Shout! Factory is delighted to bring you holiday cheer with the October 7 release of the 4-DVD box set The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials 1976-1979, as well as single DVD releases of The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1978 and 1979. The Christmas Specials of 1976 and 1977 were released in 2007. The footage on these DVDs has been unseen for 30 years, and is being made available through an exclusive agreement between Shout! Factory and the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will unveil a special spotlight exhibit dedicated to Cash on Tuesday, September 30, 2008. Among the artifacts in the new display is the black gabardine suit with chain-stitched blue stars and brass buttons, designed by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, which Cash wore in his 1977 televised Christmas special.
For his 1978 Christmas special, the third in as many years, Cash moved the usually Tennessee-based taping to Los Angeles, and, unsurprisingly, the program takes on a Hollywood feel. Guests include Kris Kristofferson and singer Rita Coolidge, both friends of the Cash family, who perform a heartfelt “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends,” and Steve Martin, one of America’s hottest new comics at the time. June Carter Cash, as always, performs with her husband, and other family members make appearances in this special as well.
For the 1979 broadcast, Cash’s annual CBS Christmas special returns to Nashville for a program featuring his father, Ray Cash, and his older brother, Roy Cash, in a visit to the small home in Dyess, Arkansas, where Johnny and his siblings were raised. Guests include Canadian pop and country star Anne Murray (“You Needed Me”), who was enjoying the most successful period of her career, and country music’s Tom T. Hall, whom Cash introduces as “my very favorite songwriter” before Cash and Hall launch into a medley of Hall’s hits “(Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine,” “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died,” “I Love” and “Country Is.” The show’s comic foil is the late Andy Kaufman, who appears as his character Latka Gravas from the hit network show Taxi.
The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials 1976-1979 4-DVD box set includes these two discs as well as the special from 1976 and 1977, previously released on DVD in 2007 by Shout! Factory. Taped from the family homes in Bon Aqua and Hendersonville, Tennessee, The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976 featured special guests Roy Clark, Merle Travis, Barbara Mandrell, Tony Orlando and Billy Graham. The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1977 includes an all-star tribute to Elvis Presley with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison, a selection of Christmas songs, as well as Perkins’s “Blue Suede Shoes,” Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” and Lewis’s 1957 Sun smash “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On.”