The Television Christmas special was like a big, shiny gift from the TV networks, and it marked the holiday season. Your family would string popcorn and watch elaborate production numbers with dancers, singers, ice skaters in bright sequined outfits. In black and white. Color came later. One by one, all the life was drained out of Christmas songs by innofensive mainstream singers in sweaters, surrounded by children (extras?) in front of great sparkling sets and grand Christmas trees.
Andy Williams was the bland master of the Christmas special, and every year he wore a special sweater and sang "Do You Hear What I Hear?" For some folks, even Andy was too darn wild, and they'd watch Perry Como who was so low-key he made Andy seem like Little Richard. Perry gave Sominex a run for its money, and put us all to peaceful, dreamy sleep.
The following clip is not Andy or Perry, but something completely different. This is a post-modern Christmas special at Pee Wee's Playhouse, featuring the extremely strange Grace Jones, doing her robotic rendition of the "Little Drummer Boy." Just as Andy and Perry ice-skated with the zeitgeist of Christmas past, Grace and Pee Wee cavort with the spirit of their age. Cool and weird.