The Honeymooners and Twilight Zone Marathons, Binge Watching, and Streaming in 2021

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy and The Honeymooners marathon on WPIX-11 have become annual fixtures on New Year's Eve in my household.  What better way to close out the year than watching some classic television on a quiet evening at home?  If you throw in some Chinese food, my wife and I can't think of a better way to celebrate the end of one year and the new beginnings of the next!

We'll comb through the schedule and set the DVR to record our favorites and then watch as many as we can.  The binge-watching gets pushed aside momentarily for about 5 minutes when the ball drops in Times Square, but then it's immediately back to the Honeymooners until we fall asleep.  We'll spend the next few days combing through the DVR to watch the episodes we love before our annual viewings of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos begin.  Hey, we're creatures of habit.  


For many, these annual marathons have become a yearly tradition.  Why are these kinds of marathons so beloved?  

I for sure enjoy a good marathon, but why do so many of us feel nostalgic about them?  Why do so many of us still go out of our way to watch all or parts of them?

The WPIX Yule Log

Friday, December 24, 2021

No story, article, or memory today.


Just click play and enjoy! 

Merry Christmas to you all!


Christmas on Roseanne

Monday, December 20, 2021

Now that I have a family of my own, the notion of community, tradition, faith, and the holidays mean so much more to me.  "Roseanne" was never a show my family watched when I was growing up, and I didn't get into watching the reruns until I was in college, but the series does an excellent job representing all of those things.  The time period "Roseanne" was set in and the everyday family it portrays really struck a chord with me as it reminded me of my formative years.  It's been a real treat for me to go back and watch and review each season for this "Holidays on Roseanne" series.

The show and the fictional Conner family took the holiday season seriously.  As we found out reviewing the Halloween episodes (CLICK HERE) or Thanksgiving (CLICK HERE), not every season had a dedicated episode to the given holiday.  The same goes for Christmas, and to be honest, I was surprised at the lack of Christmas episodes during its nine-year run.  Even more surprising, it took "Roseanne" four seasons into the series to have their first Christmas-themed episode.  Of the nine seasons in the show's initial run, only 4 episodes involve Christmas.  


Thank you for indulging me these past few months as I review one of my favorite television series from the past.  It has been a lot of fun and has brought back many great memories of hanging around my college dorm watching reruns late at night.  

So without further ado, let's look at how Roseanne, Dan, and the family spent their Christmas holidays with family, food, decorations, and (of course) arguments with "Christmas on Roseanne!"  

A Brief History of "A Christmas Story" and the TBS/TNT 24 hour marathon

Friday, December 17, 2021

This is sort of a "Retro RePost" from last year but has been modified and edited for 2021.  

Growing up, there was not a Christmas movie I enjoyed more than "A Christmas Story."  I'll admit, I had never even heard of the film before TBS began its annual 24-hour marathon in 1997.  It just wasn't something on my radar.  Having accidentally come across the film that first 24-hour marathon, I was sucked in by the excitement of the marathon itself and the quest to watch the movie as much as I could in an entire 24-hour period.  Then something amazing happened.  It turned out the movie was really good, too!


"A Christmas Story" was originally a small independent film made in 1983 that had very little fanfare for several years until it earned a "cult-classic" status and rabid fan following in the early 1990s.  Turner Broadcasting had maintained ownership of the film's broadcasting rights and, starting in 1991, began airing the film increasingly on its networks TBS, TNT, and TCM.  In 1995, it was aired over the 3 different channels a combined 6 times from December 24th to 26th.

Those 6 viewings were so successful that in 1996 Turner increased it to 8 separate broadcasts.

However, in 1997, due to the movie's ever-increasing popularity (and rising merchandise sales), TNT began airing a 24-hour marathon, officially titled "24 Hours of A Christmas Story."  The marathon would begin either at 8pm Eastern on Christmas Eve and run for a total of 12 airings.  

In 2004, when TNT switch to a predominantly drama television format, TBS took over the marathon.  

It was estimated that in 2002 that 38.4 million people tuned in at one point or another.    In 2008 that estimate increased to 54.4 million.

The film was so popular that in 2014 and 2015, Turner decided to broadcast the marathons on BOTH TBS and TNT!  They staggered the showings one hour apart so that you wouldn't have the same exact scene on both channels and could pick up at any point on either network.  This was also done so that both channels were not in the commercial break at the same time.  

For whatever reason, the dual marathon was not run on both channels in 2016 and only aired on TBS.  It returned to TNT in 2017 and has been on both channels since.


After widespread internet rumors in 2018 claiming TBS canceled the marathon, Turner (and TBS/TNT) issued statements assuring fans that the marathon indeed lived on.  You could understand, then, when TBS was very slow to publish the schedule for 2019, "A Christmas Story" fans were worried once again.  That was remedied in 2020, and this year, for 2021, the two networks published the marathon schedule in early November, assuring fans that the annual tradition would live on once again.

One of my favorite activities around Christmas growing up was this marathon.  After the first few years of trying to watch EVERY SINGLE showing, I was older, and life had gotten quite a bit busier for all of us.  My family adapted, and our goal switched from watching the full marathon to catching the entire movie once... but not in a full sitting.  It's a fun little game we still play, where we piece together a complete movie over the 24 hours by tuning in at different times.  It doesn't even need to be in order, as long as we don't miss anything.

You can catch 24 straight hours of this beloved Christmas movie starting 8:00 PM Eastern on December 24th on TBS.  The marathon runs through Christmas Day, and the final airing of "A Christmas Story" is 6:00PM Eastern on the 25th.  The marathon will start on TNT at 9:00 PM on December 24th, running through the final showing at 7pm on Christmas Day.


Be careful, or you'll shoot your eye out!

Five Classic Christmas Commercials!

Monday, December 13, 2021

We're well on our way to Christmas and almost halfway through December!  Boy, how time flies!  What better way to keep the momentum going than watching some old television commercials from when we were young and full of Christmas wonder?  


Nostalgia geeks like me often spend many hours watching "found footage" on Youtube dubbed from someone's home videotapes.  Great folks on the internet will edit and clean up the footage to compile old commercials into hours of great footage. 

Some kind soul will spend their free time reviewing old VHS tapes, convert them to digital, and then upload them to the internet.  That one long-lost memory will be given a "forever space" on the internet, just waiting to be enjoyed by the people who've spent years looking for it.  Bless these people.  

These days, if you're like me, you fast forward through as many commercials as you can.  This Thanksgiving, my family watched network television for the first time in over a year as we tuned in to WPIX (Channel 11 in New York) for our traditional viewing of Laurel and Hardy's "March of the Wooden Soldiers." We left it on to play in the background but quickly noticed that every three commercial spots were filled by the same Public Service Announcement for a medical procedure or medicine or what have you.  No wonder everyone is so crazed if that's all they hear every 5 minutes all day!   I digress...

You probably aren't a fan of commercials now, but I guarantee that you can remember (and probably even sing) at least 3 jingles from ads from your childhood.  I have a whole series of commercials I fondly remember, which you can head over to the "Collections" page and check out.  But that was back when companies invested significant money in advertising and had things like jingles or gimmicks to catch your attention.   One of the nice things about commercials from years gone by is that they remind me of a different time or specific memory.  

The commercials back then all had a holiday flair to them and kept the festive Christmas spirit going between a Christmas special or themed sitcom episode breaks.  Heck, even the car commercials got into the act!  Remember the "Lexus Christmas Sales Event" commercials as the shiny new car would wind its way through snow-covered woods to arrive in time for Christmas morning, complete with a giant bow on the car once its intended recipient woke up in the morning?  

Or who could forget the so-annoyingly-awful-they're-great Hyundai commercials from 2010 (11 years ago already!) featuring the singing duo Pomplamoose?  (CLICK HERE TO BE REMINDED!)

Now that Pomplamoose is stuck in your head, click below to see Five Classic Christmas Commercials!

Retro RePost: National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 30th Anniversary

Friday, December 10, 2021

On December 1st, my favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, turned 32!  

32 may not exactly be a celebration-worthy anniversary, but if you go back to 2019, I wrote an article for The Retro Network celebrating the big 30th!  


Over the past several years, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation has ascended to cult following status.  It's arguably most people's favorite movies, and the merchandise machines have been pushing out new items every year to celebrate the several decades-old film.  

A Cartoon Christmas - "A Flintstone Christmas" (1977)

Monday, December 6, 2021

I really enjoy Christmas television specials, especially the older ones I remember from times gone by.  Many of my favorites were some of the older cartoons, and every year here on YesterYear, I try to highlight one of the Christmas cartoons I remember fondly from years gone by.    

Like any kid, I liked cartoons, especially if they had to do with Christmas!  These days, the Hannah Barbera cartoons get a bad rap by cartoon "purists" on the internet these days, but I don't understand their complaints.  I enjoy the simple animation and the now-iconic voice acting.  Growing up, I remember watching The Flintstones on TBS in early morning reruns before school.  During the early 90s, the reruns were paired with The Jetsons, and I remember eating cereal and getting ready for school while they were on.  I remember The Flintstones being on in the afternoon as well, where I could catch them before dinner.

The Flintstones is just good, clean, family fun.  Which is what a Christmas special should be all about, right?  "A Flintstone Christmas" is just that.  


Featuring a familiar storyline amongst many holiday specials, we find Santa Claus needing some help this year to save Christmas!  The 1977 Flintstone's special borrows the same storyline (and several re-used animation scenes) from a previous 1964 episode of the Flintstones titled "A Christmas Flintstone."  

The special we'll look at today, "A Flinstone Christmas," debuted on December 7, 1977.

Retro RePost: I Love Lucy Meets Santa Claus!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Here's another rerun to help you better enjoy the Christmas season!  I'm feeling very nostalgic this year, so why not go waaaay back to the 1950s when Santa Claus appeared on I Love Lucy?  


Since I Love Lucy is one of my top 5 favorite shows of all time, I really enjoyed writing this article.  It appeared both here and on "The Retro Network," so you know I'm very proud of it.  If you read it already, give it another whirl, if you missed it, I think you'll really like it!