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- [Announcer] Tennessee Crossroads is made possible in part by - [Voiceover] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff, and students have shown strength, compassion, patience and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech. - Happy holidays and welcome to our Tennessee Crossroads Christmas special. I'm Joel Moore. So I'm Joel Moore. I'm Joel Moore. I'm Joel Moore. I'm Joel Moore. Welcome to part two of our retro crossroads Christmas special. - One of my personal favorite Tennessee Crossroads Christmas stories goes back to 1989. The year we met a fellow named Fred Roberts from Clarksville, Tennessee. Fred's an inventor and he uses his talents to develop new contraptions to spread the joys of Christmas. - [Joel] When Freddy Roberts retired from his furniture designing business he set his sights on inventing things, strange things. In fact, his claim to fame may soon be this invention he calls Moochi the Poochi. It's a potty chair for toddlers that makes potty training fun and rewarding. - Okay. When the child wits in the pot, it plays music. - [Joel] Freddy wants to donate a big portion of his profits to charities that help children. And that brings us to his latest invention his pride and joy. Santa and his eight flying reindeer. - Look at this. This is it. Santa and his reindeer. I guess reindeer do fly, huh? - Well these do so. - Now you know something, Freddy I don't recognize these names on the reindeer as being the ones I heard of as a kid. - Well, a lot of these names people in the movies copied these and, but these are the original names of the original reindeer. - Oh yeah? - Yeah. This version right here is for flying in the southern hemisphere. You know, it's kind of hot up there. So this fan keeps Santa cooled a little. There's a big fan blade that goes on top that reaches out and keeps the reindeer cooled. - Oh. - And that way they're able to form without getting too fatigued. - [Joel] What does Freddy's wife Janie think about this weird creation? - Christmas is for kids and Fred's still very much a little boy at heart, so I worry about him. But I guess if he's got to be flying it might as well be a reindeer sleigh. - [Joel] Could this flying sleigh be dangerous? You bet it is. But just like Santa himself, Freddy is a man with a mission to bring Christmas joy to as many children as he can, the best way he knows how. - [Freddy] When I was a child I fantasized about Santa Claus and flying Santa Claus. Of course, being an orphan Christmas is a lot of wishing and there's a lot of disappointment, and that's kind of I don't know if I'm trying to prove a point to myself or trying to relive the past, but maybe it's a gift to the children to give some children don't have very much hope and if they see that maybe they'll hope that there really is something to the fantasy. - [Joel] Today's mission was to bring the Christmas fantasy to life for youngsters at Todd County Elementary School where Freddy and his reindeer were a huge holiday hit. - Well I thank him. It was pretty nice. The way he was flying around like that. - I thought that was really cool. That was nice. - I loved that I never saw him before and I'm really glad to see him. - [Joel] There are many ways to spread Christmas cheer. Freddy's may be a little crazy but it sure works both for the kids on the ground and for the big one up there in the sky. - [Freddy] Kind of seeing my mind's eye, the children as they go down the street and they see a sleigh fly by, Well it really reinforces that feeling that there is a Santa Clause and that Christmas is near. ♪ Although it's been said ♪ ♪ many times, many ways, ♪ ♪ Merry Christmas ♪ ♪ to you. ♪ - You know, it wouldn't be Christmas without eating. And in our first story, we're going down to Lynchburg to see a Tennessee holiday treat made that well, is enjoyed around the country. Some of these treats may lift your spirits in more ways than one. - [Joel] Lynchburg, Tennessee. It's not only the home of Jack Daniels. It's also a quaint, cozy attraction for tourists. Even during the holiday season, you know a lot of visitors to Lynchburg are surprised. You can't get a drink of Jack Daniels here in the town that made it famous. But there's a place here called the Pepper Patch where you can get samples of cake that's literally soaked in it. The Pepper Patch creates a line of Tennessee made goodies ranging from jams and jellies to dips and sauces. Recently, the rage has become the official Tennessee tipsy cake, which also comes in a chocolate fudge version and an orange wine cake. It must have been in luck because some fresh, hot tipsy cakes were baking when we arrived. This delicacy was the brainchild of Dot Smith, who developed it 14 years ago for a special party. - Well, the tipsy cake was created for Lamar Alexander to use as a state gift when the Governor's Conference was in Nashville in 1984. And our then First Lady Honey Alexander wanted a food product that was indigenous to our state. And so we decided that we would do a cake with, of course the state's most famous taste, Jack Daniels whiskey. - [Joel] And that's why they bake 'em in Lynchburg. Cause you see, after they come out of the oven each cake gets a generous bath of Jack Daniels. - Well, that's kind of a secret but the cakes are well preserved and we hope that you can taste and we know that you can taste the product in every one of our cakes. But the cake has about a two year shelf life. - [Joel] Myra here has been a professional Candy Dipper at the shop for about three years. She makes sure each piece has a good chocolate coating on the outside. And plenty of you know what on the inside. - Each piece, it tastes like there's a shot in every bite. And that's been proven by just anyone who would like to have a sample. - [Joel] Finally, I got to go next door where visitors can get a sample of all the company products. - [Dot] This is our tipsy caramel and this is one of my favorites. We start out by caramelizing our sugar. We don't use any flavorings. We do everything from scratch. And if you had caramel cake or you had a yellow cake with caramel icing at Christmas time, your mother would start with the skillet and put the sugar in there and get it that nice. - That's really fine. - That's where you get that wonderful flavor. - Has anyone ever really gotten tipsy on tipsy cake that you know of? - Well, it's a no. It's a, it's a very rich cake. It has because of the butter, and you would not be able, you'd get sick before you could get tipsy on it. - Of course, I couldn't leave without trying the candy which as promised was amply loaded with the town's most famous ingredient. That's a good shot of candy. - Now, the other candy that we make with Jack Daniels this is called a, this is called the Lynchburg Candy. You're not driving back, are you? - No. How's this one doing? Christmas time and year round, the pepper patch sells its goodies nationwide in stores and through the mail. For many people, this store is a must stop on a visit to Lynchburg. It's the only way you'll get a small taste of what made the town famous. Oh, and they never seem to run out of cake or candy there's usually somebody busy pouring another round. Here's another story from our Crossroads Christmas collection. This month, every store and every mall has had a Santa Claus but none like the Santa you're about to follow around for a while. Here's what happened when Jerry Thompson filled Santa's big black boots for one day at a local mall. - Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas. Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas. - [Jerry] Now here's a fellow that becomes a very familiar site this time of year. I've often wondered how he showed up at so many places. Now I know. Merry Christmas. It's a rare honor that Santa would ask a fellow to help him out. So when he asked me to stand in for him recently at Church Street Center, I jumped at the opportunity. - Now - All right. - The hair. Does that feel nag? - Well now how would I know how hair feels? That's an unusual feeling. I'll put it that way. After being transformed in to Santa, I certainly had a lot more respect for what those jolly old gentlemen go through. And I also found that grownups all love Santa and some kids aren't so sure. Well Lacey, do you wanna stand right up here beside me? - Yeah! - Yeah! Hi. - Hi. - What's your name? - Eric. - Eric? And what's your name? - Ashley. - What? - Ashley. - Hi Ashley. Now you wanna be a reindeer? Come here. Lemme put it on. You make a fine looking reindeer Rocky. You continue to be a good boy to Christmas morning. Maybe we'll have some surprises, okay? These women all from the Baptist Sunday School board had their picture made with Santa to send to a sick friend in the hospital. I don't know whether it'd help their friend's recuperation but I know what it did for Santa. - Don't you just love this? - I love it. Being a stand in Santa is not something a fellow would want to do every day. Once a year, it's sure rewarding to see the smile Santa brings to faces of both young and old. - A good visit with Santa can generate enough Christmas spirit to last all year. Already, I'm looking forward to next Christmas. ♪ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♪ ♪ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♪ ♪ We wish you a Merry Christmas ♪ ♪ And a Happy ♪ ♪ New Year! ♪ - Okay. By now, I guess most of you have your Christmas decorations up and you're all ready for the year's most festive holiday. But just in case you need some ideas on how to deck your halls, here's Janet Tyson. Janet's gonna take us on a tour of famous local homes and we'll see how an old fashioned Christmas might have looked in the old days of Middle Tennessee. - [Janet] Are you having a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit? Are you letting the pressure and the hurry and the doing get in your way of having fun? Well I have a suggestion. Within a few minutes of where you live there are several places all decked out in holiday splendor. So what if your house isn't strung to the rooftops with lights and garland, you can still experience the warmth and chair of halls decked with boughs of holly. And you can start right here at the Opryland Hotel. No matter how many times you visited Opryland's Country Christmas each year there's more to see. The continuing growth of the nation's largest convention hotel offers evermore area to fill to the brim with decorations like goodies spilling out of a Christmas stocking. This is the sixth year for country Christmas and its highlights draw thousands of visitors from all over the United States. You can shop for handcrafted treasures, feast on special Christmas fair, or stroll the two acre conservatory which is transformed to a winter wonderland. In contrast to Opryland's more is better approach to Christmas. The stately Hermitage is a tribute to simplicity and serenity. If it's been years since you visited this Nashville landmark there's no better time to return than now. Tours by lantern and candlelight reveal how the Hermitage would've been decorated when it was a working plantation even before it was the home of a president. Accounts from Rachel Jackson's personal records served as a guide for decorating. She described laying stockings out on the sofa rather than the later custom of hanging them on the mantle. Then activities centered chiefly around a Christmas day feast. And according to a Hermitage staff member the tradition of the yule log. - We knew that this was very popular in the south of the period of the Hermitage. The families both are the slaves and the families would all gather at the yule log. Muskets were set off. This seems very strange to us today, but they would shoot the muskets and that would call people to come to the yule log. Gifts were given and the yule log burned a long time. And the longer that the yule log burned the people didn't have to go to work. - The Belle Meade Mansion's extensive renovation is complete. So this year, they're celebrating with a sumptuous Charles Dickens, Victorian Christmas. - Christmas in a Victorian atmosphere is the most festive gay time. The Victorians loved too much of everything. There was never enough. So it's a wonderful time for us at Belle Meade Mansion when Christmas rolls around because we can decorate to our hearts content. - Last week we showed you some of the historic Tennessee homes all decked out for the holidays. This time we take you to the most popular home in Tennessee where a king once lived, who loved Christmas. ♪ Well, it's one for the money. ♪ ♪ Two for the show. ♪ ♪ Three to get ready now go, cat, go ♪ ♪ But don't you- ♪ - He was perhaps the most important star in the modern music universe. A poor boy who grew up to become the king of rock and roll. An entertainer whose talent and mystique changed the course of popular music forever. But through the fame, fortune and far away travels home was always a little mansion in Memphis called Graceland. - In fact, Elvis only one time that I know of missed Christmas. or actually only two times and one time was because of the United States Army. He couldn't be home for Christmas. But the second time, he was doing a soundtrack for one of the movies and they didn't get it completed exactly on time. So it delayed him about two days. He could usually be counted on being home though by December the 15th. It was very important to Elvis. Christmas was his favorite time of the year. - Patsy Anderson is a fan and now Graceland employee who sees a constant flow of tourists who take the pilgrimage to the king's castle. Graceland is now one of the top five most popular homes in America. And this month, fans can come to see it just like it was when Elvis was home for the holidays. What did he like to do when he came back to Graceland for Christmas? - Mostly relax and see what the Memphians were doing and get together with his family and his friends. They had, you know, several parties here and he would also in the early days, rent the Manhattan Club and they would have parties there. And basically what we all love to do we'd get together with family and friends and share stories and remembrances and just all that love. And it was very important to Elvis. He was very much a family man. - [Joel] Are any of the decorations the same ones that would've been here back then when he was living here? - [Patsy] Absolutely. They're all what you're seeing are the traditional decorations of Elvis Presley, including our sleigh. Elvis used the sleigh when he first moved into Graceland in 1957 up until the early 1960s. And then he had the life size nativity scene done. So he used that from the sixties on, early sixties, seven until 1977. We just relocated the sleigh last year and it was in the barn up in the loft and was not damaged at all. So we decided for our festivities, Christmas at Graceland we would put the sleigh back out. - [Joel] In case you haven't been here in a while, you'll discover that Graceland has grown quite a bit. In fact, across the street here, there are no less than 10 restaurants and shops that are all about Elvis. The holiday celebration has grown too. In fact, maybe more than the king himself ever imagined. ♪ Well, since my baby left me. ♪ ♪ Well, I found a new place to dwell. ♪ ♪ Well, it's down at the- ♪ - His private airplane, the Lisa Maria is here and it's a popular mini museum itself. There's even a new museum with nothing but Elvis cars. Of course, you can find everything in the way of Elvis recordings and even try your luck at becoming the next king of rock and roll yourself. But for the special holiday, the Graceland folks have spared no expense in creating a Christmas fantasy land that attracts visitors of all ages. ♪ I'll have a blue ♪ ♪ Christmas ♪ ♪ without you ♪ ♪ I'll be so blue ♪ ♪ just thinking ♪ ♪ about you ♪ ♪ Decorations of red ♪ ♪ on a green ♪ ♪ Christmas tree ♪ - If you don't care for Elvis Christmas music, you can escape to the dancing waters choreographed to more traditional tunes. It's hard to say how the king of rock and roll would feel about Graceland all decked out as a holiday tourist attraction. But one things for sure, despite what those sleazy tabloids say about Elvis being alive, he won't be coming home for Christmas this year. - He will not be home. Unfortunately. We wish he would. But there's, there's no way. - By the way, the wonderful world of Christmas here at Graceland is $3 for adults and two for children. But if you wanna spend a little bit extra and see it from a special vantage point well what about an old-fashioned carriage ride? See you back in Middle Tennessee and Merry Christmas from the king. ♪ You'll be doing all right ♪ ♪ With your Christmas of white ♪ ♪ But I'll have a blue, ♪ ♪ blue, blue, blue Christmas ♪ - You know, this time last year Jerry Thompson had a heartwarming chat with his two sons, Matt and Joe, about Christmas about Santa Claus and the true meaning of this holiday. It was a special moment that we'd like to share with you once again. - Christmas is a magical, wonderful time of the year. Everyone's in a hurry. The malls are crowded with shoppers, the streets with traffic, and there's Santa taking toy orders from kids. And what's Christmas without candy canes? They're also toys for adults too. But whether the toys are for kids or for adults, one thing for sure. Christmas takes a lot of bucks, big bucks. Kids learn about gifts at an early age. I know, cause I asked my boys about Christmas while they mentioned presents first, I was also pleased they know Christmas is something more. We had a fireside chat recently and here's what Matt and Joe think about Christmas. - Well, it means a lot of things. Well, you gather up all your family and you celebrate Christmas and you get all these neat things for Christmas. And the most of all is when you know on Christmas Eve that you know the next morning you're going to get up and get all the presents you have and get 'em out under the Christmas tree and and Christmas is fun and you celebrate on Christmas night. 'cause. - [Jerry] What are we celebrating? - Well, we celebrate Christmas 'cause Jesus born on that day. - All right, and Joe, what do you think about Christmas? What does it mean to you? - It means that we get to, get the family, all of the family and celebrate that Christmas is finally here. We're gonna start a new year, the next, the- - It's kind of the next week isn't it? - The next week. And it means that we, you could get toys and get other things like, like toys. - All right. You remember having, What's the best gift you ever got at Christmas? - My best kid. - You remember? What the best gift you ever got? - Well, I don't know. - Well, big, big problem to be figuring it out, huh? I know, I've noticed you've both kind of been behaving pretty well, is that right? - Right. - Well let me you behave because you think that Santa might be watching, right? - Right. - Let me ask you something, Joseph. What do you think of Santa Claus? - It's Santa. - When I asked Joe about Santa, he seemed a little unsure. Like he was bringing up a question he didn't know whether or not he wanted the answer to. - Okay. I think that some of the other boys at school think there isn't a Santa Claus but I do think there is. - Some of the boys at school think there's not a Santa Claus? But you think there is? but I bet sometimes you wonder, don't you? - Yes. - Let's see if we could clear that up. Let me put it this way. Sure there's a Santa Claus. You know, sometimes big boys seem to tell little boys things just to make them worry. I don't know why they do that. Maybe it's because big boys once told them things and made them worry. And I know it's sometimes confusing when little boys go shopping with their parents and see a different Santa in every department store. But Santa has a lot of territory to cover so he needs a lot of help. I also know that both of you and Matt have been on your good behavior. Time really seems to pass slow when you're behaving, doesn't it? But getting back to your original question do you know who Santa Claus really is? He's the real spirit of Christmas. - Spirit of Christmas! - That's right. So when little boys believe in Santa they carry on that spirit. And as long as you believe in the Christmas spirit you'll also believe in Santa Claus. I know this to be a fact, but I'm not a little boy anymore. And I sure believe in Christmas spirit and I'll always believe in Santa Claus Do you want to believe in Santa Claus too? - Yeah. - Well, could I get a Christmas hug maybe? Christmas hug? Could I get a hug? Could I get a hug? Come on. - Well, we come to the end of our Crossroads Christmas special. Hope you enjoyed sharing some of our favorite holiday memories. Hope you're having a great Christmas holiday and thanks for spending a bit of it with us. We at Tennessee Crossroads, wanna wish you and yours all the joys and blessings of the season. And we hope that your Christmas weekend has been a great one. Meanwhile, we'd like to close this little Christmas feature with a fashion show featuring some of the best dressed pets in middle Tennessee. - [Announcer] Tennessee Crossroads is made possible in part by - [Voiceover] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff and students have shown strength, compassion, patience and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech.
December 22, 2022
Season 36 | Episode 19
Join us as we look back at holiday episodes from years past in the Tennessee Crossroads Retro Christmas Special.