It was a Christmas double feature at the December 23 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. The program featured two presentations by Club members; both with a Christmas flavour.
Club (and Board) member David Garmaise, who has come to be known as the PCEC’s “Mr. Movies” because of his many presentations about the movies, was first up and provided a slideshow presentation entitled, “A Hollywood Christmas.” David said that there were hundreds of movies with a Christmas theme to choose from – not including the many made-for-TV movies – but that only a small number of them were really about Christmas. After rejecting the many horror and erotic movies with “Christmas” or “Santa” in the title, and the many movies whose stories just happened to take place at Christmas time, David selected video clips from three movies, at least two of which are considered Christmas classics.
PCEC was again treated to one of member David Garmaise’s ‘film digests’ – this time very topical, called ‘A Hollywood Christmas’. David’s hobby is films, which he happily shares with fellow members.
From “Holiday Inn,” an American movie released in 1942, David showed a clip of Bing Crosby and his co-star singing “White Christmas.” The co-star was Marjorie Reynolds, but the voice actually belonged to Martha Mears. This was the movie that introduced the song that went on to sell over 50 million records of Bing Crosby’s rendition alone, more than any other recording. Interestingly, the original script for the movie called for the character played by Ms Reynolds to sing the song by herself.
In this clip from the 1938 ‘A Christmas Carol’, Ebenezer Scrooge is awakened during the night by the ‘Ghost of Christmas Past’.
David presented clips from three different versions of “A Christmas Carol,” the movie based on the famous book by Charles Dickens. The 1938 version, which starred Reginald Owen as Scrooge, became a Christmas tradition when it was shown on late-night American television every Christmas Eve, starting in the 1960s. So did the second version of the movie, made in 1951, starring Alastair Sims as Scrooge. That version was released under the title “Scrooge” in the UK, where it was very well received. The third version of “A Christmas Carol” that David showed was the one made by the Muppets in 1992, starring Michael Caine as Scrooge. David included a clip where Scrooge sings, just so that people in the audience could say that they heard Michael Caine sing at the Pattaya City Expats Club!
In this 1951 clip, poor scribe Bob Cratchit pleads with his boss, Scrooge, for the next day – Christmas Day – off. Scrooge condescends, but not without a full blown guilt trip.
The last movie David showed was “Miracle on 34th Street,” which he said was arguably the best Christmas movie ever made. David chose clips from the original 1934 version. There have been four remakes since, plus a Broadway musical.
Second speaker was writer Dervis Tippen, also a member, to introduce his Christmas novel “Miss Bessie’s Finest Christmas”. The novel is available through Amazon for only 99 cents, and Dervis is kindly donating all proceeds of sales of it to the Pattaya Orphanage; you may purchase it at tinyurl.com/missbessie.
“Miracle on 34th Street” is about a man who takes the place of a drunken Santa Claus in a Macy’s Christmas parade in New York, and then convinces himself that he really is Santa Claus. It won three Academy Awards, including one for best supporting actor, Edmund Gwenn, who played Santa Claus in the movie.
In 2005, “Miracle on 34th Street,” was selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The combination of video clips and David’s anecdotes about the movies was most entertaining and interesting; the presentation was obviously much appreciated by the audience.
The second presentation was given by PCEC member Dervis Tippen, a writer of newspaper and magazine articles, and short stories. Dervis provided a short summary of his short story, “Miss Bessie’s Finest Christmas.” This story is about a family in rural Louisiana. Miss Bessie and her husband, Bon Bon are expecting their grandchildren for the holidays.
Miss Bessie starts planning for the finest Christmas she can imagine, and, although Bon Bon, a good provider but careful spender, objects to the cost, he finally gives in to his wife’s demands and finds himself caught up in the preparations.
Member David Meador queries the interest of members in a tour of some industrial and production sites in Laem Chabang.
The story is full of descriptions of the family home, the good food that is prepared for the season, and the coming together of people for a traditional Christmas Eve church service, complete with a children’s choir, an inspiring sermon, and a sense of fellowship that fills the small building and comforts all those in attendance.
Dervis read a few paragraphs from the story. He pointed out that “Miss Bessie’s Finest Christmas” can be downloaded as a Kindle eBook from Amazon.com for only 99 cents (US). Further, he donates all the proceeds to the Pattaya Orphanage. Previously, Dervis wrote another Christmas story, Mama Miller’s Family Christmas. The proceeds from the sale of that story have also been donated to the Pattaya Orphanage.
Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg provided an update on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular.
For more information about the many activities of the Pattaya City Expats Club, visit their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.