MPTV Premieres & Highlights: December 2012

Blenko Glass: Behind The Scenes

December 6th / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Go into the heat and heart of the Blenko glassworks to see how the beautiful, all-handmade, glassware is created. Each piece is unique and so are the artisans and members of the Blenko family who continue this proud, 100 year tradition.

Return to Pearl

December 7th / 8:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Host Mark Siegrist travels with nineteen World War II veterans from around Wisconsin who returned to Pearl Harbor in June of 2012. He captures their memories, stories, thoughts and feelings about the event that catapulted the United States into World War II. For many of the veterans, this is the first time talking about those experiences.

Burt Wolf: Taste of Freedom


December 8th / 9:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Every year, Jews throughout the world light Hanukkah candles in memory of a miracle. In this program, Burt Wolf uncovers the history of the holiday, visits the largest and most comprehensive collection of Hanukkah lamps in the world, explains why potato pancakes and doughnuts are served at Hanukkah, and discovers the secret of the spinning dreidel.

Shalom Sesame - Chanukah: The Missing Menorah

December 9th / 8:30 am / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Anneliese loses her special menorah right before sunset. Can her friends help her find it in time?

Lidia Celebrates America

Holiday Tables & Traditions

December 9th / 9:00 am / MPTV Digital 36.1

Four very different holiday tables and traditions are featured: an Italian Christmas Eve with actors Mo Rocca and Stanley Tucci; a Mexican-American Christmas with four generations of the Cortez family in San Antonio; a Chinese New Year celebration with the Fong-Torres family in San Francisco; and a Jewish-American Passover in New York.

John McGivern's Home for the Holidays

December 9th / 6:30 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Milwaukee's John McGivern serves up a steady stream of holiday stories from his childhood. They recall an age of innocence bounded by snow days and Christmas presents, Catholic mass servings and Christmas fundraising cake-walks. John's unique take on the most festive time of year is guaranteed to generate loads of laughs and a warm, familiar glow inside.

Norway Passage: The Most Beautiful Voyage

December 9th / 9:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

A beautiful voyage is taken along more than eleven hundred miles of Norway's spectacular coastline, with deep fjords, crashing waterfalls, mountains rising from the sea, and lovely towns and fishing villages. Stunning images are presented from the cosmopolitan city of Bergen to Kirkenes in the far North, stopping along the way at the astounding Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old Viking town of Trondheim, Norway's traditional historic, religious and cultural capital, and the picture postcard lovely Lufoten Islands are also featured.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting 2012

December 10th / 9:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Celebrating its 90th year, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree signals the start of the holiday season across the country. Taped at President's Park in Washington, D.C., the event includes performances by top artists. The evening's festivities are capped off by the ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree by a very special guest!

Live from Lincoln Center

The Richard Tucker Opera Gala

December 13th / 8:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

The Richard Tucker Music Foundation features its 2012 award winner, soprano Ailyn Perez, the first Latina to earn the award. She is joined by renowned opera luminaries baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Gerald Finley, mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina, tenors Stephen Costello and Marcello Giordani, bass Ildar Abdrazakov, bass-baritone Erwin Schrott and others onstage in a program of favorite arias and ensembles, including selections by Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Massenet, Mascagni, Handel and Wagner. Maestro Patrick Summers of the Houston Grand Opera leads members of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Choral Society. Singer/actress Audra McDonald hosts.

Christmas on the Trail

December 13th / 9:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Musicians and cowboy poets join around the campfire to perform Christmas classics and unique poems. Their performance captures the romance and iconic imagery of the American Cowboy while celebrating the beauty of the holidays.

Great Performances

Magical Mystery Tour Revisited (w.t.)

December 14th / 8:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Produced at the peak of Beatlemania in 1967, Magical Mystery Tour is the least known of the various films starring the Beatles. The behind-the-scenes story of the film is chronicled, packed with unseen footage and features contributions from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Martin Scorsese, Peter Fonda and Terry Gilliam, among others.

Great Performances

The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour

December 14th / 9:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Released in 1967, Magical Mystery Tour was arguably ahead of its time, with a mostly improvised and loosely plotted script based around a surreal dreamlike bus trip to an unknown destination. They're joined for a series of episodic misadventures by a cast of eccentric characters, including Auntie Jessie, tour director Jolly Jimmy Johnson, tour hostess Miss Wendy Winters and conductor Buster Bloodvessel.

Movie: A Soldier in the Rain (1968)

December 15th / 7:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

A story of friendship between a worldly-wise Army Master Sergeant and his naive worshipper. This comedy-drama features Steve McQueen, Jackie Gleason and Tuesday Weld.

Irish Rovers Christmas

December 15th / 8:30 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

The rollicking music icons perform a spirited set of fun-loving holiday tunes, including "Must Be Santa," "Three Jolly Rogues," and "That Marvelous Toy." They also incorporate more traditional Christmas standards such as: "Jingle Bells," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "I Saw Three Ships," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".

William and Kate: Into The Future

December 15th / 9:03 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

The April 2011 royal wedding marked the beginning of William and Kate's new role together as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The couple's future promises to be a life very different from the days of their university romance. A glimpse is taken into that new life and what it promises to hold.

Heirloom Meals Christmas

December 16th / 3:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Culinary artist and public-radio personality Carole Murko celebrates the holiday season by delving into America's rich and diverse culinary history and honoring tried-and-true recipes and dining traditions. She contrasts the Mexican-American tradition of making tamales on Christmas Eve with the old-world Austrian-American custom of preparing a Christmas goose. Other unique recipes include a sweet potato cake, holiday-themed lollipops and closely guarded family eggnog. To add to holiday cheer, the special also includes songs performed by world-renowned jazz singer and pianist Judy Carmichael in the comfort of Carole's home.

Burt Wolf: Taste of Freedom


December 16th / 6:30 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

In the northern hemisphere, Christmas is celebrated at the coldest and darkest time of the year, when the fields are barren. Accordingly, the central message of Christmas is "no matter how dark and how cold it looks now, light, warmth and growth will return". Burt Wolf learns how the Christmas tree got indoors, what the First Lady is doing for the holidays, how department stores create their magical windows, and what Santa has to say about all of this.

Arthur's Perfect Christmas

December 16th / 7:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Plans are underway in Elwood City for the best holidays ever as Arthur, D.W., their family and friends make preparations for perfect gifts, perfect parties and perfect family traditions for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and even "Baxter Day" (Buster and his mom's special celebration). The only problem is, just like in real life, perfection is hard to attain, and things start to fall apart.

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Jane Seymour and Nathan Gunn

December 16th / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Actress Jane Seymour and Grammy Award-winning baritone Nathan Gunn join the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in a magnificent Christmas special featuring some of the season's best-loved songs. The majestic performance features the Bells on Temple Square, a stage decorated as a medieval castle, dancers in regal costumes, fanfare trumpets and falling snow.

Letters to Santa 2012

Kristmas Kringle Shoppe/Young Santa/Mantz Brothers

December 17th / 5:30 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Dan Fischer goes to the Kristmas Kringle Shoppe in Fond du Lac, where it's Christmas all year round. TJ Bryde and Jeff Morris step back in time with a look at Santa in his younger years; and, the Mantz Brothers perform "Winter Wonderland". Children read their Christmas letters to Santa Claus. (1 of 6)

First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty

December 18th / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Stunning re-enactments, the Founding Fathers' own words, and the commentary of experts detail how the ideal of religious freedom was raised to the level of a fundamental human right. The film details the progression of religious liberty from Pilgrims and Puritans to the creation of the Bill of Rights and how it shaped a new nation, guaranteeing religious freedom for its citizens and establishing a free marketplace for religion in the United States.

Iranian Americans

December 18th / 8:30 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Iranian immigrants who found refuge, overcame adversity and became successful in America share their emotional stories of creating new lives. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Goldberg details how Iran was racked by political and religious upheaval, leading ultimately to revolution. In 1979, the revolution thrust Ayatollah Khomeini into power, beginning an era when dissent was not tolerated. Tens of thousands of Iranians left their homeland for the United States, a country they would come to call home.


Christmas In Yellowstone

December 19th / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Wolves, coyotes, elk, bison, bears, and otters make their way through their most challenging season of the year at Yellowstone. As snow falls and the Christmas lights glow in Jackson Hole, a holiday season of a different sort settles in. Breathtaking landscapes of snowcapped peaks and frozen icicles surround the wildlife as they adapt to the cold conditions. The men who first explored Yellowstone National Park are also profiled.

Agatha Christie's Poirot

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

December 20th / 8:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Poirot (David Suchet) is asked to spend Christmas with Simeon Lee who received six diamonds from his museum in South Africa and believes that his life is in danger. Poirot is soon on hand when Lee is found lying in a pool of blood--and his diamonds stolen. (1 of 4)

Lawrence Welk Show


December 22nd / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

We go back to 1966 to celebrate Christmas with Lawrence, his Musical Family, and their families. Lawrence makes his annual singing entrance on "Jingle Bells". The Lennon Sisters sing the beautiful "Star Carol" while JoAnn Castle rocks the house with "Frosty The Snowman". Aladdin gives the show a perfect touch with the holiday classic "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus".

American Masters

Marilyn Monroe: Still Life

December 22nd / 9:03 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Arguably the most photographed person ever, Marilyn Monroe produced an enduring body of work that still dazzles and moves people, evoking both desire and pathos. Artists such as Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Inge Morath, and Andy Warhol captured her grace, guts, and appeal--creating an ageless testament that showcased her humor and vulnerability. The program explores Monroe's chaotic life and how she cultivated her own image.

Christmas at St. Olaf: Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Sing

December 23rd / 9:00 am / MPTV Digital 36.1

This special showcases the artistry of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, featuring five of its renowned choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra. This rich blending of compositions highlights selections from previous Christmas Festivals, including excerpts from R.V. Williams Hodie. The musicians debut newly commissioned works by American composers Andre J. Thomas and David N. Childs. (Centennial performance).

Christmas at Belmont

December 23rd / 3:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Taped at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, nearly 700 student musicians, the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children's Choir, sing traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites. Also features the University Symphony Orchestra, Belmont Chorale, Percussion Ensemble, Musical Theatre, Jazz Ensemble and Bluegrass Ensemble.

Mr. Bean

Merry Christmas Mr. Bean

December 23rd / 5:36 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Realizing he is late for a dentist appointment, Mr. Bean gets dressed while driving there.

Burt Wolf: Taste of Freedom


December 23rd / 6:30 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Kwanzaa runs from December 26th to January 1st. It is not a religious holiday, but a holiday of reflection--an opportunity for African Americans to celebrate their African roots. Burt Wolf uncovers the epicenter of African American culture in the U.S. and takes a tour of Harlem. He also stops in to the Apollo Theater on Amateur night, explores what faith means at Abyssinian Church, and picks up some down-home recipes.

Christmas in the Basilica with the Bel Canto Chorus

December 23rd / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Milwaukee's Bel Canto Chorus performs beloved carols and hymns at the historic St. Josaphat's Basilica. Musical Director Richard Hynson conducts. The Stained Glass Brass Ensemble and the Bel Canto Boy Choir, conducted by Ellen Shuler also perform.

The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas!

December 23rd / 7:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

This adventure finds the Cat in the Hat, Nick and Sally on a journey around the world to help a lost reindeer find his way home in time for Christmas. They depend on a variety of animals--from African bush elephants to bottlenose dolphins to red crabs--and their remarkable abilities to help them make an amazing journey home.

Burt Wolf: Travels & Traditions

Getting Ready for Christmas at Biltmore Estate

December 24th / 9:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, N.C., is the largest private home in the U.S. It was built by George Vanderbilt, the grandson of the wealthiest man in the world. Burt tours the estate and sees how they prepare for Biltmore's Christmas celebration. From Santa Claus and eggnog to wreaths and poinsettias, Burt explains what became part of the Christmas tradition and why.

Wages of Spin: Dick Clark, American Bandstand and the Payola Scandals

December 28th / 9:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

A fascinating and provocative look is taken at the evolution of the Philadelphia music scene between 1952 and 1962, the evolution of American Bandstand and the creation of one of the industry's true moguls, Dick Clark. The highly-controversial subject of the payola scandals are examined, along with Clark's testimony before congress. Performers interviewed include Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Len Barry, Charlie Gracie, members of The Beach Boys, Danny & the Juniors and many others.

Burt Wolf: Travels & Traditions

New Year's

December 30th / 6:30 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

The moment when the old year turns into the New Year is always dangerous--it is the instant when the past and the future meet. Burt Wolf prepares for it by taking stock of strengths and weaknesses, and making plans for the future. In this program, he explains why the New Year is celebrated on January 1st, how noise keeps the evil spirits away, what makes a champagne cork go pop, and why caviar is an acceptable food to eat on New Year's Eve, but not on New Year's Day.

By Royal Appointment

December 30th / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

A look is taken at the talented craftsmen and women who all hold "warrants" as official suppliers to the English Royal Family. From tailors to cheese makers, medal crafters to wine suppliers, and cobblers to carriage makers, their skills and craftsmanship have placed them in a very exclusive group. They alone have the right to display a Royal Coat of Arms and say that they are "By Royal Appointment". Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Bonekickers) narrates.

Bee Gees One Night Only

December 31st / 10:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

The group performs their greatest hits at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas: To Love Somebody, I've Just Got To Get A Message To You, Lonely Days, Jive Talking. (1997)

Movie: Charade (1963)

December 31st / 10:30 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

A trio of crooks relentlessly pursues a young American through Paris for the fortune her dead husband stole from them. Starring: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn.

Paul McCartney Good Evening New York City

December 31st / 11:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

The former Beatle and famed rocker Paul McCartney is captured on tape during his historic three-night christening of New York's Citi Field in July 2009. Features standout songs from the Beatles, Wings and McCartney's solo career--including "Drive My Car," "Got to Get You Into My Life," "Back in the USSR," "Band On the Run," "Live and Let Die" and "Flaming Pie".

Live from Lincoln Center

One Singular Sensation: Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch

December 31st / 7:00 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

The New York Philharmonic rings in 2013 by celebrating the life and work of Marvin Hamlisch with appearances by violinist Joshua Bell, Raul Esparza (Company), Michael Feinstein, Maria Friedman (The Woman In White, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Josh Groban, Megan Hilty (NBC's SMASH), Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara (South Pacific and Light in the Piazza) and Frederica Von Stade.

Judy Garland: The Concert Years

December 31st / 8:30 pm / MPTV HD 10.1 and 36.2

Lorna Luft narrates her mother's "second career" following her years at MGM. The retrospective features comments from family and colleagues, full performances from concerts at the London Palladium, Carnegie Hall, and the Palace Theater, a previously unseen 30-second scene cut from her famous comeback film, "A Star Is Born," and scenes from her short-lived TV show.

Billy Connolly's Route 66

December 31st / 9:00 pm / MPTV Digital 36.1

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly takes the ultimate road trip as he travels the world's most famous highway, Route 66. In the first of four parts, he travels from Chicago to St. Louis, visiting attractions along the way including: the Chicago Tribune Building, the Route 66 "Pie Man," Abraham Lincoln's home, an Amish community and the Chain of Rocks bridge. (1 of 4)