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   The 1976 Johnny Cash Christmas Special is a down home, country style affair. Cash and family have a get-together for Christmas, and invite their friends to enjoy the holiday with them.

    First up is city fella' Tony Orlando (minus Dawn). Yes, the 'country versus city' jokes may be as cheesy as Tony's outfit and mustache, but they're also a lot of campy fun to experience from our safe distance of 30 plus years later. June Carter Cash joins Johnny & Tony for "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree", then Johnny and Roy Clark perform a medley of songs from Stephen Foster.

    Later, events move to the inside of Johnny's Tennessee home, where one and all gather around to play and sing favorite songs. Merle Travis and Barbara Mandrell also join in. Musical performances include 'The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)', 'Follow Me', 'Cannonball Rag', 'That Christmasy Feeling', 'In the Pines', 'Steel Guitar Rag', 'It's a Beautiful Morning With You', and 'Old Time Feeling'. I found it surprising for a Christmas special to feature so few Christmas songs, but even so, the festivities were quite entertaining in a warm, cozy way.
   
    The highlight of the show comes, rather fittingly, at the very end. Billy Graham steps out to tell the story of a bleak mining town that was transformed through Jesus, reminding everyone in the viewing audience of the true meaning of Christmas. I'd be surprised if any television network executive would have the courage to approve such straightforward sentiment on today's so politically-paralyzed airwaves!

    On the technical side, production of the show is what one would expect from mid-1970's video transfer. There is noticeable picture warping, especially during the opening outdoor scenes of the program. Also, a few unfortunate choices were made as far as lighting and makeup were concerned, but even those are on par with most other telecasts from the time.

    This is definitely one for die hard Johnny Cash fans - his first Christmas Special!
  
  
Watch "In the Pines" by the Carter Family from 1976!
BUY THE JOHNNY CASH CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 1976 ON DVD!
The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976

Format: DVD-Video, Enhanced, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
Number of discs: 1
Rating: Not rated
Studio: Shout Factory
DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
Run Time: 50 minutes
A.J.'s Rating: 3 Country Christmas Stars
Review published
December 1, 2007
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