NORTH SALEM, N. Y. – Almost every family traditionally watches a special film at Christmastime. Before there were DVDs, TV, Cable, VHS and Netflix, there were movie theaters, so the tradition goes back a long way.
The North Salem Daily Voice asked some officials for their family’s traditional entertainment choice. Here are the answers:
“When I was young, we had five TV stations to chose from in the greater New York area,” said Superintendent of Schools Ken Freeston. “But, still, we would find out when ‘White Christmas’ (1954) was being broadcast and watch it. When our son was young, for years we would all watch ‘Home Alone’ (1990) on Christmas Eve. From the time of my childhood until now, though, the wonder of the season renews each year with a trip to Rockefeller Center to see the tree.”
“We really didn’t watch any TV shows,” said North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas. “We were too busy. On Christmas Eve we’d be down at the tree on Route 116, and we might all five be invited to Warren Kass’s house, or maybe my parents would have a bunch of people over to our house.
“By the end of the evening someone would have ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946) on TV, but I never remember seeing the entire movie. We were just too pumped up for Christmas morning. My grandmother had a very old black and white TV in the basement and every Christmas one of the stations would show, 'The March of the Wooden Soldiers’ (1934) with Laurel and Hardy. I loved that movie, and I don’t think I’ve seen it in 40 years.”
Town Historian Susie Thompson said, “It wasn’t the whole family, it was only my Mom and I. We were addicted. The movie was, and still is, ‘The March of the Wooden Soldiers’ (1934). It became an annual must-see. My brother and my Dad would just say, ‘Oh, no …’ and escape to something else.”
North Salem Town Clerk Veronica Howley agreed with Somers Town Clerk Kathie Pacella. “I think it would be ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’ (1945). If I had to pick out a family favorite that we’d all agree on watching together now, it would be ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983).”
“Each year since my daughter was about 3 or 4 years old we’ve gone to see ‘The Nutcracker,’” said Deb D’Agostino, president of the North Salem Board of Education. “We’ve seen lots of different productions from the Lincoln Center Ballet to the Russian Ballet. In our family, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Girls’ Day at ‘The Nutcracker.’”
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