tv ABC News Good Morning America ABC December 12, 2009 8:00am-9:00am EST
i need two weeks off. captioning made possible by abc cable networks group captioning performed by the national captioning institute, inc. this morning, tiger woods says he'll take an indefinite break from professional golf to try to save his marriage. and he admits for the first time he cheated on his wife. we'll have the latest fallout. five, american-muslims allegedly recruited for terror, face tough questions from the fbi. we have the latest details on their plans to fight u.s. troops. and how the internet helped them organize. more than 100 cars are stranded on the highway, as a blizzard pounds the northeast and midwest. and with arctic chill and more snow on the way, much of the country is in for a deep freeze. and 'tis the season for everyone's favorite holiday show.
if the stores slash their prices even further? this is the game of chicken that's going on. retailers waiting to see what we all do. maybe if we band together. there will be sales. >> we can make a pinkie swear that we're not going to shop until the 24th. also this morning, is your doctor up on the latest research and treatments available? and how do you find out if they are or not? we'll tell you the questions you need to ask to make sure you're getting the best possible care. it's part of our series, "doctors' orders." first, tiger woods has announced he's leaving golf tour indefinitely. he says he's going to work on fixing his marriage, which, of a steady stream of sensational stories about extramarital affairs. and abc's john berman again with what this could mean to tiger, for the sport, for his career. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, ka 2 1/2 weeks ago, tiger woods was one ofhe m respected athletes in the world. now, he's not playing at all. he made the decision to leave
the tour to focus his attention on being a better husband, father and person. two weeks to the day, after he crashed his car, cracking his pristine image, leading to the cavalcade of women and affairs, he said, i'm deeply aware of the hurt my infidelity has caused many people. it's the first time he used the word infidelity message. after all the tabloid headlines and this voicemail message that "us weekly" says tiger left with a girlfriend. >> can you please take your name off your phone? my wife went through my phone and may be calling you. >> reporter: woods' absence will be a tremendous blow to golf. when he missed eight months last year after knee surgery, tv ratings fell by 50%. this week, golfer john daly spoke of the game without tiger. >> i mean, it will survive. but not to what it is when tiger plays. because of tiger is why we're playing for so much money. >> reporter: with a roster of high-profile endorsements, woods became the first billion-dollar athlete. but now, there are signs some
sponsors are beginning to waiver. last night, at&t told us, we are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him. woods seemed to acknowledge he has a tough road ahead. it may not be possible to repair the damage i've done, he says. but i want to do my best to try. so, when will tiger play again? we simply don't know. the masters, one of the biggest tournaments of the year is in april. he usually only plays three or four tournaments before then. and tiger is not telling us much. all of the statements in this crisis, on his website. bill? >> okay, john berman. we appreciate it. and espn news columnist, and consultant, christine brennan has been giving this story perfective all along. good to see you. couple weeks ago, we both sat here and gave tiger the benefit of the doubt. and at&t and procter & gamble, and gillette, and nike, and e.a. video games did the same. what's next for his major sponsors? >> oh, i think there's going to be a wholesale shifting, bill.
if they don't get rid of him entirely. they may not do that. they'll do a wait and see things. they're going to get him off the billboards, accenture, all the airports, be a tiger. that's got to go. i called accenture on wednesday twice over nine hours. they never called back. they acted as if they never heard of the guy. not a phone call back from their top spokeswoman. at&t says they have no comment now. they say they're evaluating the situation. at&t that's his golf bag. obviously, not right now. he won't be playing. but also a tournament he has in washington. the at&t national. again, i think all of the sponsors have to say, we have to get out of the picture. kind of like tiger. tiger's gone. the sponsors will probably be gone, too. >> all of the website statements in the world can't compare to him actually facing the music, facing the cameras, looking his fans in the eye. what sort of crisis management advice do you think he's getting on that front?
>> tiger is a control freak. and he's a very private person. this is the first time, bill, that he's never been able to control something, potentially in his life, since his dad had him on mike douglas at age 2. his dad told me he was the next gandhi. the next mandela. so, all of a sudden, this has to be just stunning to him to have to deal with this. but i think we're getting a window into tiger's world. right into the family room and the living room, with what he did yesterday. it is so shocking that he is leaving golf. i think it says tiger realizes how bad this is. he's a smart guy. and he realizes that this is just absolutely out of control. and he had to do the most shocking thing to get his life together. in that sense, i think we should all feel good that maybe he's coming to grips with how bad this is. >> and quickly, what are the odds we'll see him at the masters? >> i'll say probably not. my sense is we're talking six months to a year. it could be less. but this is a big deal. and i think we might not see him
for a while. >> christine brennan. as always, we appreciate your insight. thanks. >> thank you, bill. checking the rest of the news this morning, ron claiborne. >> welcome back. >> good morning, everyone. a blast of wintry weather is causing more pro of the midwest and northeast, akiltres.dwest and northeast, and abc's david kerle the latest. >> reporter: a break in the storm made getting around western new york much easier. even on two wheels. these hearty folks see plenty of snow. but were surprised at what the slow-moving storm threw at them. >> it was terrible. it was a whiteout. >> worst i can remember. i think it is the worst. >> reporter: this is what they're talking about. blowing snow that blinded drivers. plows couldn't keep up. interstate 90 was shut down. >> there came a point in time where a large segment of roadway, it was impossible to get people through. >> reporter: but there we0 people stranded in cars and r
forced to spend the entire night in their vehicles. >> it was actually more comfortable than a plane ride i was just on. >> reporter: we sat down with mike in his car, his home for 12 hours. with just two slices of bread and a bowl he used to melt snow with his car's heater. scary at all? >> just the thought of being -- a lot of snow coming down, which can happen. and all day today could be crummy weather. and you're thinking, it's not going to melt on saturday, either. >> reporter: were you cold? were you hungry? yes. yes. >> reporter: these 32 seniors are on a tour through the northeast. the most memorable stop, the night on the interstate. >> scary. scary. i mean, we saw these huge trucks on the cars on the side of the >> reporter: for "good morning america," david kerley, abc news, westfield, new york. and the house has passed the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the great depression. the bill would create a new
agency to oversee consumer banking transactions. and give the government pow break up companies that it deems reform early next year. and a new government report found that theeateh care reform bdtua increase health carts. the report also callsed savings for medicare unrealistic. but it says the plan would provide coverageto 3 americans who currely have insurance. and finally, some university of michigan students played their iphones in concert this week, after programming the phones to mimic the sounds of instruments. and strapping speakers to their wrists to broadcast the sound. and get this. they actually got credit, course credit for this project. >> it sounds terrible. did you hear it? >> well, they're trying. perfecting it. >> it's early on. >> early on. let's play a real musical instrument, for crying out loud. good morning all of you. it is winter, after all. we're talking about a lot of winter advisories. nine states under winter advisories.
we're talking about the west coast this time. looking at central california. one storm moved in. dumped five to ten inches of snow in the higher elevations. folks preparing for a lot of rain. you see a lot of sandbags. one storm moves out. another moves in. all the way from ore thanks so much. more on your saturday outlook later on in the show. kate? >> okay, marysol. well, this morning, five,
young american-muslims from the washington, d.c. area, have been moved to a detention center for terror suspects in lahore, pakistan. the fbi and the pakistani military have been questioning them about a plot to wage jihad against troops in afghanistan. abc news chief investigative correspondent, brian ross, begins with the latest. what do we know about what they may be charged with? >> reporter: they could be charged with giving material support to terrorism by the u.s. they went to pakistan, proclaiming they wanted to become part of jihad. in fact, the radical groups they first approached suspected them of being perhaps plants by the cia. they showed up in western clothing. didn't speak any language. and they were rejected by the first group they went to. they were making their way, they thought, to a place in north waziristan, where they could train to attack u.s. troops in afghanistan. five, young men from the suburbs of washington. two college students among them, who surprised everybody by their actions.
>> all their friends say no suspicions of any of this. but this raises so many questions. ever since 9/11, people have been worried about homegrown terrorism in the u.s. we've had several cases. this week, a chicago man charged with helping to organize the plot in mumbai. you have najibullah zazi, in denver. so, what's going on? >> reporter: well, the implication of this case are actually more serious about the facts or the threat from these five, young men. the concern about people in this country, disaffected pakistanis in many cases, who have decided they had it with their country, their adopted country. and they go to pakistan to learn how to become fighters against america. the most radical case is that of adam gadahn. raised in a jewish family in orange county, california. he's now a senior leader of al qaeda. this is a tape he released overnight, again warning americans don't have long to live if they continue to fight against allah. he is a senior commander now. wanted where with a $5 million
reward, charged for being a traitor. it is an extreme example of what concerns many that american-muslims, young people, are following the same path seen in england. >> another big story in the region. blackwater security, which had been an integral part of military operations there, cut off now this week. >> reporter: the cia cut off a contract that had them handling the predator planes over pakistan. and as well, we reported, and "the new york times" and "the washington post" have been used in almost a mercenary role. actually involved in paramilitary and combat operations in pakistan, iraq and afghanistan, which would be, if true, completely against the law. much more to come on that, as the blackwater role continues to be diminished. >> you'll continue to follow that for us. brian, thank you so much. let's turn to the economy now. attention, holiday shoppers. this could be a do-or-die weekend for your favorite stores. even though november sales were up 1.3% from october, a lot of
consumers, that means you, are waiting to open their wallets this month, hoping for even deeper discounts. the longer you wait, the deeper they get. abc's stephanie sy joins us with more on the standoff. good morning, stephanie. >> reporter: good morning, bill. well, this is viewed as a crucial weekend for retailers in this holiday shopping season. if they can't entice the shoppers today and tomorrow, they may have to resort to those dreaded, unplanned markdowns. dreaded for them, a boon for shoppers. so, the question this morning, who will blink first? it's like a showdown at high noon. on one side, retailers, trying to make it into the black. on the other, consumers, trying to wait them out, hoping for a better deal. >> there's a bit of a game of chicken going on in terms of the customer waiting for deeper markdowns. and the retailers thinking that the customer's going to have to give in and come shop. >> reporter: in a new survey, nine out of ten late-season shoppers say they're waiting until stores hit 50% off or
better before they start to spend. so far, retailers aren't budging. they ordered less inventory this year than last, so, have less need to slash to sell. but their time is running out. while the new figures out friday show retail sales were up in november, thanks to surging auto sales, department and electronics stores saw steep declines. one of the only bright spots are online sales, which were up 3%. if the customers don't spend this weekend, retailers may have to resort to those deep discounts they're hoping to avoid. in fact, most retailers have the last-resort sale signs ready to go. >> if numbers aren't where they're supposed to be, you really need to be able to turn on a dime. >> reporter: many shoppers are still spooked by the recession. >> money-wise, you spend a little less this year. >> reporter: did you guys budget any differently this year because of the economy? >> yeah. >> um, yeah. way. >> actually cut off a lot oaf people. >> yeah.
>> it's mostly just kids for christmas. >> reporter: but the right deals, they could be in a more giving mood. >> we hope so. >> reporter: your brother might get back on the list. >> my mom. she might get on it. >> yeah. >> reporter: retail analysts we spoke to say that customers may be taking a risk if they're waiting for the really deep discounts on popular items like the 70%s. 50% is more the norm, as we head toward the christmas holiday, kate. but there's always the after-christmas sales to wait for, too. >> right. this is good news for procrastinators, like me. stephanie, thank you. it sounds like the plot of a primetime drama now. a police cold case squad reopens a 41-year-old missing child investigation, and finds a new lead. only, it's a story that's very real. it's going on in washington state right now. and abc's neal karlinsky has that story. >> reporter: the date was may 3rd, 1968. >> this third day of searching began shortly after dawn this
morning. >> reporter: and a massive search was underway, east of seattle, for a missing, little boy. an 8-year-old by the name of david adams. >> you two guys play much in the woods? >> not very much. there's usually a place where there's more houses. >> reporter: his brother was at a loss. his mother was frantic. >> i feel someone has taken him out of this area. i don't know whether he's still alive. >> reporter: 41 years later, ann adams is still waiting for an answer. her son, frozen in time, as a little boy on a missing poster. >> whatever's happened to david, he's all right. we have a great deal of comfort in that. but there will always be an empty place in our family. >> reporter: cold case detective scott tompkins thinks he might finally have the answer. he says police back then never followed up on tips about a neighbor. so, tompkins did. he subpoenaed phone records and interviewed a person of interest he believes may have murdered adams. >> there's evidence in our
investigation, that our person of interest is trying to steer potential witnesses away from the police. >> reporter: it's critical because police may need a tip from someone their person of interest may have spoken to. dna might not do it. adam's body was never found. >> somebody, if they were involved, has carried a heavy burden for a long, long time. and if they could resolve that, that would be a great relief. >> reporter: 41 years later, the search for david adams is on again. this time,y th close. and may finally have his killer in their sights. for "good morning america," neal karlinsky, abc news, issaquaw, washington. >> just feel for the parents. >> absolutely. we'll be right back. coming up on "good morning america," spin to win. how the traditional hanukkah game of dreidel is being turned into a modern, extreme sport. and the christmas comedy
classic, "grandma got run over by a reindeer," turns 30. we'll get the back story on one of the catchiest tunes. and have a special, live performance. pretty awesome. i used to have one of these. there's a new one. "for lucy, to get her started. love, grandma." look lucy, this one's for you. ( gasps ) hallmark keepsake ornaments. at your hallmark gold crown store. one of many ways to find meaning inside. and i was so tender o the touch-- but i didn't know why. my doctor diagnosed it a fibromyalgia. and then he ecommended lyrica... fibromyalgia is thought .to be the result of over-active nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is .fda-approved to help relieve the unique pain of fibromyalgia. so now, i'm learning what a day islike with less pain. lyrica is not for veryone. tell your doctor about any serious allergic reaction
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began last night in our household, our "breakfast buzz" is about a hanukkah tradition that's kind of fallen out of favor, believe it or not. but i met some people -- that's not annoying at all. but i met some people who are trying to bring it back with a vengeance. for centuries, the dreidel has been a symbol of hanukkah. and for centuries, the truth about dreidel has remained a closely-guarded secret. until now. >> regular dreidel is a pretty boring game. >> reporter: traditional hanukkah dreidel is a gambling game. players wager gold canes called the gelt that is distributed by the hebrew letter that the dreidel lands on. jenny roberts was so fed up with the lameness of dreidel, she decided to give it to a new twist. >> no-holds texas dreidel combines traditional dreidel with texas poker. the objective is to create your
best hand of five dreidel spins. >> reporter: eric pavony was also frustrated with dreidel's bore factor. >> the dreidel in modern times has been reduced to more of a decoration. of course, my mom, she decorated the table with dreidels. i'm sitting there. it's late. i look at the dreidel. it looks at me. and he goes, spin me. >> reporter: and so, major league dreidel was born. a no-holds-barred faceoff of pure spinning power. so, we're talking about how long can you spin that dreidel? >> time of spin, t.o.s. >> reporter: this year's dreidel championship will feature spinners from as far away as hawaii. >> you have guys like jimmy gymle. >> reporter: jimmy gymle? >> spin-credible hulk. it's not just jews. that's the beautiful thing about this. it's not like dunking a basketball. anybody can do this. that's pretty good for a rookie. stay away from that spin zone wall.
that's a kiss. you don't want a kiss. that's the wobbles right there. 9.26. you beat it. no gelt, no glory. >> reporter: i got my gelt. here we go. one, two, three. >> we'll be back to tell you who won. we really do agree ♪ tv, high def tv, ♪ guys just want a nice big screen ♪ ♪ to stare at frozenly [ ding ] ok. ♪ when he sees this thing ♪ we have to warn you now ♪ it looks just so awesome ♪ he's gonna have a cow moo. [ male announcer ] a 46" tv with 120 hertz. delivered right to your home. the best gifts come from best buy. delivered right to your home. sharing, it's what kids do. but every year an average of four million kids get the flu and miss out on sharing. that's why we created goodtoshare.com. here you'll learn about preventing influenza and discover your latest vaccination options. join us at goodtoshare.com.
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♪ oh, i love it. what better way to get into the holiday spirit than a little slice of that most festive of shows, "the nutcracker." did you know there are 150 different costumes that appear on stage in every performance of "the nutcracker"? >> is that right? >> 150. we went behind the scenes at lincoln center with some of the youngest members of "the nutcracker" in new york city, to see all that goes into making that show a hit. good morning, america. i'm kate snow. >> i'm bill weir. it's saturday, december 12th. and did you know, tchaikovsky also wrote "grandma got run over by a reindeer."
which you can enjoy with in beautiful -- it's going off the table, people. it's 30 years old. actually, tchaikovsky had nothing to do with the song. but we're going to meet the man who had a lot to do with it. he sang it. we're going to get the backstory on that little diddy. >> it started as a joke. go figure. and how can you be sure that your doctor is up-to-date with the latest medical information? this woman's doctor failed to diagnose an easily treatable disease. prescribed multiple medications that could he made things worse. we have important questions you need to ask to make sure your doctor is up-to-date. first, ron claiborne has the headlines. ron? >> good morning, everyone. in the news, the obama's administration pay czar, is limiting cash compensation for companies that got the largest taxpayer bailouts. executives at general motors, aig, citigroup, cannot make over $500,000 a in cash a year. casey anthony broke down in tears as prosecutors suggested that she drugged and suffocated
her 2-year-old daughter. the defense says she should not face the death penalty. and jenny sanford has filed for divorce from south carolina governor, mark sanford. in june, he revealed his affair with a woman in argentina. and just in time for the holidays, a giant santa is being carved out of cheese. massive blocks of wisconsin cheddar cheese are being used to make the 5 1/2-foot-tall cheese santa. that's a quick look at the headlines. over to marysol with the weather. >> thanks, ron. we turn our focus to the southeast. the scenes of a lot of rain. new orleans, mobile, savannah, tallahassee, you could see anywhere from an inch of rain up to three inches of rain. to the northeast, it's chilly. but it's seasonal. temperature in new york, 41. washington, d.c., 44. this is actually above average, despite the fact it feels cold when we walk outside. the snow we
thanks so much. this weather report has been brought to you by kellogg's rice krispies. kate? >> okay, marysol. so, how do you know your doctor is treating you based on the latest medical advances? do they have the newest scientific research? the latest research, studies, philosophies? in our series, "doctors' orders" john mckenzie is here to shed a little light on the state-of-the-art care and how you know you're getting it. >> reporter: the practice of medicine. it's constantly changing. and constantly evolving. the question is, is your doctor keeping up to date? within minutes of eating almost
any meal, diana bencaquen had severe stomach pain. so, her doctor prescribed medications. one, then adding another. then, mixing in a third. but nothing worked. >> i said this, is ridiculous. i still had the original problem. but now, i had other things to deal with. now, i had more than one. >> reporter: it was only after diana switched doctors, that she finally found out the problem. her body could not tolerate gluten. just avoid certain foods and the problem was solved. >> when diana came to see me, her doctor was not listening to her symptoms and doing the necessary tests needed. >> reporter: it's happening all-too often. doctors failing to follow what's called evidence-based medicine. >> every doctor needs to practice evidence-based medicine for a specific problem or condition. practicing evidence-based medicine means using what is
known to work. >> reporter: one study found patients get only 55% of the recommended care for the leading causes of death and disability. children get just 47% of recommended care. the problem, many doctors use treatments based on word-of-mouth from their colleagues. or research that's now out of date. >> we do have physicians who continue to practice medicine based on how they were trained. and they're not incorporating the new knowledge that we have into their practice. >> reporter: so, how can a patient know whether a doctor is practicing up-to-date medicine. for starters, you can ask, is your doctor board-certified, which means passing a rigorous test in the physician's specialty. then, getting periodically retested. or learning something as basic as where did your doctor go to medical school? >> the leading medical schools teach doctors about the importance of evidence-based medicine. they also emphasize the importance of keeping up with evidence-base, in the long run. >> reporter: and patients should
never be afraid to ask, exactly what is the evidence and rationale for this treatment or test? leading physicians say being an up-to-date doctor is not a function of age. but of attitude. >> it's really about being receptive, taking the time. and then, looking at how do i practice medicine? and how can i do that better? how can i improve the quality of the care that i deliver? >> reporter: getting more doctors to practice better medicine. so, more patients can enjoy better health. well, you cannot guarantee you're getting up-to-date medicine. by asking your doctor simple questions, you can at least improve your odds. kate? >> that's the key, right? not being intimidated. >> reporter: you deserve to know this information. you deserve it and you should ask. >> john, thank you so much. we'll be right back. coming up on "good morning america," if visions of sugarplums are dancing in your head, you don't want to miss our behind-the-scenes look at this christmas classic. and watch out, grandma.
the real story behind one of the most popular, enduring and offbeat christmas songs out there. hint, it involves grandmasd what are you going to make? you should make a gift for papa. i'm going to put it right here. that's for daddy. mine is done now! look it! look it! look it! whoa, whoa, whoa! this... can i have another one? yes! is what memories are made of. rice krispies®. childhood is calling. ♪
suite" debuted in st. petersburg, russia, and was soundly panned. tchaikovsky died without knowing that his ballet would become one of the most-beloved holiday traditions in the western world. here in new york, it has been running for 55 years. and our juju chang got an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour, from two of the ballet's biggest little stars. >> reporter: the most glittering ballet at new york city's lincoln center this holiday season, revolves around two of its youngest, brightest stars. 10-year-old callie reef and 12-year-old lance chantillys works. lance and callie are students at the school of american ballet. practicing poise up until the final hour before the show. in "the nutcracker," callie plays marie, the princess. and lance is the prince. now, they act as our tour guides. >> welcome to the new york city ballet.
>> it's a behind-the-scenes look at "the nutcracker." >> reporter: what's here? on our first stop, we saw adam hendrickson, practicing with his hoop. on stage, he plays the lead sugar cane. now, backstage, he let us have a little fun with his hoop. of course, i let the kids go first. now, my turn. do you have a bigger hoop? how does this work? >> that is the biggest one. >> reporter: i'm ready for showtime. next, the kids lead me down long and narrow hallways to find the sugarplum fairy, played by maria karoski. >> maria? it's callie. >> reporter: the sugarplum fairy is the most coveted character by young girls. >> i want to be the sugarplum fairy. >> well, soon you will. just a few more years. >> reporter: like callie, you grew up of being the sugarplum fairy one day. >> yep. and i'm sure you'll get to be the sugarplum fairy, as well.
>> reporter: with less than 30 minutes to go before the show, it's time for the tour guides to get dolled up. here, every girl does their own makeup. and they all look like pros. but the hair? well, that's tricky. parents get involved. including the dads. the boys, including the prince, on the other hand, need no hair-do or makeup. they just have to slip on their costume. that's it. they still have plenty of time to text a friend or play a game before showtime. and the girls, too, get down for a game of jacks before they go on. the costuming is a huge part of "the nutcracker." >> can we have maria and the party girls get their costumes on? >> reporter: all the girls, including callie, get dressed just 15 minutes before they go on. it's the costume that defines the character. from sugar canes, to party girls. and the mouse. >> here is the big, fat mouse. >> reporter: hi. i'm juju.
>> hi. >> reporter: nice to meet you, big, fat mouse. each character has a classic dance. jump. twirl. and glide. wow. are you on skates? and here's their favorite part of the entire show, the battle scene. >> i love when i get to throw my shoe at the mouse. because i like when i get him. >> when you're fighting the mouse king, it's a lot of fun. sometimes i'll get a nice, good stab. >> reporter: so, you like to stab the mouse. and you like to hit him with the shoe. you two are a violent couple. finally, five minutes before showtime. >> we need lance and callie to come to the stage. >> reporter: my backstage tour guides are making their way to center stage. they show no signs of nervousness. it's a show they know well and love. >> it's all the magic. it's like you're being transported into a fairy tale. >> i always dream about "the nutcracker." when lance puts the crown on my head, because that's a really
beautiful moment. >> reporter: and what can be more magical in the end, than watching the prince and princess fly off in a sleigh, to another winter wonderland? >> what an amazing experience for those little actors. >> yeah. my daughter, i'm taking her to see that actual performance of "the nutcracker" in a couple weeks. and every morning she asks me, is today the day we get to go? she's so excited. >> soon, abbie. soon. coming up on "gma," "grandma got run over by a reindeer." a little different sort of christmas tradition. yeah. we'll be back to find out the story behind the song. sharing, it's what kids do. but every year an average kids get the flu and miss out on sharing. that's why we created goodtoshare.com. here you'll learn about preventing influenza and discover your latest vaccination options.
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little christmas music for you. traditional christmas jingle. there are hundreds, thousands of songs, right? but there are a few, that when you hear them, they get stuck in your head for the entire day. and john berman is here to tell us more about the classic christmas song. "grandma got run over by a reindeer." >> she sure did. first of all, kate, happy hanukkah. if you live in a complicated house like i do, you hear a lot of holiday songs. the question is, where do they all come from? well, this unusual song, one of the most popular ever, by the way, seriously. this song has one, amazing story. we all know why christmas is white. and why santa claus come to town. ♪ grandma got run over by a reindeer ♪ >> reporter: but why the heck is grandma doing getting run over by a reindeer?
and why do we keep hearing about it? >> i played a lot of kooky records on the air. i was always looking for something that was offbeat. funny. >> reporter: it's thanks to a san francisco deejay. >> i listened to it. and i thought, oh, yeah. i just thought it was hilarious. >> reporter: a part-time veterinarian with a good voice. >> first time i ever heard myself on the radio. >> reporter: and a novelty song writer, with an inebriated relative. >> and my grandmother did like to drink herself happy on occasions. and we did worry about her leaving the house. >> reporter: in 1979, dr. elmo shropshire, heard it, recorded a version, and thought little of it. until gene nelson played it for what he thought would be the only time. >> happy holidays to you. listeners kept saying, play that song again. >> reporter: it went gold. platinum. a cartoon. and controversy. >> some people loved it.
and some people hated it. >> reporter: there were calls to pull it off the airwaves. calling the song ageist, sexist, and counter to the christmas spirit. grandma did have incriminating claus marks on her back. >> i think there are people, maybe too many people, that take life too seriously. it wasn't, let's pull the plug on grandma. >> reporter: but 30 years later, to their surprise, no one is pulling the plug on them. >> people are beginning to say that this song is one of the great classics. >> and we are joined, now, by the one and only dr. elmo. good morning. >> good morning, kate. >> it was kind of a joke when you wrote it, right? 30 years ago. >> it was. i thought it would be funny for one year. and then, that would be the end of it. >> here we are, 30 years later. we were looking -- i don't mean to insult you. but people name it as one of the songs that annoys them sometimes, as one of their least favorites because they hear it over and over and over. >> i know. i have the -- i'm proud to say
it's been listed in many of the ten worst christmas songs. and i'm number one. >> and you're proud of that. let's hear it. thank you, dr. elmo. ♪ grandma got run over by a reindeer ♪ ♪ walkin' home from our house christmas eve ♪ ♪ you can say there's no such thing as santa ♪ ♪ but as for me and grandpa, we believe ♪ ♪ now, we're all so proud of grandpa ♪ ♪ he's been taking this so well ♪ ♪ see him in there watching football ♪ ♪ drinking beer and playing cards with cousin mel ♪ ♪ it's not christmas without grandma ♪ ♪ all the family's dressed in black ♪ ♪ and we just can't help but wonder ♪ ♪ should we open up her gifts or send them back ♪ ♪ send them back! ♪ grandma got run over by a reindeer ♪ ♪ walking home from our house christmas eve ♪ ♪ you can say there's no such
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and before we go, we want to give a big thank you to laguardia high school show choir. and their director, carl johnson, backing up dr. elmo this morning. there's another song that you might not know. it will be on our website. it's called "going on a date with santa claus." (announcer) time brings new wisdom
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