June 9, 2019
For the second time in less than a month a bad idea for a Christmas movie has been announced. Paramount has declared that Kevin Hart will produce and likely star in a remake of 1988’s dark comedic disaster called Scrooged, which originally starred Bill Murray.
Scrooged is just one of many inexplicable takes on Dicken’s A Christmas Carol that ultimately underwhelmed both at the box office and with traditional Christmas audiences.
Murray’s manic performance in what can only be called a joyless take on Christmas remains one of the most bizarre depictions ever of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Unlike A Christmas Story, Scrooged remains an enigma with Christmas audiences, though Paramount now insists it is a “cult classic”.
The film pulled in $60 million at the box office, not even cracking the top ten for that year.
In fact, another film from the same year, Die Hard, argued both then and now about whether it is a Christmas film at all, pulled in more than $80 million. Just a year later Christmas Vacation was made and it grossed $72 million. Why aren’t they trying to remake those two films?
Films of greater Christmas fame such as Home Alone went on to make $285 million and The Santa Clause pulled in $145 million. Scrooged does not even make the top ten.
Scrooged has likewise failed to impress in home media sales and in television replay.
So why then is anyone even considering a remake?
In 2013 Hollywood announced a potential remake of It’s a Wonderful Life, long considered even outside of Christmas circles as one of the best movies ever made. The outcry against a remake was so great the project was shelved.
It might be time to cry out again, folks.
Why can’t Hollywood get Christmas right? In the past decade we have had to endure such lousy offerings such as A Bad Mom’s Christmas, The Man Who Invented Christmas, Office Christmas Party and The Night Before.
Hollywood’s take on Christmas has been simply dreadful.
By Black River Santa
Santa Claus Flew a Piper Cub
By Black River Santa
On Christmas Eve 1944, the beleaguered American defenders holding the little Belgian town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, were low on everything except courage. An airdrop the day before had brought in some supplies but the few, exhausted medics, who tended to wounded GIs in dank cellars throughout the town, had no penicillin and damn little of anything else. When the Germans surrounded the town on December 19, they captured nearly all of the medical personnel and supplies. According to one trooper named Ernie Cummings, who was there with the 101st Airborne, the handful of medics had no choice but to amputate the growing number of gangrenous and frostbitten limbs.
Back at headquarters, they were frantically trying to get medical supplies through to Bastogne but the foul weather ruined any hopes for another airdrop. Instead, they turned in desperation to some of the smallest members of the massive American air armada – the single-prop, unarmed Piper Cub L-4s, known affectionately as “grasshoppers.” The Piper Cub was designed in the 1930s and was a popular civilian sport plane. During the war, it was used for reconnaissance flights and made an ideal spotter plane for artillery and armor, but the slow-moving, low-flying, grasshoppers were also vulnerable to all types of ground fire.
At the 28th Division HQ, volunteers were requested from the ranks of the Piper Cub pilots that spotted for the division artillery. The men were told that they would fly in at night and face heavy enemy fire. They were also warned that there was no airstrip near Bastogne to land on, and no lights to guide them in. Every one of the plucky grasshopper pilots stepped forward to volunteer. One, who insisted the loudest and most adamantly, was a young lieutenant from Far Hills, New Jersey named Kenneth B. Schley, Jr.
As the tiny planes were loaded with vital penicillin, the weather worsened and an icy fog began to envelop the airfield. Back at HQ, the brass was beginning to have second thoughts, and shortly aftr the planes took off, they aborted the mission. Kenneth Schley had anticipated the recall, so as a precaution, he turned off his radio so that there would be no turning back. Alone, he bounced along through the frigid, starless night relying on his compass to guide him to Bastogne. Along the way he dodged bursts of flak, machine gun tracers, small arms fire, and anything else the enemy could throw at him.
After 30 minutes under intense fire, Schley finally reached Bastogne. As warned, he couldn’t see any lights or signs of a landing strip. He buzzed the town several times, swooping down to rooftop level and gunning his engines hoping to be heard but there was still no sign. Determined to get the supplies through at any cost, he decided to crash land. Just then, a double row of flashlights flickered on below, outlining a makeshift landing strip. For the astonished troopers of the 101st Airborne, it was as if old St. Nick had dropped in himself. For the wounded lying in the cellars of the surrounded and besieged town, there couldn’t have been a better Christmas present.
Schley spent the night in one of crowded cellars. He was so impressed with the tenacity of the men of the 101st, he tried to enlist the next morning. When he was told that it was appreciated but not possible, he decided to get back to work. Against the advice of his new comrades and superior officers, Schley hopped back into his Piper Cub on Christmas morning and flew back over enemy lines to his unit. For his “gallantry and complete disregard for personal safety” that foggy Christmas Eve, Kenneth B. Schley, Jr. was awarded the Silver Star.
Lt. Kenneth B. Schley, Jr. (left). A Piper Cub L-4 Grasshopper (right)
By Black River Santa
I don't know if this topic has been done before. I"m not asking about Christmas specials like "The Grinch..." or "A Charlie Brown Christmas," I mean episodes of favorite television series. I have so many but right up at the top has to be the Andy Griffith holiday episode titled, "Christmas Story," which aired on December 19, 1960. This is the one where Scrooge-ish store owner, Ben Weaver, demands that Andy lock-up moonshiner, Sam Muggins, on Christmas Eve. Andy then hatches a plan to arrest Sam's wife and kids on conspiracy charges so they can spend Christmas with him in the jail. Then he brings Aunt Bee, Opie, Ellie, and Barney (who plays Santa) into the courthouse for a Christmas party. Ben’s heart is finally melted and he wants to be part of the festivities, so he tries to get himself arrested too… I won’t be a spoiler and tell the end, just in case someone hasn’t seen it.