This … without argument … was my favorite Christmas special back in the day. It was a Hallmark Hall of Fame special from approximately 1968, and it starred a who’s who of television actors and personalities in a musical retelling of the story about a mischievous angel whose gifts on Earth become an integral part of our Nativity story.
Even today, I could still sing – as loud as possible, and to anybody within earshot – songs like “I’m Master of All I Survey,” “You Can Fly,” and “You’re Not Real” and still have a big-ass toothy grin on my face.
Watch the special, it’s only going to take about 90 minutes of your time.
It takes a moment, but you are definitely seeing Jody from Family Affair and Herman Munster dancing around the heavenly afterlife, with the narrator of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater as God, Felix Ungar from The Odd Couple as a disbelieving alien, and someone from those old Beach Party movies as an angel of flight.
This special was fun, it was kitschy – heck, you could see all the 1960’s-era green screen techniques clear as day – but watching it again got me wondering … as I often do …
What if they remade The Littlest Angel – but used modern prime time TV actors and actresses for all the parts?
You could have a lot of fun with this.
Okay, you’ve watched the show, right? No? It’s right up there on a YouTube clip, watch it now. You’ll thank me later.
And let’s focus on six main characters – Michael the angel, Patience his mentor, Sister Ariel the flight mistress, Democritus the disbeliever, Gabriel (the character Cab Calloway played) and God.
Now, let’s take a TV genre and swap in the actors from that show or shows into this program. This could be fun.
Maybe a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit version, with Mariska Hargitay as Patience, Christopher Merloni as Democritus, and Ice-T as God? Instead of heavenly notes in the sky, we’d hear that distinctive “cling-cling” sound…
How bout a version of The Good Place with their characters – Ted Danson as Patience, Kristen Bell as Michael the littlest angel, and maybe D’Arcy Carden as God Because my theory on The Good Place is that Janet the assistant is actually God … yeah, spoiler alert, I’ve watched 36 episodes of this show and it’s just forking awesome.
I could see a Big Bang Theory episodes with this theme, especially if they make Jim Parsons play the role of Democritus, the disbelieving angel. He sounds like he could do an entire monologue on “You’re Not Real,” but that’s just me.
Oh come on … couldn’t we have a Saturday Night Live version of this? Yes … Kate McKinnon as Michael, then have Beck Bennett be Patience, give Leslie Jones the role of Sister Ariel (“I’m putting your ass up in the air, right now!”), find some roles for Colin Jost and Michael Che, and have Democritus be Alex Baldwin as Donald Trump. And for God? Kenan Thompson. Of course. It would SO work.
Or maybe … just maybe … I’ll be happy with this classic 1960’s musical as it stands right now. I gotta tell you, watching this movie brought back so many wonderful memories.
And sometimes memories like these are the best Christmas presents one can request.