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George Christy Talks About Madelyn Hammond, Holiday Movies, Christmas Cards and More!

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“Would you believe we began this 22 years ago, and are still going strong?” says Madelyn Hammond, the movie marketing maven, about her and husband Pete Hammond’s ritual of creating their uniquely personal Christmas cards.   Pete is the must-read columnist on Deadline Hollywood who annually steers us through the Oscar whirligig until D-day (on February 28th this year).

“Much fun for us,” says Madelyn. “Pete and I play with what movie we’ll spoof every Christmas.   After we attended the Governors Awards when Debbie Reynolds recently was honored with the Jean Hersholt Award, our decision was instant.   

“Singin’ In The Rain, of course, the 1952 classic musical starring Debbie with Gene Kelly.  The film was bypassed by the Oscar voters, receiving only two nominations (supporting actress for Jean Hagen, and Lennie Hayten for musical scoring; both lost).  Today, the critical cognoscenti and film loving audiences out there consider Singin’ In the Rain among the greatest movie musicals of our time.  For other shocking Oscar misses, check John Kander and Fred Ebb’s music & lyrics for Not Even Nominated about the fabulous songs that Oscar ignored.

“Thanks to revival houses and DVDs,” adds Madelyn, “I’ve seen the movie dozens of times the way it was originally made to be seen.”

How did Madelyn and Pete’s holiday card caper come about decades ago?   They were fooling around during a beach vacation in Hawaii, where a friend snapped a candid of them pretending to be Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in that sexy swimsuit embrace in From Here To Eternity.  “We agreed it would make a special Christmas card, and mailed 100.  Our phones soon were ringing, with friends begging to be added to our list for the next keepsake surprise.

“A tradition was launched.

“We’ve increased the list now to more than 1,000.  Yes, it’s plenty of work to stuff and seal and stamp (postage rates are going up!).   We say it’s worth it.  This is the only time of the year we connect with our friends, who tell us that even their kids wonder what we’ll come up with next.  Many may not be familiar with the film references, but they find the cards funny.

“Oftentimes this is the only time of the year we connect with friends, and during these days of electronic everything, this is Pete’s and my way of saying we’re still here, we’re still goofy, and that we treasure our friendships.”

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