Let’s face it: You’re getting predictable. Everybody on your holiday list knows what they’ll be getting this year: Dad gets that selection of yummy smoked meats from Hickory Farms, and Mom will act surprised when she unwraps another embroidered Tom Jones doily. So why not shake things up a bit this season and give the gift of video? With the zillions of boxed sets and special collector’s editions being rolled out this time of year, there’s bound to be something for everyone. And take our word for it: Dad and his arteries will thank you.
THE BING CROSBY COLLECTOR’S SET (MCA/Universal, unrated, $49.98; $14.98 per cassette) Maybe Der Bingle wasn’t the coziest guy to be around in real life, but the warmth he exudes in the four movies collected here is as comfortable as any Yule log’s. While Here Come the Waves and The Emperor Waltz offer little more to enjoy than Bing himself, the other three have some nice added attractions: We’re Not Dressing features Carole Lombard, Ethel Merman, Burns and Allen, and a very young Ray Milland; Rhythm on the River has Bing ghostwriting songs for, of all people, Basil Rathbone.
WINNIE THE POOH AND CHRISTMAS TOO (Walt Disney, unrated, $14.99) Now that Disney’s got Winnie the Pooh/Tiddely pom, tiddely pom/They’ve put him on video for you/Tiddely pom, tiddely pom. Oh, never mind. A.A. Milne purists (and there are such people) may gnash their teeth at the sight of their favorite bear in a Santa outfit, but kids with no literary puritanism will think the world of this first Winnie the Pooh Christmas video. Many others will do what Dorothy Parker did upon exposure to the supercute honey lover (she said she ”fwowed up”).
THE LITTLE RASCALS (Cabin Fever, unrated, $149.95; $14.95 per cassette) A 12-cassette boxed set with four shorts per tape — more Rascals than you ever thought existed. Unless, of course, you’re critic Leonard Maltin, who hosts the proceedings. They’re not kidding, by the way, when they say ”Unedited and remastered”: The collection even includes ”The Kid From Borneo,” whose slapstick racism has generally kept it off TV. As for the ”remastered” part, these are in fact quite crisp-looking.
GETTYSBURG (Turner, PG, $89.98) This is without a doubt the only video gift item to come with ammunition as part of the package. Yes, this ultradeluxe edition of the painstakingly accurate re-creation of the famous Civil War battle contains ”an authentic Civil War bullet.” There’s also a map, some suitable-for-framing portraits of the battle’s commanders, a CD, a coffee- table book, a ”making of” video, and, lest we forget, the movie itself.
MY FAIR LADY (CBS, G, $79.98) The techies did a terrific spit-and-polish job on this Audrey Hepburn classic, restoring the wide-screen Technicolor print to its full glittering glory. It looks so good you rarely notice that it’s more a filmed play than a real movie. The deluxe collector’s edition includes a ”making of” documentary, six real frames from a 70 mm print (prerestoration, one hopes), a portfolio of Cecil Beaton’s costume designs, and a vial containing Spanish rain gathered from the plain. (Well, not really.)