Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Christmas Album: Jimmy

W have reached the Fourteenth day of our hegira through the Holidays, and find ourselves in 1957, long before most of us automatically associated the name of James Stewart with Christmas. Here he's looking endearingly tentative wearing those horn rims and those scuffed shoes, while rehearsing a frontier-style adaptation of A Christmas Carol for tv's General Electric Theater in a show called "The Trail to Christmas".

I suspect that back then, Jimmy, who is seen above with child actor Dennis Holmes as a polio stricken Tiny Tim, was best known as Hollywood's version of "a regular guy". Despite those deeply ambivalent and gritty Anthony Mann Westerns such as Winchester '73 (1950), The Man From Laramie (1955), an occasional appearance as June Allyson's spouse in such popular fare as The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and in some fairly racy Hitchcock flicks he seemed less of an icon than now. A few probably still cherished his pixelated turn in Harvey (1950), a role that caught the man's sweet and gentle vagueness rather well, (even though he was never satisfied with his playing of the role on film).

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