dick Van Dyke Show on the list. That’s when I knew lists were over.
Having said that…hey, head on over to Vulture and read my ranking of all of the Friends Christmas episodes!
1949’s Holiday Affair is one of my favorite Christmas movies, and this scene is one of my favorite scenes in any movie. It’s a seemingly random, trivial scene that actually reveals a lot about the characters. Attorney Wendell Corey is going to marry comparison shopper Janet Leigh and then department store clerk Robert Mitchum walks into her life and screws up everything. This is the first time Corey and Mitchum meet, as Corey and Leigh and her son are trimming the tree.
I love great dialogue, and this is very minimalist, two potential rivals trying to make small talk. It’s all in the delivery.
I’ve always felt sorry for Corey. He’s not the villain – he’s actually a great guy! – but unfortunately he’s not Robert Mitchum so we’re supposed to root for him and not Corey.
In my Saturday Evening Post column this week: thoughts on celebrating Christmas in a crazy year, David Prowse, three movies you should watch this holiday season (in addition to the classics), a gift for the person who has everything, Dr Pepper (“Dr” doesn’t have a period!), cookie recipes, and why Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to Boston every year.
Have a great weekend. It’s supposed to snow here on Saturday.