Christmas Eve at long last


December 24, 1991|By Steve McKerrow

There's not much time to squeeze in any more Christmas specials. But the holiday eve and the big day itself both bring a few memorable moments:

* At 8 tonight on Maryland Public Television, for example, an encore airing of "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" includes Big Bird and friends along with skaters from Hollywood on Ice. And MPT follows at 9 o'clock with its annual presentation of "The Nutcracker" ballet, as performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland.

Also at 8, Channel 54 offers a final look at "It's A Wonderful Life," director Frank Capra's cliched but irresistible holiday homily. (Is there anybody in the movies more beatific than Donna Reed as flawed Jimmy Stewart's spouse?)

* For the cable connected, the TBS basic service is again showing (at 8:05 p.m.) the wonderful "A Christmas Story" from 1983. The film is based on the writings of humorist Jean Shepherd, who can also be briefly seen, like Hitchcock, in the film. (He's a gruff, bearded man standing in line for a department store Santa.)

* At 11:30 p.m., Channel 2 once again begins its traditional observance, with a night full of performances of traditional music, all by local groups.

* CBS is offering "Christmas Eve Services", the Festival Service of Holy Eucharist, (at 11:30, Channel 11) from Atlanta's Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip.

* And at midnight, ABC (Channel 13) is screening "Night of Nights," from the the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a musical pageant including a 40-piece orchestra, 300-voice choir, a cast of 600 and a gathering of live sheep, donkeys and camels.

* On Christmas morning tomorrow, the nation's poet laureate, Richard Wilbur, is offering a personal reading of three new holiday poems on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," which begins at 6 a.m. on WJHU-FM 88.1. The NPR program commissioned the works by giving Wilbur three concepts related to Christmas: the words "snow," "goose" and "silent night."

* Joan Lunden and Regis Philbin are hosts on ABC of coverage at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Channel 13) of the "Walt Disney World Christmas Parade."

* And at noon on Channel 54, Bob Eubanks and Leeza Gibbons co-host the annual "Hollywood Christmas Parade" march down Sunset Boulevard.

* A HONKY TONK NEW YEAR -- "At the Max," the Rolling Stones' concert movie currently playing weekends in the Maryland Science Center's IMAX theater, is getting a special New Year's Eve screening.

The movie will be shown at 9:30 p.m., scheduled to permit viewers to leave the center just in time for the city's annual Inner Harbor fireworks celebration. Tickets are $13, available at the center's box office, at TicketMaster locations or by calling 1-410-481-6000.

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