Thanks to Turner Classic Movies, that frame of mind will begin this year on Friday, November 22, when the network will present a full day of screenings of the 1947 holiday classic outside of Macy’s, the iconic New York City department store where much of the film is set. Introducing the final screening of the day (at 7:45 p.m.) will be on-air host Robert Osborne, a man nearly as beloved by classic film fans as Santa himself.
MIRACLE ON 34th STREET will screen six times, at 11 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. in its original, non-colorized version on a large LED screen in Herald Square Plaza on Broadway between 34th and 35th streets. (This is the area in which Macy’s stages musical numbers for their annual Thanksgiving Day parade.) Limited seating will be available to the public, but fans are permitted to bring chairs of their own to insure seating. Robert Osborne will introduce the 7:45 p.m. presentation, and early arrival is suggested (by me). Macy’s is easily accessible via the B/D/F/M/M/Q/R and PATH trains to 34th Street Herald Square, or the 1/2/3/A/C/E Amtrak or NJ Transit to Penn Station at 34th & 7th.
For loyal TCM viewers, this may be the only opportunity to see the film this Christmas, since the network does not currently control broadcast rights. In recent years MIRACLE ON 34th STREET has aired on AMC (in both black & white and colorized), along with WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954).
And TCM will continue to spread cheer in the Big Apple throughout the Holiday season, with twenty days of free admission on their sightseeing bus tour from December 1 through 20. The TCM Classic Film Tour will expand from three to seven days per week during this period, with the usual admission price of $40 for adults and $27 for kids waived.
Operated by On Location Tours, the 3-hour excursion in a heated, enclosed, luxury coach visits more than 60 classic film related sites in Manhattan, with stop-offs at photo-friendly locations like Audrey Hepburn’s brownstone from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, the original subway grate where Marilyn Monroe’s skirt flew up in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, and historic Zabar’s Market on the Upper West Side (where you can have a little nosh).
Passes for the complementary tours will be distributed by TCM (not On Location) and are available on a first come, first served basis. The bus departs at 11:30 a.m. each morning from the corner of 51st and Broadway, next to Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a 1950s-style eatery owned by Ellen Hart. Hart was an original winner of Miss Subways, the five borough modeling competition that was lampooned in Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s ON THE TOWN (1949), a film discussed frequently on the tour. (Ellen’s opens at 7 a.m., if you want to grab breakfast before you board the bus.) Each TCM Tour coach includes a restroom, is wheelchair accessible and seats 53 people. Those seats will likely go fast, and early reservations are recommended (by me, again).
With six free screenings of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET for hundreds of New Yorkers, and free TCM tours for more than 1,000 classic film fans in December, maybe there is a Santa Claus after all.