Back in the 70s, TV talk show host (and future mega-producer and casino mogul) Merv Griffin hosted a few holiday-themed syndicated variety specials. One particular show that I remember fondly was 1973's MERV GRIFFIN & THE CHRISTMAS KIDS. This hour-long treat featured a bunch of popular child stars of the day like Rodney Allen Rippy, Ricky Segall and Kim Richards performing songs and hanging out with Uncle Merv and Santa.This special aired just a few times over the years, but now is one of those lost TV treasures that will probably never resurface. But maybe there's a chance of a Reunion Special featuring those tykes as adults? Now that would be an unusual and possibly unsettling social experiment. I wonder if they are all still around...So, whatever happened to THE CHRISTMAS KIDS? Well, Jack in the Box pitchman Rodney Allen Rippy has his own website and long-distance phone service. He's available for speaking engagements and is working on a reality show pilot - so he might be interested in a reunion...Ricky Segall, of THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY fame, grew up to become Reverend Richard Segall, a minister at several churches in Texas. He also had a career in gospel music, but has recently returned to LA and showbiz! Hmm...he might be game.Kim Richards was a child mega-star, appearing in everything from NANNY & THE PROFESSOR to HELLO, LARRY. In between, she made a string of ABC Afterschool Specials, TV-movies and Disney films-including the awesome WITCH MOUNTAIN films. She returned to the big screen recently in BLACK SNAKE MOAN and will have a role is Disney's new RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN. Oh, and she's the aunt of somebody named Paris Hilton. So, it sounds like she's gettable. Photo by Kirstin Alm.Eric Scott of THE WALTONS became a courier after the series ended, eventually worked his way up to become VP of the company. Eric still acts and makes occasional appearances at fan events. He's so in.totally available!
Kejo Thomas was a child actor who appeared on one episode of POLICE WOMAN in 1976 and then resurfaced 30 years later as part of SWEATING IN THE SPIRIT - American's #1 Christian Aerobics Video! I swear I'm not making this up! I wonder which dancer is Kejo? Sounds like he's probably available.Piano prodigy Leland Greenwald is now apparently known as Dr. Leland Greenwald, MD - who still enjoys playing the piano. So he might be interested, if he's not busy performing surgery or golfing.Guitarist Randy Gray - if this is him - still rocks out in Texas. His last TV credit was a 1981 episode of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Sounds like he may want to take the gig.And finally, The Robert Mitchell Boys Choir (also known as the St. Brendan's Church Choir or Bob Mitchell's Singing Boys) was founded in 1934, they were cast in over 100 films from the 1930s through the 1980s (the last being in 1981). Bob Mitchell, began his career as a moviehouse organist in 1924 at the age of 12, returned to work in the 1990s as part-time organist at The Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles. For a 2004 interview with 92-year old Bob Mitchell go here. Not sure if the choir boys are still around, though.Well, there you have it - an update on all THE CHRISTMAS KIDS - all grown up to be executives, preachers, aerobics dancers, doctors and rock stars! So there's a ray of hope that they can reunite for the reunion special that exists only in my head. As for Merv, he's no longer with us.
Oh - and as a EXTRA special treat here's my friend Jerry Sharell performing "New York, New York" on THE MERV GRIFFIN show in 1982.