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Ask SAM: 'It's a Wonderful Life' pre-empted by 'Sound of Music Live'

Ask SAM: 'It's a Wonderful Life' pre-empted by 'Sound of Music Live'

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Q: Why didn’t “It’s A Wonderful Life” air on Saturday as scheduled on WXII? Will it re-air before Christmas?


Answer: NBC made a late decision to pre-empt its annual broadcast of “It’s a Wonderful Life” last Saturday so it could re-air its new hit “The Sound of Music Live!” with Carrie Underwood, which drew 18.47 million viewers on its initial Dec. 5 broadcast. Saturday’s repeat didn’t draw nearly as big an audience, getting 3.1 million viewers overall.

The special has also just been released on DVD.

But don’t fret: NBC will be showing the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 8 p.m. today, and will have an encore showing of it Tuesday, as part of NBC’s Christmas Eve programming, also at 8 p.m.

Q: On Nov. 4, the city leaf truck picked up leaves on our street, Loch Drive. This was the first official day of the city’s leaf program. Six weeks later, we have not had a return to our street by the trucks. Does this mean the first round of leaf pickup has not yet been completed, or that our street has been missed?


Answer: City crews began their second round of leaf collection on Wednesday, one day after you sent in your question.

The first full round of collection yielded 3,852 loads or 12,326 tons of leaves, according to Mark Fulmer, the city Sanitation Operations Supervisor, which he said was an unusually high total for one round of collection.

“As one might expect, with an increase in tonnage, completing one round of the city took longer than usual to complete,” he said.

To follow the daily progress of leaf collection and get an estimate of when crews will be in your neighborhood, you can check the map at

“Please remember to place leaves on the yard’s edge,” Fulmer said, “not in the street, and do not mix leaves with brush or other debris.”

Q: Please settle a dispute: Is the little elf in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” who wants to be a dentist Herbie or is he Hermey?


Answer: The character in the animated classic from 1964 was named Hermey.

However, books and other merchandise that feature the aspiring dentist/misfit elf character have sometimes called him "Herbie."

We were unable to find a definitive reason for the difference. Some sources say that merchandisers made a mistake. Some fan-based Web sites say that Hermey and other characters on the show pronounced the name so it sounds like Herbie.

More information on the show is on the website about Rudolph and other TV shows by Rankin/Bass Productions,, which has the final say on this: “Hermey is definitely HERMEY! I have the original Romeo Muller scripts and he named and spelled the character’s name as Hermey (never Herbie).” That part of the site was written by Rich Goldschmidt, the author of the book “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Making of the Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic.”


u M.W.B. wants to thank the customer who found her checkbook at CVS on Country Club Road.

u And C.L. wrote in to thank the person who paid the bill when she and a friend had dinner at Salem Tavern on Dec. 7. “What a special, wonderful way to start the Christmas season!” she wrote.


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