Check out this video for the 1977 broadcast of The Johnny Cash Christmas Show. The show features June Carter Cash, the Carter Family, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, and “special guest star” Hee-Haw‘s Roy Clark. On the TV special, Cash recounts some of his past Christmases, including recalling his stint in the military and learning to play the guitar.
One of the most touching moments is when Cash, Lewis, and Perkins pay tribute to the fourth member of the Million Dollar Quartet, Elvis Presley. The three men and Roy Orbison play “This Train is Bound for Glory” for Elvis (31:40), who had died in August of that year.
Several of the artists sing non-holiday former hits. Carl Perkins sings “Blue Suede Shoes” (20:35) for example, and Jerry Lee Lewis rocks out on “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (27:30). Somewhat surprisingly, Roy Orbison sings “Pretty Woman” (24:05) instead of his 1963 holiday hit, “Pretty Paper.” Lewis calms down for “White Christmas” (30:00).
This special is one of four Johnny Cash Christmas specials that CBS broadcast from 1976 to 1979. You may watch the other ones collected on Dangerous Minds. Also, check out our earlier discussion of the connections between the song “This Train,” the past, and the present.
What is your favorite variety show Christmas special? Leave your two cents in the comments.
(Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)