Donna is frantically making last-minute preparations for Christmas and is vexed when no one seems to care for the fruitcakes she is giving for Christmas presents. Her Christmas spirit is ... See full summary »
Donna is frantically making last-minute preparations for Christmas and is vexed when no one seems to care for the fruitcakes she is giving for Christmas presents. Her Christmas spirit is rejuvenated when she learns that no one has planned a Christmas party for the children who cannot leave their ward and return home for the holiday. With the help of the hospital handyman, she tries to rectify the oversight. Written by
Donna believes, "Christmas should be warm and friendly and peaceful." Instead, she finds it to be cool, contentious, and chaotic. The recipients of her fruitcakes are unable to hide their disappointment, and Donna has to buy a last minute gift for Alex. Moreover, Mary won't shop until she's sure she'll get a gift in return, and Jeff is keeping a "profit-and-loss ledger" for the year. Donna wonders what happened to the Christmas spirit of giving. She finds answers when she gets to know the generous janitor at the Hilldale Hospital - indeed, very special guest star Buster Keaton (as Charlie).
This episode must have endeared Donna and her television family to millions of viewers. It isn't terribly well done, but it isn't terrible. The appearance of Mr. Keaton is a treat. And, the hospital children are very sweet. In their hospital beds, they read a very rare edition of "Captain Marvel Adventures" - the cover is visible, but it doesn't match any cover I could find, web-surfing. Since the comic book ended publication in 1953, it's strange to see a decent copy last through (at least) five years in a children's hospital (or, TV prop room).
***** A Very Merry Christmas (12/24/58) Oscar Rudolph ~ Donna Reed, Buster Keaton, Carl Betz
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