70's kids...need help identifying this

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by The Lensman, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. The Lensman

    The Lensman Commodore Commodore

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    Okay, so for a long time I've had this memory of a sci-fi Christmas special that I believe aired in the 70's, I'm guessing '77 or after since that was the year of Star Wars. Unfortunately I don't remember too much of it, other than it was one of those live musical type things that stunk up the airways back then. My memories are very vague, but I think it had to do with a dad who worked a factory (toy?) who was spending more time working there than spending time with his family or kids. I don't know if the factory workers were robots, but I seem to remember one of the songs ending with a robotic sounding chorus of "Can't make time" (or something close) being repeated over and over. Of course dad learns true meaning of Christmas by the end, and it's not about mass produced materialism.

    For some reason I've always thought Michael Landon was the main character, but I can't find anything resembling this when I look at his work. Nor can I find anything on YouTube, despite every craptacular, bad joke spewing, live variety show Christmas special seemingly available there.

    Does any of this sound at all familiar to my fellow 70's kids? It's been driving me nuts for decades.
     
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  2. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Bits of it sound like a special I remember that starred Mac Davis as a husband/father in the future, that remembered Christmas being very different when he was a kid. The past was the late '70s of the "present" and the adult Mac Davis worked some kind of factory job under Ted Knight in the "future" of our current era. Christmas had been replaced with 'Commerce Day' and was all about consumerism run amok. I remember Ted Knight's character being in on the switch, and it being a backhanded, thinly disguised slam against liberalism and the idea that 'traditional values' were on the way out.
     
  3. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    ^That's got to be it. Mac Davis's '70s hair was in the Michael Landon league. I don't remember it, but my mind was probably still dealing with the Star Wars Holiday Special.

    IMDb: A Mac Davis Special: Christmas Odyssey
     
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  4. The Lensman

    The Lensman Commodore Commodore

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    That's it! I'd forgotten the "Commerce Day" thing until I read your post, but yeah, that's it. Mac Davis! I've been able to find some info on the web about it now that I know ole Mac was the star. Don't know what made me think it was Michael Landon all these years. While he had sung a little bit, Mac made his name as a singer, and was pretty popular in the 70's. He probably had his own variety hour too! XD

    I believe that chorus I mentioned above was "Can't waste time" not "Can't make time". I think it was the robots or workers singing about not wasting time in order to make more stuff to sell. I've checked YouTube and can't find a single clip from this thing, or anywhere online for that matter. Bummer. I'd like to check it out, though I'm sure it's probably on par with the Star Wars Holiday Special.

    Thanks again for solving this decades old mystery!
     
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  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So, a weird thing:

    To find this on Ted Knight's IMDb page, you have to look in the list of things where he's credited as "Self" ("himself"), not in the list of normal acting credits. Then, if you go to the entry for A Mac Davis Special: Christmas Odyssey - 2010 (1978), you see that the whole cast

    • Mac Davis
    • Ted Knight
    • Paul Lynde
    • Bernadette Peters

    is playing themselves. I think that's weird, because this seems like it's some form of science fiction, as described. But maybe that's how the credits listed them in the show, and it was presented as like a variety show or something. :shrug:

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1795545/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  6. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I'm telling you, the hair!

    Yes he definitely had his own variety show, my mom liked it. He was really big for a few years. That's why it was hard to be humble.

    I wondered about that, too. That might just be all the information they have, and since it seems to have been promoted somewhat like a standard star's Christmas variety special, maybe someone made an assumption.

    Here what my hometown paper said in the listing for 9pm, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 1978:

    A futuristic musical comedy set in a time when Christmas has been wiped from memory and is now called Commerce Day. Guest stars: Ted Knight, Bernadette Peters (60 mins.)
    1978_tv_clipping.png

    Speaking of wiped from memory, it seems like that's what they tried to do with this show after it aired. But it sounds so bad I really feel like I have to see it.

    It's more evidence that anything vaguely science fiction was a "go" for a couple of years after Star Wars. There was also a cartoon Christmas special with aliens visiting Earth in a version of the three wise men story. IIRC it reran another year or two but didn't become a holiday classic.
    A Cosmic Christmas
     
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  7. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    An addendum:

    I had forgotten about Paul Lynde being in this. It must have been one of his final projects, as he died before the '80s began. And he must have been the big boss of the corporation Mac Davis and Ted Knight worked at, or even a politician involved. I only saw it the once, forty some years ago, but as we watched Mac Davis's variety show, we were keen to see this as well. We were fans of his singing.
     
  8. The Lensman

    The Lensman Commodore Commodore

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    LOL! I dunno....the shape of his hair was always unique. I'd have to see pix of both Landon and Davis at that time cuz I never thought their hair was that similar. Davis had wavy or curly hair that had a unique shape. Almost helmet like. Landon would've been Charles Ingalls at this point, and his hair wasn't similar to Davis' IIRC. That is unless Davis' hair style was a little different by this point?

    Exactly how I feel. Plus I want to hear that song again to see how accurate my memory of it is.

    Definitely!
     
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  9. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    My forty-year addled memory says that Mac Davis's hair at this point was a man-perm, almost afro in proportion. It's amazing he got away with it in some of the period pieces he starred in.

    ETA: I just IMDbed him. Much of what he did just isn't listed on his entry. Among the period pieces he did was the sequel to The Sting, costarring Jackie Gleason. Also not listed is Cheaper To Keep Her, a romcom he made with Tovah Feldshuh. Someone needs to start cross-referencing him there.
     
  10. filmnoter

    filmnoter Cadet Newbie

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    It looks like you are just looking at his Soundtrack credits, and need to expand his Actor credits.
     
  11. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    I thought I was looking at his actor credits. The list I saw before was short. Even then, not all he has done is listed. This special, for instance.