Saturday Night Live/Candice Bergen/Martha Reeves, The Stylistics

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Candice Bergen/Martha Reeves, The Stylistics
Season 1, Episode 8
Airdate December 20, 1975
Production Number 008
Written by Anne Beatts
Chevy Chase
Al Franken &
Tom Davis
Lorne Michaels
Marilyn Suzanne Miller
Michael O'Donoghue
Herb Sargent
Tom Schiller
Rosie Shuster
Alan Zweibel
Directed by Dave Wilson
← 1x07
Richard Pryor/Gil-Scott Heron
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Elliott Gould/Anne Murray
Saturday Night LiveSeason One

Candice Bergen/Martha Reeves, The Stylistics is the eighth episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live, and the eighth episode overall. It is Candice Bergen's second appearance as host. It is the first appearance of either of its musical guests.

Guest Stars: Candice Bergen (Host), Martha Reeves (Musical Guest), The Stylistics (Musical Guests)

Special Guests: Margaret Kuhn (Gray Panther), Howard Shore and His Band of Angels (House Band)

Muppet Voices and Puppeteers: Frank Oz (The Food), Jerry Nelson (Scred), Alice Tweedy (Queen Peuta), Fran Brill (Vazh), Richard Hunt (Wisss), Jim Henson (King Ploobis)


Episode Breakdown

  • Christmas Eve at the White House: President Gerald Ford (Chase) sits in the White House living room and puts on a record of the "Christmas carol" "Easter Bonnet." His servant Frank (Morris) enters with his Christmas cognac and asks Ford to turn up the music, but Ford turns it down. He says he is going to trim the tree, and he takes scissors and starts to cut off branches. Frank says it is time for the fireside chat, but Ford starts talking before filming starts. In his address, he hangs his children's stockings upside down, spilling everything out. He then climbs up the ladder to put the star atop the tree, but he falls off the ladder, knocking the tree down with him.
  • Candice Bergen's Monologue: Bergen says she has no monologue, because she is just happy to be hosting the show again, and she thanks producer Lorne Michaels.
  • Higher & Higher: Martha Reeves song, featuring "Howard Shore and His Band of Angels."
  • Mel's Char Palace One: Mel's Char Palace owner Mel (Aykroyd) does a commercial for his restaurant, where you choose your own cow and cut your own steaks, but they provide the cutting implements. Mrs. Mel (Radner) shows off how to work the saw.
  • Parent's Worst Nightmare: William Jasperson, Sr. (Aykroyd) and his wife (Curtin) are at home wondering where their son Billy (Chase) is, but William Sr. says he is out helping sell candy. They get a call from Billy, who has been arrested by a cop (Morris) for murder. William Sr. says he's sure Billy is innocent, but Billy says he has, in fact, ritually murdered 26 hitchhikers. After William Sr. hangs up, Mama Jasperson asks if Billy has been arrested for marijuana, and when William Sr. says he has not, she is relieved.
  • Home Movies: Bergen and announcer Don Pardo tell viewers how to send in their home movies for use in SNL's upcoming Home Movies segments, but they lose all rights to their home movies.
  • The Bees - Bee Capades: To demonstrate the "Home Movies," Chase and Bergen present a film taken of Bergen skating at Rockefeller Plaza's skating rink with the Bees, which includes all of the cast plus some writers. Whenever Bergen sees herself, she points it out, and meanwhile, the Bees make various formations, ending with one where they spell out the words "Noel."
  • Don Pardo's Gift Catalog One: Announcer Pardo plugs his "Digital Gift Catalog," which has items which all include digital clocks, including a "digital ashtray."
  • Santa and His Reindeer: (Note: Live commercial, not considered an official sketch.) Santa Claus (Belushi) and his reindeer (Bergen) do an ad for the Polaroid Deluxe SX70 land camera. Throughout the commercial, Santa keeps referring to himself as the Easter Bunny.
  • You Make Me Feel Brand New: The Stylistics song.
  • K-Put Stamp Gun: A commercial for a new pricing gun with which shoppers can save lots of money by putting new, extremely low prices on their shopping items.
  • Latent Elves: A young man named Ted (Chase), dressed in an elf costume, prances around his living room singing Christmas carols and quoting "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." His sister (Bergen) enters and is shocked and horrified to discover he is a "latent elf." At first, she is disgusted, but Ted helps her realize he is no different from anyone else, and his being an elf is natural. Their parents (Aykroyd & Curtin) enter, but their mother reveals their father is also a latent elf, and she rips off his fedora to reveal a green pointed hat underneath. Teddy's mother and sister leave, and Teddy and his father prance around the living room together.
  • Minute Mystery: Mike Mendoza (Aykroyd) and Officer Lopez (Belushi) investigate the death of a professor (O'Donoghue) with the words "Winona Did It" written on the wall in blood. They meet his secretary Winona Foxfire (Bergen), who is still holding a gun, and ask her if she wants to play "trap the clam." They also ask her about her favorite color and her pet peeve, which she says is "guys who don't have scars," so they show off their scars to her, but she is unimpressed. As they turn to leave, she says guys who can't solve murders are a turn-on, so they pretend to be baffled by the murder. They give the audience 20 seconds to solve the mystery. At the end, they ask Pardo to announce the murderer, but he pretends to be clueless and says he has a scar. Winona leaves with Mendoza and Lopez.
  • Weekend Update.
    • Chase goes to "David Hayward" to report on the trial of Squeaky Fromme. As Hayward reports, the screen shows the artist's renderings of the trial—crude stick figures. At the end of the report, the camera returns to Chase, who is revealed to plugging his nose to make a funny voice and report as Hayward.
    • Newman reports from Times Square, where she is surprised by how quiet everything is as the ball is about to drop to ring in the New Year. Chase asks her what time it is, and she says it is 12:10 AM on December 20, which explains the quiet.
    • Chase claims to have a live via satellite report over phone line with a correspondent in the war-torn nation of Angola. He picks up the phone and tries to talk as the picture shows video of a man named Angelo flipping pizzas. Chase apologizes for bothering the pizza parlor and hangs up, but he tells the audience there was an "audio problem."
    • Emily Litella responds to an editorial in favor of "firing the handicapped." She argues the handicapped can be useful and they need extra money at the holidays, but when Chase reveals the editorial she heard was about hiring the handicapped, she is embarrassed and says, "Never mind."
    • Chase repeats the top story assisted by Morris, the headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing. Morris just shouts the headline as Chase reads it.
  • Tarn-Off: In a commercial during WU, Princess Grace of Monaco promotes Tarn-Off, the tarnish remover. To clean her tiara, she dips her head in a bowl of Tarn-Off, and she also dips her scepter into it. Two knights also dip their hands into the bowl and are amazed at how shiny their armor has become.
  • The Laundromat: In a silent scene, a man (Belushi) and a woman (Radner) find only one washing machine available at the laundromat, so they decide to share it. The man throws in his socks, and the woman throws in pantyhose. Then he throws in his shirt, and she follows with hers. When he throws in his pants, she blushes, but she puts her skirt in afterwards. Next he throws in his undershirt, and she takes her bra out of her basket, but she is too shy to put it in the washer. He gives her a rose, and she tosses in her bra. At last, he puts in his underwear, but she seems unwilling to follow with hers until he opens a bottle of wine and pours two glasses. With all their clothes in the machine, they start the wash cycle, and the man lights two cigarettes and gives her one as they sit on the folding table together.
  • Pong - Tommy: The Pong player (Al Franken) plays an opponent who misses every serve. The player calls out to his opponent, "Tommy," as the song "Pinball Wizard" by the Who plays. After the player's 11 to zero victory, the player says, "You may be a pinball wizard, but your Pong sure stinks."
  • The Muppets - Ploobis and Scred's Christmas: King Ploobis (Henson) is having his Christmas party joined by his wife Queen Peuta (Tweedy), and he "invited the whole show." She worries about the food, but he checks and finds there is plenty of it (Oz). Their first guest arrives, and Ploobis hopes to kiss him or her under the mistletoe, but it is only Scred (Nelson), so Ploobis avoids kissing him. Scred reveals the Bees are having a competing Christmas party, and the Muppets are not invited, because Scred got into a fight with one of them over Ploobis. Wisss (Hunt) and Vazh (Brill) come to say they have been to the Bees' party, and it's a great party, so they decide to go back to it. Peuta decides to go to the Bees' party, also, and leaves the disappointed Ploobis and Scred alone. They are delighted when Bergen comes by, and she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with them. After the song, Scred nearly kisses Bergen and invites her to "ditch that guy and go to the Bees' party."
  • Mel's Char Palace Two: Another commercial with Mel (Aykroyd) and Mrs. Mel (Radner) inviting watchers to cut their own steaks.
    Morris and crew send a Christmas card to their viewers on the show's first Christmas episode.
  • Winter Wonderland: Garrett Morris song, featuring Candice Bergen, the Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players and Howard Shore and His Band of Angels.
  • Don Pardo's Gift Catalog Two: Pardo pitches his digital mood ring. He also promotes a three-piece suit with "digital vest."
  • Silver Bells: Martha Reeves song, featuring Howard Shore and His Band of Angels.
  • What Gilda Ate: Bergen says Radner will help the audience avoid overeating. Radner describes what she ate last Christmas, but it turns out she ate far more than a little, and she goes into great detail as to how much she ate. When Bergen cuts her off, Radner admits she's making herself sick.
  • The Fritzie Kringle Show: Swedish chef Fritzie Kringle (Newman) hosts a cooking show, in which she demonstrates how to bake Christmas cookies, but she eats more of the ingredients than she puts into the cookies. When she shows off the finished product, there are only two small dollops on the cookie sheet, and she also shows off a cooked goose which is mostly eaten.
  • Mel's Char Palace Three: A final commercial for the restaurant where you slaughter, cut and cook your own steak, featuring Mel (Aykroyd) and Mrs. Mel (Radner).
  • Margaret Kuhn: Bergen has a conversation with Kuhn, who is a member of the senior citizens' civil rights group, the Grey Panthers. Kuhn encourages viewers to care about the elderly and realize being old can be exciting, and she says she'd like to "give everybody a big old shot in the arm of courage and guts." Kuhn also says every old person should have a "new young friend for Christmas," so Bergen says she'd like to have Kuhn as her "new old friend," and Kuhn agrees. Kuhn ends with the Grey Panthers' sign-off, "Off your asses."
  • Homeward Bound: Bergen introduces a short film by the crew at SNL about Christmas. The film shows people arriving at the airport and greeting their families as the song "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel plays.


"Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!"


  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, performed by Martha Reeves: This soul hit was written by Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner and Carl Smith and first performed by Jackie Wilson in 1967, when it was a huge R&B hit.
    The Stylistics perform "You Make Me Feel Brand New."
  • You Make Me Feel Brand New, performed by the Stylistics: This doo-wop love song became a #2 hit for the group, who were a throwback to the R&B singing groups of the 1950s and 60s.
  • Pinball Wizard, performed by the Who: This hit single came from the Who's rock opera Tommy and is the most famous song describing the opera's hero and title character. It is about a "deaf, dumb and blind kid" who is nonetheless a whiz at playing pinball and who finds international stardom as a result. The famous opening instrumental of this song can be heard in this episode in the "Pong" sketch, in which it is implied that the Tommy of the opera and song is the talking Pong player's badly outclassed opponent.
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, performed by Candice Bergen, Scred and King Ploobis: A Christmas standard first written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine which became famous when it was used for the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis, in which it was performed by Judy Garland.
    Martha Reeves performs "Silver Bells."
  • Winter Wonderland, performed by Garrett Morris, featuring Candice Bergen, the Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players and Howard Shore and His Band of Angels: Another Christmas standard, although it never mentions any specific holiday. It was written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith and first recorded in 1934. Morris and company's performance has become famous among fans of SNL for featuring the legendary original cast, as well as beloved recurring host Bergen, despite all their in-fighting and differences, all together on stage being merry in the spirit of the holiday. It is frequently used for "best of" collections and in holiday retrospectives of the show.
  • Silver Bells, performed by Martha Reeves: Another Christmas standard, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1951. It had its film debut in the 1951 film The Lemon Drop Kid, where it was performed by Crosby's comedy partner Bob Hope.
  • Homeward Bound, performed by Simon & Garfunkel: This single became one of Simon & Garfunkel's biggest hits when it was recorded and released in 1966. Paul Simon supposedly wrote it at Widnes railway station. Never released on a studio album, the most famous version was recorded live, which explains the burst of applause heard at the opening.


The Show

  • Band Credit: This is the second time the house band (later known as the Saturday Night Live Band) was credited in the opening credits. In their their first credited appearance, they were called "Howard Shore and His All Nurse Band," and they wore nurses' uniforms in their appearances. Here, they are called "Howard Shore and His Band of Angels," and they were angel costumes throughout the episode.
  • Uncredited Cast: Cast member Michael O'Donoghue is not credited, although he appears, albeit in a non-speaking role as a corpse in the sketch "Minute Mystery." Cast member George Coe is also not credited, but he does not appear.
  • Return Host: With this episode, Candice Bergen becomes the first person to host SNL more than once.
  • Christmas at SNL: The "Bee Capades" sketch in this episode sets off an SNL Christmas tradition of having the host of the last episode before Christmas skate with the cast at the Rockefeller Center Skating Rink, usually over the closing credits.
    Gerald Ford tops off the White House Christmas tree and kicks off the show.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments

  • Christmas Eve at the White House.
  • The cast, band and host perform "Winter Wonderland."