K-Mart had just opened in La Crosse, a few months before Christmas of 1965. The big box store at Losey Boulevard and State Road had ‘giftarama’ discounts, advertising the new Beatles album ‘Rubber Soul’ and closeouts on toys related to the ‘Man from UNCLE’ TV show. Bell Discount on the Causeway had a ‘fantabulous’ outerwear sale.
The AM radio stations in La Crosse all featured special programs for Christmas weekend. Besides the holiday programs, WKBH aired the AFL championship game, where the Buffalo Bills shut out San Diego. The Packers won the NFL championship that holiday season, in a title game over the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field. It was the last pro football season in America without a Super Bowl. The big game between the competing leagues made its debut at the end of the ’66 season.
On Christmas night of ’65, the cast of ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ escaped from Stalag 13 and ended up on ABC’s ‘Hollywood Palace,’ hosted that week by Bing Crosby, the producer of ‘Hogan’s Heroes.’ A highlight of the variety show was a performance of ‘Silent Night’ in the original German, sung by Werner Klemperer and John Banner, alias Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz.