Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pennys Christmas, Tuesday Flashback Feature, Good Times

It's a Christmas special edition of my Tuesday Flashback Feature. We reminisce about TV shows usually from the 1950s-1970s where gemstones or pieces of jewelry featured prominently in the storylines.

Good Times
Penny's Christmas
December 21, 1977

It's the first Christmas everyone's spending with Penny (Janet Jackson). She's about to be formally adopted by her foster mother, Willona (Ja'net DuBois). The Evans family is happy and planning a party for Christmas Eve.

Penny wants to get Willona a nice present, and she's been saving up for a necklace that she saw in the store. In front of the jewelry counter, a man accidentally bumps into her and steals her wallet. She impulsively steals the necklace.

The act is caught on the surveillance camera and she's brought home by a store security guard. This is just as a child welfare worker is at the house to tell Willona they’re going to finalize the adoption. Penny's actions may lead to Willona's losing custody of her.
Mrs. Dodds (Alice Ghostley), the child welfare worker returns to the Evans house for the Christmas party, where she gets jolly and tipsy on eggnog. 

"On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 panties hosing, 10 string bikinis, 2 turtle soup, 2 purtle sout, turtle...turtle -- wait, I'd never eat a turtle -- and a pearstridge in a pear tree."

JJ (Jimmy Walker) appears as a lanky, Dy-No-Mite Santa. Eventually they announce that the adoption will go through. "I'm glad I don't have to spend Christmas Eve in the slammer," Penny says.

Each Tuesday, we'll feature a different show, often a US sitcom. Information, including spoiler plot outlines come from various sources.

Particularly when the episode hasn't been recently viewed personally, information will be as accurate as possible. When available, a show photo will be included.

"Good Times followed the challenges and joys of the close-knit Evans family, patriarch James, mother Florida, eldest son and accomplished amateur painter J.J. (James Evans, Jr.), brainy and beautiful daughter Thelma, and youngest son Michael, a political and social activist who live together in a high-rise housing project on the South Side of Chicago." -- TV Land

At the time this episode aired, neither John Amos nor Esther Rolle, who played the parents were on the show. James Sr., they said, had died while job hunting. The mother, Florida Evans, would return for the last season. She was unhappy, it was said, about the direction that the JJ character was going as a role model.

The show Good Times Complete: Seasons 1-6 is available on DVD, as well as the season alone, Good Times: Complete Fifth Season at Amazon.

Janet Jackson: Exposed. "Find out how she transcended being the youngest girl of a famous family and took control of her life and music. ... This program provides an inside look at Janet Damita-Jo Jackson and her rise to female pop and R&B stardom!"

In Katherine Jackson's 1990 book, My Family, the Jacksons, "Katherine tells an honest heart-wrenching story about her family. This comes from the person who knows them the best. She really lets you know that her family is just as much as normal human beings as everyone else. She breaks down the family's personalities in the books so you will understand them better, why Michael is so sensitive and talented, to Randy's being independent. This is a really great book." -- Amazon review

Please note, vintage and art objects may be sold out.

Ernie Barnes is the painter who actually created the works that the character of JJ created throughout the series. Mr. Barnes died in 2009, but there is a good amount of information online about him and his work. 

From Pads to Palette is a 1995 autobiography by Ernie Barnes. It includes full-page color photos of original art and 52 photos of rare sketchbook studies.

Alice Ghostley may be best remembered as the accident-prone witch Esmeralda in Bewitched. She also had a teacher role in the popular film version of Grease.

"I wish you joy and I wish you cheer -
Have a cool yule, and a mellow new year"

I'm always interested to hear your memories. In the interest of supporting fellow artists, I feature a few shops where the pieces tie into the general theme of the story.

Janet Jackson 2012 concert photo

True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself 

"Janet was told by Hollywood that she needed to slim down. Her well-meaning brothers, especially fun-loving Michael, teased her relentlessly until she began to believe that who she was wasn’t good enough. It was an idea that no amount of critical acclaim in television and film or, later, international platinum success in music could change." -- From description
This book, by Ms. Jackson, is available digitally for Kindle and other e-Readers but also in paper form.

Grab your own Vintage 1970's Jimmy Walker Dynomite Iron-On Transfer while it's still there at Rackamoon.

Visit my Classic TV Christmas Memories page for retro tv videos; Comedy, Drama, Suspense Christmas tv and old time radio episodes, even some fan mashups

Good Times
Any time you meet a payment
Good Times
Any time you need a friend
Good Times
Any time you're out from under
Not getting hassled, not getting hustled
Keepin' your head above water,
Making a wave when you can
Temporary lay offs
Good Times
Easy credit rip offs
Good Times
Scratchin' and surviving
Good Times
Hangin in a chow line
Good Times
Ain't we lucky we got 'em
Good Times

Just lookin' out of the window
Watchin' the asphalt grow
Thinkin' how it all looks hand-me-down
Good Times
Keepin' your head above water
Makin' a wave when you can
Temporary lay-offs
Good Times
Easy Credit rip-offs
Good Times
Aint we lucky we got 'em
Good Times

Please check out the other Tuesday Flashback Features

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