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 TVParty.com (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.