So, does anyone else remember the line, "I want me this cat I found?"
Well, it's from the TV movie. "J.T." which I've been trying to find for years, which aired one fateful Saturday afternoon on CBS in 1969.
Here's how someone else on IMDB described "J.T."
"I first saw J.T. in the late 60's or early 70's on a show possibly called "CBS Children's Television Workshop". It was on Saturday mornings about noon after the cartoons were over. It was aired sporadically after that around Christmas in the mid 70's. It isn't a Christmas movie per say but the plot is set around the time of Christmas. "
Well, let me cut to the chase: I just found a DVD of it online, bought it and I can't wait to share it with my kids.
This film's plot is what a "Christmas story" is supposed to be about.
I have no idea why this hasn't aired on TV more. No doubt it's outdated in some non-PC kind of way, however, Wagner's J.T. embodies a real sense of humanity, not to mention the real spirit of what Christmas is supposed to be about.
I mean, very few writers have gotten this message right. Obviously, Dickens, but -- I just have to tell you, this movie made a HUGE impact on me at the time.
Here's a few interesting facts about "J.T." I never knew -- till now:
It was written by Jane Wagner, who went on to win a Peabody for it. Later Wagner went on to be partners (personally and creatively) with Lily Tomlin.
Oh, what joy! I can't wait to see this again!
December 4th update to my original post:
I have received several requests for info about where to buy a copy of J.T.
And, I am happy to share that with you -- I bought it from a vendor on a site that is similar to eBay called iOffer.
This having been said, after it arrived, I realized with some degree of shame, that this is a bootleg copy of this wonderful movie. And, therefore, this means that the very talented folks who created it will not see one red cent of royalties from our patronage.
So, my advice is this: Buy it where you can find it, now. Then make a promise to yourself that you will do some research and find out where to send a request for someone to re-release this movie.
Jane Wagoner, at the very least, should know how much we still love and appreciate this film.
By The Way: Super quick review of having seen it:
The seller sent it to my immediately, and it was all there. It played, but the copy of it on this home-ripped DVD is a bit fuzzy and worn.
As for the actual content of the film: It's old and funky and dated. It's also still as heartbreaking to me today as it was the first time I saw it, and I have to confess that I was balling like a baby in front of my kids when I sat with my kids and husband to watch it with me.
It makes me appreciate that our world still has a deep need for film that tells stories to kids that isn't sugar coated or loaded with crappy laughtracks. We need the story-tellers to come up with more work that is moving but not cloying and sentimental. Relevant, but not preachy. Sad, but not afraid to be sad about kid's lives.
We need good story tellers and people brave enough to put some financial muscle into bringing it to life.
(Are you listening, Nickelodeon?)
See this, even if it's only a fuzzy, badly done copy of the movie. It still has a great message to get out to kids. Even if you have to struggle to articulate all sorts of stuff about the 1970's you never dreamed you'd have to remember, let alone explain. It's all worth it.
Good movie. That poor cat.
RANDOM FACTS ABOUT "J.T." -- The couple in the deli? Apparently, the female actor was an actual holocaust survivor!
Also, this first film for Kevin Hooks led him to be in Sounder (another amazing film, based on a book that is even better than the film, with all due respect to everyone great in that film.)
I wish I had more time to post about J.T. I loved seeing it again.
Remember if you buy from a bootleg seller, that's your call. But, try to morally make up for it by letting the original creators know there's still a market for their stuff.
Thanks. -- Louise