Plenty of TV goodies under the tree tonight

This glorious Larry Fritz illustration graced the cover of TV Guide for the week of December 24, 1955–exactly 57 years ago today. Back when signals were pulled in from all over on rooftop antennas–for free.
Off to Cloverdale to start my shopping. While you are wrapping gifts tonight by the Yule log on the “Fireplace Channel” (available 24 hours on Rogers cable 175 in Toronto), here are some holiday TV highlights elsewhere tonight. Merry viewing:

As one might expect, TCM has dug a little deeper into the classic film vault. They’ve come up  with a treat for Laurel & Hardy fans: Babes in Toyland (6:30 p.m.), a 1934 gem featuring Stan and Babe battling those nasty Boogeymen. The Shop Around the Corner (8 p.m.) is Jimmy Stewart’s other holiday offering, a sometime sad little film co-starring Margaret Sullavan. TCM closes things out with Come to the Stable (10 p.m.), a 1949 film about French nuns in New England featuring Claudette Colbert and Loretta Young.
If you want same old, there’s always It’s a Wonderful Life (8 p.m., CTV and NBC). Every time this 1946 Frank Capra classic plays on Christmas Eve, an angel gets her wings. Jimmy Stewart felt this was his finest performance. I like to catch this one half way through now, when things getting  especially dark.
Scrooge (8 p.m., CBC). Released in 1951 as A Christmas Carol, features the great Alastar Sim. NOTE TO CBC: Stop showing that crappy, colourized version of this great film every year, you are wrecking Christmas!

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (8 p.m., CHCH) Macauley Culkin and Joe Pesci return for this 1992 Christmas clash.
Miracle on 34th Street (7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., AMC) Young Natalie Wood stole every scene from ultimate store Santa Edmund Gwenn. AMC has shown this to death this month, both black and white and the crummy colourized version.
At 6 p.m., Bravo is re-showing The Christmas Song, a CTV/Hallmark film starring Natasha Henstridge and Gabe Hogan shot this past summer in Hamilton, Ont.
The Family Man (Dec. 9 p.m., OWN) finds Nicolas Cage trying to get home for the holidays until he realizes he had to sell off all his homes!
UPDATE: Oops! Left out the 24-hour Elf marathon beginning at 8 p.m. on Hollywood Suite. The package of affordable movie channels, with all movies presented in Hi-Def, uncut and commercial free, is now available across the GTA on Rogers. Check them out now during the free preview on channels 486-489–a nice present just in time for Christmas.

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