You’ve wandered into the topsy-turvy world of Tulgey Wood, the blog of writer and historian Jim Fanning. Tulgey Wood celebrates artistry and creativity (and sometimes just plain madness): movies, animation, TV, books, comics—and of course Disney, lots and lots of true-blue, through-and-through Disney, including D23 and Disney twenty-three Magazine, and Sketches Magazine and the Walt Disney Collectors Society. Tulgey Wood is so fun, fascinating and full of frolicsome photos and facts, it’s scary. So wander through the wonder of it all, and enjoy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A True Christmas Classic: The First Hallmark Hall of Fame

This Sunday, December 2, the 231st presentation of the Hallmark Hall of Fame will be broadcast on CBS, but (a wonderful website all about television history for which I sometimes write) has just made available an excellent, in-depth report on the inaugural Hall of Fame presentation, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Broadcast live on Christmas Eve 1951, Amahl was the first opera ever to be commissioned for television, and was shown annually for many years. As reported in this marvelously written and astonishingly detailed piece by Mitchell Hadley, Amahl and the Night Visitors tells the story of a lame shepherd boy who encounters three kings in search of a mysterious child. The beautiful and moving opera was composed by Gian Carlo Menotti who created the piece (the most performed opera in history as it is performed seasonally by groups both amateur and professional) after being inspired by the famous Hieronymus Bosch painting of the Magi in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (pictured below on the cover of the original cast album). Don’t miss this outstanding online article about the groundbreaking special that not only launched the long-running Hallmark Hall of Fame but also became TV’s first Christmas tradition. Be sure and read this wonderful piece sometime this December, as it makes for great seasonal—and historic—reading.


Doug said...

I remember watching the 1978 remake. Apparently I was the only viewer. You'd think Hallmark Channel would rerun this and other forgotten HALL OF FAME gems during the holiday season instead of endless WALKER TEXAS RANGER reruns and John Larroquette
mystery movies.

Our Word said...


Thanks so much for the very, very nice comments. Having been too young to see the original verson, watching the DVD and writing about it has become something of a labor of love.


Personal opinion only, it's unfortunate that they chose to do the remake as a movie rather than a stagebound production as it previously had been. Of course, I admit I've never been a fan of opera as movie - give me the stage production every time. You're absolutely right that you'd think Hallmark - or someone - might want to run it at least once in a while, since they seem to be able to show everything else. Only a guess, but I wonder if it has anything to do with getting the broadcasting permission from the publisher, the problem NBC ran into with their early-60s version that Menotti disliked so much.


Anonymous said...

I wish Hallmark had room in their schedule - just an hour or three a week - to run ANYTHING of their classic programs. The current shows just don't interest me.