Well, now, this story intrigued me — first, because I'm a fan of bad 1970s television, and, second, because I like Cannon, the famous Quinn Martin detective show starring William Conrad.* (I know, I know. I'm being redundant.) If Conrad was on TV singing Christmas carols in the '70s, I want to see it. So, I went straight to YouTube where I quickly found the clip Shaffer described from a 41-year-old episode of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour:
All in all, I'd say that Shaffer's description was pretty much spot on. (Conrad saunters at about 1:10 to sing "The First Noel," and Cher, her hands in the famous muff, begins singing "Oh Holy Night" at around 2:50.) I'd never heard Shaffer's rendition before, and even if his telling of it is a genuine holiday tradition, it doesn't hold a candle to Thomas's and Love's longstanding regular appearances. In case you missed them, here are Jay Thomas and Darlene Love on last night's Late Show with David Letterman:
How did Thomas feel about ending his traditional pre-Christmas appearances? "I am so friggin' glad this is over," he deadpanned. Not me.
*Brave adult readers who are interested in a different perspective on William Conrad than what we saw on Cannon can listen to his X-rated rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" HERE.