A special time of year on TV

December 08, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

A look at the coming holiday specials on TV -- check your local listings for air dates:

* "A Peanuts Christmas" (CBS). (Animated) Charlie Brown and the gang befriend a homeless man on Christmas Eve who soon finds them as irritating as everyone else does. Snoopy urinates on the man's only pair of shoes.

* "Billy Ray Cyrus' Country Christmas" (TNN). Billy Ray sweats to "Jingle Bells," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and his newest hit single "More Achy Breaky Heart" before narrating a tractor pull at the Memphis Coliseum.

* "Mike Tyson's KO Christmas Special!" (ABC). Taped at the Indiana prison where he's serving a sentence for rape, the former heavyweight boxing champ reads his holiday poems ("Pain: I Like To Give It," "Hellhole," "Ain't Nobody's Girlfriend") and shows off his papier-mache Christmas decorations made in the prison art class. Guests: Spike Lee, Indiana Youth Center Chorus. Special appearance by Don King.

* "Frosty the Snowman" (CBS). (Animated) An unexpected heat wave has Frosty concerned about his health when his carrot nose melts off and both button eyes wash away. Frosty's voice: Charlton Heston.

* "The Andy Williams Christmas Special" (PBS). Taped at the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo., the venerable, low-key entertainer meanders through his traditional relaxed performance until everyone in the audience is sound asleep.

* "The Bob Hope Holiday Special" (NBC). Ninety years young, Bob delivers his traditional holiday package of cornball jokes, lame skits, second-rate cabaret singers and giggling, busty young actresses. This unedited version has Bob bounding on stage and yelling: "How'ya doin', Da Nang?!" apparently thinking he's back in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.

* "A Malibu Christmas with Susan Anton" (CBS). The has-been actress takes time-out from her new job as Amway products sales rep to host an evening of singing and dancing as homes caught in the recent brush fires smolder gaily in the background. Guests: Shari Lewis, Huey Lewis and the News, Louis Farrakhan.

* "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (TBS). (Animated) The mean, green, half-ape, half-cat returns to terrify the residents of Whoville, who suspect he's the byproduct of an accident at a nearby nuclear reactor. Voice of the Grinch: Secretary of Defense Les Aspin.

* "An Alabama Country Christmas" (TNN). Hairy country band Alabama fetes the holidays with some down-home singing and hosts a whittling and hog-calling contest. Guests: Vince Gill, stock car legend Richard Petty.

* "Def Comedy Christmas Jam" (HBO). The holidays come to the 'hood as Martin Lawrence hosts an evening of stand-up featuring foul-mouthed comics ruminating on such festive themes as Santa visiting a crackhouse, Santa wounded in a drive-by shooting and Santa consorting with promiscuous women.

* "A Wayne's World Christmas" (MTV). The goofy cable-access legends from Aurora, Ill., kick out the jams in Wayne's basement rec room in a holiday tribute to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith and Sharon Stone. As the boys "toast" the Christmas season by sniffing cleaning fluid from a plastic bag, Wayne's haunting electric guitar improvisation of "Silent Night" reduces Garth to tears.

* "A Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol" (The Disney Channel). (Animated) Dickens rolls over in his grave in this Disney remake of his classic tale, with Donald in the title role as skinflint Scrooge McDuck and Mickey cast as the downtrodden Bob Cratchit. One serious flaw: Donald's annoying nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie are improbably cast as McDuck's business partners.

* "Chevy Chase's Salute to Christmas" (Fox). Fresh from his disastrous experiment as a talk show host, Chevy hosts an evening of unfunny sight gags, off-key caroling, strained conversation and forced merriment with guests Goldie Hawn, Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Mull. An impromptu 20-second crying jag during the intro as well as his pointed death threat against Fox chairwoman Lucie Salhany indicates Chevy's lingering bitterness over his show's cancellation.

* "Christmas Eve With Tony Danza" (NBC). The former "Who's the Boss?" star reads " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to puzzled orphans in his thick Brooklyn accent (" . . . an' all tru da house, not a creecher was stirrin', not even a freakin' mouse, ya see what I'm sayin'?") before inexplicably donning the boxing gloves and sparring three rounds with Walter Matthau. Special appearance by the Fight Doctor, Ferdie Pacheco.

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