Sunday, November 25, 2007
75 Years of Yuletide Spectacle
This Christmas season, the Radio City Music Hall celebrates 75 years of its Christmas Spectacular this year, and The New York Times recently reported that the 2007 edition salutes the stage show’s rich and festive history with the help of longtime Radio City historian Diane Jaust, who mined 5,000 boxes of Music Hall photos, programs and other memorabilia to help capture the Spirit of Christmas Spectacular Past. For many, including those who have never even been able to attend the show in person, the Christmas Spectacular is a revered holiday tradition, and in a way that’s even more true for cinema aficionados. Once upon a time, the Radio City Music Hall was a major showcase for first-run films and to have a movie booked into “The Showplace of the Nation” was the height of prestige. For many of its 75 years the Christmas Spectacular accompanied a movie “On the Giant Screen!” Some of the classic films to play the Music Hall during the holidays include Babes on Broadway (1941), The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) and A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969). Charlie Brown was one of the most successful runs ever at the Music Hall, and by coincidence the film features a scene at Rockefeller Center, home to the Music Hall. Pictured here are the cover and a spread from the Radio City program, including details of “The Nativity” and drawings of the film’s stars by Charles M. Schulz. Disney films such as Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Robin Hood (1973), Pete’s Dragon (1977) and (a most appropriate holiday choice) Babes in Toyland (1961) were also holiday attractions along with the Christmas Spectacular "On The Great Stage!" If you somehow can’t get to New York City for the 75th edition of the Christmas Spectacular, you can at least visit the official Radio City Music Hall website for a spectacular gallery of historic photos.