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Another packaging of Sinatra's 1950's television footage, once again by Hart Sharp Video, the producers who earlier this year brought us "Sinatra: The Classic Duets." Again, the show itself is under 30 minutes with the remaining 60 minutes allocated to interviews with Nancy, Tina, and other friends and associates familiar with the circumstances of the original show.
As usual, the producers are particularly unhelpful about providing documentation, but by perusing the video contents, it can be determined that the show is from 1957, which should have been "a very good year" for Old Blue. Unfortunately, this is definitely not a performance for making the case that Sinatra was the "Entertainer of the Century." He looks rather tired and stiff, and the voice, at least by Sinatra standards, sounds rough, lifeless and "played out." By contrast, Bing lights up the screen, radiating warmth, looking far more composed than the host, and singing flawlessly.
At these prices (under the cost of many CD's), this is a worthwhile pick-up for the Sinatra-Crosby collector. In fact, it rates above the earlier "Classic Duets" release because of print quality (a stunning clarity, even if the colors are often "wrong"), the extended sequencing (as opposed to stitching together bits and pieces from different Sinatra shows), and the extemporaneous, often surprising, remarks of the Sinatra daughters at a Q&A event following the initial screening of this restored footage. (At one point, in explaining Frank's troubles with TV ratings, Nancy says, "Dad didn't do well on television." Tina responds, "He had to fail somewhere.")
Bottom line: Don't even consider this if you don't already have "The Sinatra Christmas Album" or "A Jolly Christmas." And if it's Sinatra television footage you crave, be sure to pick up first the 1967 special with Frank, Ella, and Jobim. As for the Sinatra family members who, I understand, are largely responsible for this release: how do you explain going to such lengths to restore and mass-market this sort of footage while letting a Sinatra "concept" album like "All Alone," a project worthy of Sinatra's name in every respect, fall into oblivion?
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on October 14, 2003
This is amazing....what a find! Nancy Sinatra found this FULL COLOR episode from Frank Sinatra's 1957 television series, and it's simply a wonderful treat. Frank invites Bing Crosby over to his house for Christmas Eve and the two sing all the great holiday songs. What a retro-christmas gift! 15 songs in all, the entire DVD is about 90 minutes with extras. Of course it closes with Bing singing WHITE CHRISTMAS and Frank joining in - it's like a re-teaming from the film HIGH SOCIETY, they look and act about the same. There is a Q&A session from the Museum of Television with Nancy and Tina Sinatra, and the show's Producer William Self who answer some questions about the program. Also included is a photo gallery of Christmas Cards with Frank's original artwork. Don't miss out on this terrific holiday treat, you'll watch it every year right along with WHITE CHRISTMAS and CHARLIE BROWN!
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on December 6, 2003
Let me tell you Frank and Bing are at their best here. This disc is a true treasure. The 5.1 surrond sound audio is flawless. It is truly wonderful! The video, in some scenes is amazing!!! The scenes with them in ol England are GREAT! However, there are some scenes with blue specks that I KNOW could have been removed. All together, this is not a bad DVD. I do recommend it. It is well done considering the age, but the video could have been better in some spots. Regardless of the video quality, THIS IS A MUST BUY!
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on January 17, 2006
All the reviews I read were about Frank Sinatra, don't get me wrong I like him too, however Bing Crosby is by far the greatest singer and actor. When I first bought this DVD it was because of nostalgia, but it opened the door for me to meet "THE GRANDE MR. BING CROSBY", since I have bought everything that I can find on his wonderful career. Happy Holidays is my most treasured material possession. It is wonderful!!
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on November 21, 2003
Obviously our friend from Tennessee has no idea what a great find this DVD is. To complain about poor color when we should be thankful that any color print from 1957 that has been poorly stored and forgotten should still survive. I for one marveled at how rich the color was considering the problems with restoration. So few TV shows where filmed in color back then and none of them were ever shown in color in the original broadcasts....I marvel when I find a copy of Superman, Cisco Kid and other gems from back then that are produced on DVD in color. The music is excellent.....sure the production values were poor when compared to todays TV shows....but then they didn't have million dollar budgets .... they were lucky to have a few thousand dollars to produce any TV show. I find it disturbing when someone writes a review (who probably wasn't even born back in the 50's) and then complains because early TV material doesn't match that of the 2000's.
The only complaint I have is I do think this DVD is a bit overpriced for a half hour of entertainment......but when you think of the expense involved in restoring a gem like this I am just thankful so many movies and tv shows from back then are being rediscovered and preserved for future generations.
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on August 20, 2005
This DVD is simply great! The sound quality is amazing considering that this is vintage TV! The song selection in the program is wonderful, with both popular and sacred pieces which are the best ever produced for the holiday season. Don't doubt it, this is a real must-have for all Sinatra and Crosby fans.-
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on October 11, 2012
In 1957, ABC-TV landed Frank Sinatra with a deal for a weekly series with a rather unique format.

One week out of three, Frank would host a musical-variety show.

The next week, Frank would star in a filmed half-hour drama.

The week after that, Frank would narrate a filmed drama in which he did not act in.

Then this pattern would repeat.

It is my understanding that the musical-variety shows had decent ratings, but the dramas he acted in got mediocre ratings, and the dramas he merely narrated were a disaster area as regards the Nielsens.

It is my understanding that at midseason (a few weeks after this show aired), the dramas narrated by but not starring Sinatra were dropped and that the series had musical-variety shows two weeks out of three with dramas staring Frank every third week.

But the show was canceled at season's end. Sinatra fulfilled his contract with ABC-TV by doing a number of specials in the 1958/59 and 1959/60 TV seasons (the last of these, in May of 1960, featured Elvis Presley's first TV appearance since being discharged from the Army).

I don't think ABC-TV was capable of producing color shows or even transmitting color film (as this program was recorded) at the time, so it's very possible this program originally aired in black-and-white.

If you can get this program at an inexpensive price (as I did), or as part of a DVD box set of classic Sinatra TV shows (I've seen it offered as a part of a multi-DVD set of Sinatra TV specials), do so. This is a nice little musical variety show that is great for the Holidays. And since it's only about 25-26 minutes in length, you can play it for family or friends at a Christmas function without it taking too much time.

This isn't the greatest musical Christmas special in American television history, and certainly Frank Sinatra had better specials (the "A Man And His Music" shows). But this program is still very entertaining, and does exude a cool retro vibe.

In my opinion, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby are two of the three greatest male vocalists of the 20th century, along with Elvis Presley.
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on November 17, 2003
I gave this a 3 out of 5 and wouldn't put it up high in the collector series but it is a nice-to-have for your collection. Nancy Sinatra found this enhanced color episode from Frank Sinatra's 1957 television series while going through the vaults and she did admit during the interview that the color was off on certain things. Frank is the director on this, hey, it's only TV! Frank invites Bing Crosby over to his house for Christmas Eve and the two sing holiday songs. When they go out on the street to sing a couple of songs with the carolers it losses some professionalism and was poorly done with very bad actors and some really bad camera shots of people waving from the windows. What was Frank thinking in those scenes? They do come back inside and continue singing and it does get a little better with music. If you liked the film "High Society", they go through about the same mannerisms poking fun at the old crooner vs the new kid on the block. They did have a bit of magic between them. It closes with Bing singing White Christmas and Frank joining in which could have been better with harmonies as they sing in the same key together. I don't think they had a lot of time to practice together for this show. The stage was a little, "low budget". There is a Q&A session from the Museum of Television with Nancy and Tina Sinatra. Also included is a photo gallery of Christmas Cards with Frank's original artwork and commercials by Frank through the years if you can figure out the right keystrokes on your converter to find the stuff. Again, it is a nice-to-have and you won't find too many lost tapes with these two guys together, so grab it while you can.
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on May 12, 2016
Frank and bing shine singing a calvalcade of yuletide melodies in this timeless television treasure that has been exhumed from the vaults in the last handful of years. Highly recommended for fans of bing and frank and those who wish to own the greatest christmas special. Realism and vocalism mesh for a unforgettable special.
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on October 21, 2012
I wasn't born when this Christmas episode aired, but rather stumbled across it about five years ago and I adore this classic! I've read several reviews complaining about the picture quality and I must admit, unless picture quality is so bad that I can't make much out, then I usually don't have that critical of an eye. Given the age of the TV episode, I am thrilled with the quality, but even more so, the episode, as a whole. Great tunes and Bing and Frank really seemed to play off each other well enough and nothing seems forced to me.

I love anything Christmas, so I'm probably one of the few people to not raise much fuss about picture quality or if Frank looked stiff in his part. I love the 50s look and colors in this Christmas episode and I've already watched this, several times, already and we're still in October!

If you simply want to enjoy some excellent Christmas music and look back fondly at a time when your parents or grandparents were grooving to Bing and Frank, then I think this DVD is a perfect fit. An excellent way to introduce the younger generation to some wonderful talent, as well!
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