Why Miracle on 34th Street Isn't on TV This Year, and Where You Can Watch It

Miracle 34th Street

“Why isn’t the original Miracle on 34th Street on TV this year? We need to see movies that offer hope.”

“Where is Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara??”

Many a TVLine reader is on the hunt for the 1947 classic Christmas movie, about a jolly old man who just might be the real Santa Claus. Alas, unless you subscribe to Disney+, you’re likely to only get coal.

As reported by Rob Owen of Trib Total Media, the original Miracle on 34th Street is not available on traditional TV this holiday season, as a result of Walt Disney Co.’s purchase of 20th Century Fox (including its library of films). So pretty much the only place to find and watch it is Disney+.

For what it’s worth, It’s a Wonderful Life, as noted in our What to Watch column for Christmas Eve and in which Mary jokes about George making “violent love” to her, airs tonight on NBC, while White Christmas is marathoning on Sundance through noon on Christmas Day.

Written (with Valentine Davies) and directed by George Seaton, 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street starred Maureen O’Hara as Doris Walker, a special events director for New York City’s Macy’s department store who hires a kindly old man off the street (Edmund Gwenn) when her rent-a-Santa turns out to be a drunk. Little does Doris know, but her holiday hire in fact calls himself Kris Kringle, believing himself to be the actual Santa Claus. So compelling is Kris with his story, he even stirs belief in Doris’ no-nonsense daughter Susan (Natalie Wood). John Payne plays Doris’ love interest, while I Love Lucy‘s William Frawley is among the other costars, as a local politico who counsels the judge in the eventual trial to not do Santa wrong.

The film won three Academy Awards in 1948 (for screenplay, original story and supporting actor Gwenn), while also netting a Best Picture nomination.

A 1994 remake starred Elizabeth Perkins, Richard Attenborough and Mara Wilson. That can be found on Jan. 7, 2021, on HBO Signature East.

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