About Perry Como's Early American Christmas
Honey voiced crooner Perry Como graced TV screens during the Christmas season for nearly half a century, first as the host of a long-running musical-variety series and later as the star (and producer) of ambitious holiday specials.
This 1978 installment from “the cradle of American democracy” in Williamsburg, Virginia is part variety show, part history lesson. Como — still boyish at age 66 — welcomes film icon John Wayne, actress Diana Canova, and classical violinist Eugene Fodor.
In one of his final appearances, Wayne looks (and sounds) hearty as he participates in historical-themed skits and joins Perry for a sing-along of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” in period dress. Canova, then starring on ABC’s Soap, demonstrates a lovely singing voice on three show tunes: “My Cup Runneth Over” from I Do, I Do; “It Couldn’t Please Me More” from Cabaret; and “Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks (the latter two in duets with Perry). And Como closes the show with an extended rendition of “Ave Maria” set in a Revolutionary War-era chapel.
If you remember watching the Perry Como Christmas shows from your younger days, this episode may bring a tear to your eye. But they will be tears of joy.
Notable guest stars:
John Wayne, Diana Canova
Produced by Bob Banner, Stephen Pouliot