I have returned once again; just so you all know, I graduated from college last Wednesday with a degree in History, that's a day I hope to never forget. So now, it has come and gone and it doesn't look like I will be perusing another degree any time soon, but I know that I worked really hard to get this one.
Me at Graduation. Sorry about the poor quality.
As you all know, Christmas is upon us. There was a time that Christmas was my favorite holiday, the music, decorations, family, and of course, the gifts; the gifts are the only thing that I have a problem with, being that now I'm 30 and a lot of shopping to do for relatives, which can be very hard on a budget, but I don't wanna think that. Christmas, for me, has been a good time of year, and the only thing I like about Christmas were the animated specials that aired more frequently. Some of these shows aired aired during the 60s or 70s, long before I was born, I remember that I had a beta tape of the shows that my mother recorded around maybe 1984 or 1985; I had my beta player up till 1993 when it started to run down, sadly, everything that I owned on beta was gone. Anyway, here's a list of my favorite animated Christmas shows that I had on that tape, I also like to add that there were great 80s commercials, both normal and Christmas that we never paused. These were probably in the order that I remember and I'll try not to do a full description as I do with my previous articles.
RUDOLPH THE REDNOSED REINDEER
I think that this was the first show that was on my beta, not being my all time favorite, it's still one of those shows that gave me the love of Christmas and I got to love the song, but the animation was pretty much funky, well being that this aired in 1964, I have not seen this one in awhile, but I will try and remember whatever is possible. The animation was like that. Narrated by Sam the snowman, he tells the tale of how Rudolph, who was born with a shiny red nose and the other reindeer laughed and call him names, and forbidding him to be one of Santa's reindeer. He meets up with a misfit elf named Hermey, who is dissatisfied with making toys and decides to pursue a career of being a dentist, his supervisor doesn't find that amusing and angrily wants Hermey to be in his place, so he decides to run away. When they both bump into each other, they go on a quest to seek fame and fortune, however, they are followed by the abominable snowman, who hates Christmas. That snowman scared the living daylights out of me when I was young and I think it still does to this day. They meet another character named Yukon Cornelius that joins them on their journey. He use to always make me laugh from time to time, I think he was character in the show. They happen to land on an island of misfit toys, these are toys that have somewhat disabilities and don't appear normal and no girl or boy would want them; led by King Moonracer, he finds these toys and brings them to his island where they all feel the same. Rudolph decides to separate from his friends to go the rest of his journey on his own. I don't remember much after what happened after that, but I think Rudolph grows up and has another encounter with the abominable snowman, after that, now I remember that Rudolph does meet back with his friends and Yukon fights the abominable and they both go off a cliff. On Christmas Eve, Santa gets the bad news that the sky is to foggy and he won't be able to deliver Christmas gifts, but when he looks at the bright light coming from Rudolph's nose, he asks Rudolph to guide his sleigh tonight and Rudolph responds, "It will be an honor, sir". Yukon and the abominable snowman have both survived the fall and the abominable snowman has a change of heart about Christmas. Rudolph leads the reindeer all the way, and stops along the way at the island of misfit toys and pick up all the toys. Thanks to Rudolph helping Santa with his bright and shiny nose, he went into history. Mostly, the music was the best thing that came from all this, but it's still a good show to watch over the holidays. Up till I was 10, my family would always get together and watch this.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
What Christmas special would not complete without good Ol' Charlie Brown and Snoopy? Not only is this one of my favorite Charlie Brown specials, it's also my favorite Christmas special as well. It's Christmas time with the peanuts gang, Charlie Brown, as we all know, is miserable, the whole gang head over to a pond and Ice skate, Snoopy leads all the kids hand in hand and then let's them go and they all fling into the air, he then tries to get at Linus' blanket, he also snags Charlie Brown in and starts to fling them both around; that part always cracks me up. Charlie Brown thinks that commercialism has affected his Christmas spirit and has given him the cold shoulder on Christmas, when he visits Lucy in her psychiatric booth, she thinks that the best way for him to avoid this depression is to direct the school play; Charlie Brown agrees to this, but unfortunately for him, he can't get everything under control, the main problem is the music part that they can't seem to get right; the best thing I like is when they all dance, I remember that I had danced to that music before. Another problem is that Lucy, although faithful to Charlie Brown's leadership is actually taking control of everything, Lucy suggests that Charlie Brown get a Christmas tree for the school play.
He and Linus set out to tree lot, they find a frail little tree that Charlie Brown think will be perfect for the play but Linus knows that Lucy will be upset over this, but Charlie Brown takes the tree anyway. When they return, the kids are all upset at Charlie Brown and then laugh at him for choosing this tree. Upset, he wants if there's anyone who knows what Christmas is about; in one of the most memorable moments of the show, Linus approaches the center stage and quotes from the bible, the second chapter of the gospel of Luke, verses 8 through 14:"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
In Sunday school, we would all hear that passage so many times; I think that it became my favorite passage after watching this.
Charlie Brown then takes the little tree and decides to decorate it to make it look better. He stops by Snoopy's doghouse which is all decorated up and is surprised to find out it won 1st prize in a decorating contest. Charlie Brown takes one of the ornaments puts it on the tree, the branch bends but does not break and he thinks he broke it, he then leaves in despair; the other kids see the bent tree and Linus suggests that all the tree needs is a little love, they take all of the decorations off Snoopy's house and put it on the tree, making it very decorative. The children start to hum "hark the heralds". Charlie Brown comes back and is surprised to see the tree is more decorative. They all wish him a Merry Christmas and break out in Chorus. Being that it's my favorite Christmas show, I still watch it as much as I can to this day.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Out of all the Christmas specials, this tops it all for me. When I was little, I read Dr. Seuss books a lot and I never knew anything about this one when I saw it for the first time. Dr. Seuss did it all when it came to children's literature and he was perfect when it came to rhymes. The whos down in Whoville are getting ready for Christmas, they are all in perfect spirits and joyous moods, but the Grinch, who lives north of Whoville, has no love for Christmas, due to the fact that his heart is two sizes too small. He then thinks about what will happen on Christmas morning when all the who children will get up early and play with their toys and the noise that will aggravate the Grinch so much, and the feast they will have, and then they will join hand in hand and sing around the town Christmas tree which will upset him the most. The Grinch decides to ruin their happiness by stealing Christmas; he thinks the best way to do that is to disguise himself as Santa Clause, and turn his dog, Max into a reindeer, then ride into Whoville and steal all Christmas possessions. He rides into Whoville on a sleigh while all the whos are still sleeping and starts taking their possessions. One of the who children wake up and sees him stealing their Christmas tree, she wants to know why he's taking it, and the Grinch, being the excellent liar tells her that there's a light that won't shine and that he'll fix it and bring it back, she seems to understand him and sends her back to bed. After he has finished taking all the Christmas possessions, he rides up to Mt. Crumpet, as morning approaches, he waits to hear the cries from the whos, but instead the whos wake up and start to sing, the Grinch realizes that the whos still celebrate Christmas not without packages, boxes or bags, but from the heart, the sleigh starts to inch toward the ravine and then the Grinch's small heart grows three times it's normal size, and the true spirit of Christmas comes through and now has the strength of 10 Grinches, plus 2, and lifts the sleigh with all his might. He rides back into Whoville and returns all the whos' possessions and is invited to the Who's feast, where he carves the roast beast. This without a doubt is my favorite Christmas show ever, I even got a better understanding about it on how it came to life and the people that made it; one thing I like is the theme song called, "you're a mean one, Mr. Grinch." The lyrics were too gruesome and it became one of my favorite songs growing up.
Another thing I like is the Grinch's devilish grin. I admit that I was a bit terrified by it, but overtime, it sort of made me laugh. Whenever I think of Christmas, I think of the Grinch. I saw the live action version movie where Jim Carrey plays the Grinch and I think he did a great job, but I still feel that the whole movie is a flaw.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
This became another one of my Christmas favorites, after watching this version of Frosty the snowman; I think I got to understand it a little better. The story takes place in a friendly town, while getting ready for the holidays, a man with a hat narrates the story of Frosty the Snowman and how he came to life. We begin at the school where their guest is Professor Hinkle, the magician, who is a not so bright magician. After some failed attempts at performing some magic tricks, the bell rings and the children go outside to play; they all build a snowman and decide to name it Frosty. As Hinkle's top hat lands on Frosty's head, he starts to come to life, and the first words he says are, happy birthday. The hat then flies off and goes back to Hinkle. The children demand the hat back, but Hinkle refuses to give it back and their story is nonsense. The hat's rabbit, Hocus, returns the hat back to the children and place it back on Frosty's head; as before, he comes back to life and the children take him through the town, and the town's people are somewhat shocked at his appearance, Frosty fears that he can't stay alive forever knowing that he will melt, so Hocus, and one of the children, Karen decide to accompany him to the north pole. They stow away in a refrigerated box car and ride up to the northpole, Hinkle is following them as well, trying to retrieve is magic hat back, now knowing its special power. Along the way, Karen starts to catch a cold and Frosty fears she won't make it very far. Along the way, they encounter a group of woodland animals decorating a tree and Frosty suggests that Hocus tell them to build Karen a fire. Frosty suggests that they need someone to help them get to the North pole, after Hocus pantomimes numerous American figures like the marines and the President of the United States, he finally knows who can help them and it's Santa, Frosty thinks he came up with the idea himself, that was the most funniest part for me. Hinkle has caught up to them, and they get away due to Frosty acting like a sleigh, when I saw that, I thought I would've done anything to ride Frosty. They stop at a local greenhouse so Karen can get warm, Frosty also steps in, and she fears that he could melt, but just a little bit so that he could lose weight. Hinkle catches up to them and locks them both in the greenhouse. Just then Santa arrives, but as he approaches the green house, Frosty has already melted, Karen is in tears at the loss of Frosty, and I admit so was I when Frosty melted. Santa explains to her that he was made from Christmas snow and that it can never melt completely. After a gust of wind gathers up the puddle, it resurrects Frosty. Hinkle shows up once again to reclaim his hat but Santa tells him that if he takes it, he won't get another present from him ever; so he makes him go home and write numerous apologies, if he does then Santa will leave something in his stocking tomorrow morning. After Hinkle leaves, Santa places the hat on Frosty and he once again says, Happy Birthday, I guess that means he's got more birthdays than anyone else. Santa drops off Karen back at her home and hugs Frosty goodbye, then they both depart to the North Pole.
In the ending credits, it shows the school children, along with the townspeople marching with Frosty down the street leading everyone to the song of Frosty the snowman, and once again takes off promising to return next Christmas. The music was the best part of this and Professor Hinkle was comic relief for the villain. This is one of the Christmas shows I still love to watch every year.
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
This is my last favorite Christmas show, based on the actual poem itself. I think I actually believed in Santa after watching this one. The whole story is narrated by a mouse called father mouse, it tells about how Santa would never come to the town of Junctionville, when an editor posts a letter in the local newspaper about how Santa is not real; all letters to Santa are returned unopened knowing Santa took that letter seriously. Father mouse suddenly realizes that letter was written by his nerd son, Albert. Albert refuses to write back and apologize because the letter was true. Father Mouse then takes Albert through the town and sees how his letter to Santa broke the hearts of all the children. Father Mouse's human friend, Joshua Trundle who is the town clockmaker meets with the town council and decides to build a giant clock when it strikes midnight on Christmas Eve it will play a melody so that Santa will hear it and will come. At the opening ceremony of the clock, it starts to malfunction and break. After that, people have lost all interest in Joshua's ability as a clockmaker, but Joshua decides to rebuild it with a little help from his family. Albert confesses that it he that broke the clock, feeling guilty about what he did, he decides to rebuild it. At the stroke of midnight, Albert is successful and the clock plays the melody and Santa shows up. The poem then picks up where it was left off in the beginning. After he delivers his gifts to the Trundles, he takes into the night. I found it very surprisingly why Santa delivered only toys to the Trundles and not the other children in the town.
As you can see, these shows were great for me to watch at Christmas time. I know that they continue to still run in their original format and I think that's great to still preserve these shows just like that so that future generations will come to love them as we had. Anyway, goodbye for now and...