Merry Couch-mas To All

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Whether your Yuletide house teems with merry life or relative strife, whether you're with the brood or just brooding, whether that lump in your stocking's a Tamagachi or a rotten egg, nothing seals the season like a Christmas movie.

For CP, there's a cinematic holy trinity here, and he doesn't expect much argument:

Start with a known quantity: It's a Wonderful Life (1951). Odds are you'll miss the ONE time Ted Turner lets it out of the box, so rise up and rent. Trivia note: Frank Faylen and Ward Bond play the cabby and the cop (or is it the cop and the cabby?). Their names? Ernie and Bert. Jim Henson was not sued.

Then, of course, there's A Christmas Carol; go with Alastair Sim as the bullied, bollixed and bejeebered Scrooge. He's just a crabby old guy with low heating bills and a profitable money-counting operation--where's the crime in that?--until the three ghosts take turns leaning on him. Personally, this tale has always rankled CP more than a little. But people seem to like it.

And on to Miracle on 34th Street. The 1947 version, or it's coal for you--from Natalie Wood to John Payne, this one thrives in that postwar black-and-white glow. And Edmund Gwenn (no offense Richard Attenborough, you were great in Great Escape) is Santa Claus.

Now here's one no one seems to know about, a few miles east and a smidge south of Macy's. 29th Street is a based-on-true-story about the first winner of the New York Lottery. It's a richest-man-in-Queens meets Goodfellas tale starring Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia, and it's a genuine Xmas heartwarmer. Trust in Couch Potato, and give Dad a call immediately after.

Happy Holidays to all, and please rewind.