Christmas . . . a time of goodwill and of good movies. Or so it would seem, as the airwaves fill with such holiday favorites as "White Christmas," "Holiday Inn," "A Christmas Carol," "Miracle on 34th Street" and the ubiquitous "It's a Wonderful Life."
Everyone has a favorite and that includes celebrities. We asked some to name their favorite Yuletide film. As expected, tradition won out with "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street" holding a definite edge, but there were some surprises.
(If you want to watch any of these titles yourself, many of the holiday classics will air numerous times this week. Just check the TV Times alphabetized movie listings for air times. Or you may be able to find the movies at your neighborhood video store.)
Ed Asner ("Mary Tyler Moore," "Lou Grant"): It used to be "It's a Wonderful Life," but I've reached overkill on that. I would say that now it's any version of "A Christmas Carol."
Kaye Ballard ("What a Dummy"): I love all the old classics, but at holiday time I prefer to go out and see all the new releases.
Scott Bakula (NBC's "Quantum Leap"): I look forward to "White Christmas" every year because I think the Irving Berlin music is wonderful and I am a fan of Bing Crosby.
John Beard (KNBC-TV news co-anchor): Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." My family watches it together every year and we all cry like babies because it makes us realize how important we are to each other.
Linda Blair ("The Exorcist"): There is no doubt in my mind that Kevin Costner's "Dances With Wolves" is the movie I would like for Christmas. I've always admired Kevin Costner because he's always been committed to making movies that come from the heart.. "Dances With Wolves" is the perfect example of that. It's an epic beauty that has integrity. It's educational and it's even historical.
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (creator and co-executive producer of CBS' "Designing Women" and "Evening Shade"): I would like to be different from the others, but you can't miss with "It's a Wonderful Life."
Ken Burns (producer and director of PBS' "The Civil War"): My favorite holiday movie is, of course, "It's a Wonderful Life." It's not only a warm and sentimental and timeless film, but a dark parable of the sinister flip side of the American Dream-a "Blue Velvet" of an earlier more conventional, but no less complicated time. I cry every time I see it and can remember, as if it just happened, the first time my father let me stay up and watch. It will be a favorite as long as the Republic survives."
LeVar Burton ("Star Trek: The Next Generation," PBS' "Reading Rainbow"): "Dances With Wolves" because the film is true and honest. The story is told with so much integrity and tells what it means to be a human being.
Tom Capra (executive producer NBC's "The Today Show"): "It's a Wonderful Life" because it's the best Christmas movie of all time and my dad made it. Johnny Carson (NBC's "The Tonight Show"): "Miracle on 34th Street"-because everyone else will mention "It's a Wonderful Life."
Jackie Collins (author of "Chances," "Lucky" and "Lady Boss"): "The Godfather" and "The Godfather II" because it's the only time I can sit down and watch them both.
Chris Connelly (host of MTV's "The Big Picture," senior editor of Premiere magazine): "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol." Magoo as Scrooge, what more can you want? It's the musical equivalent to black velvet paintings.
Bob Costas (host of NBC's "Later With Bob Costas," "NFL Live"): "King Kong," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Double Indemnity" and "Champagne for Caesar." They all caught my fancy when I was a kid.
Jenny Craig (diet expert): "Miracle on 34th Street." I quote from Rod McKuen: "The gifts that one receives from giving to others are so immeasurable that it is almost injustice to accept them." That is why I like this movie.
Paul DeMeo (co-executive producer of CBS' "The Flash"): "The Lady in the Lake." It's set during Christmas and has one of my favorite lines when (detective) Philip Marlow is questioning a tennis player he says, "Your tan is very nice, it's very Christmasy."
Bob Dorian (American Movie Classics host): I truly enjoy all the holiday season motion pictures. It would be easier for me to choose the ones I don't like-the colorized ones.
Jerry Dunphy (KCAL news anchor): "A Christmas Carol," because there is a strong moral message that says you better be good because everybody doesn't get a second chance to try it again.