These days there are still Christmas specials on TV and many of them remain as classics. Those include the Rankin/Bass specials like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, The Year Without A Santa Claus, and many others from them. Even others such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. However there are many other holiday specials that are never shown on TV anymore but some are still. These specials in this note are basically my personal favorites.
The Small One
This is the only theatrically released short in this note. This came out in theaters on December 16, 1978, and was one of the very last projects done by Don Bluth when he was working with Disney. Set in Nazareth, a boy named "boy" (voiced by Sean Marshall from Pete's Dragon) and his father take care of four donkeys. One of the donkeys the boy takes care of the most is an old and weak donkey called Small One. Knowing that Small One can't do anything anymore, the father decides to sell him but the boy, who didn't want him to go, decides to sell Small One himself. The next day, the boy takes Small One to town in hopes that someone will buy him but no one will, except a tanner who wanted Small One for his skin. As night falls, the boy has failed to sell Small One. But as luck will have it, a man decides to buy Small One because he needs a donkey to help carry his wife to Bethlehem. Yes friends that man was Joseph and his wife was Mary. Turns out that Small One is the donkey who carried Mary to Bethlehem. A pretty good cartoon that turned out to be one of Don Bluth's last Disney projects.
A Family Circus Christmas
Bill Keane's popular comic strip family have their own TV special, which is basically their first ever. It's days before Christmas and right after little Jeffey's visions of seeing Santa Claus (because Mommy warned him that Santa's watching him), the family begins decorating their Christmas Tree, but the only thing that's missing is their star. The star means a lot to Daddy (who's real name is Bill) because it belonged to his father (granddad) who loved Christmas a lot. Even though Jeffey was told that his granddad is in Heaven, his Christmas wish is that granddad would come down from Heaven to visit. It's the night before Christmas and the tree still doesn't have the star. Jeffey is awaken by Santa who takes him to the living room where granddad is. He helps Jeffey by taking him to the closet where the star was kept the whole time. The rest of the family is awaken by the noise Jeffey made while trying to climb to the top of the closet, and the tree is all finished with granddad's star. In the end, it's Christmas morning, Jeffey got a fire engine, Dolly got a ferris wheel, and Billy got a watch that baby PJ sneezed on.
Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas
Dr. Claw has taken over Santa's workshop by locking Santa away and controlling the elves with a device in their hats. Inspector Gadget is given the assignment to find Santa before Dr. Claw ruins Christmas. The problem is, Gadget thinks that Dr. Claw is the "real" Santa and thinks that the other Santa, the real Santa, is an a fake. It's all up to Gadget's niece Penny and their dog Brain to set things right. But in the end, Gadget finally sets things right, stops Dr. Claw, and everything is back to normal.
Casper's First Christmas
Yogi and his gang are traveling during Christmas, and at the same time... Casper the Friendly Ghost wants to celebrate Christmas and rights a letter to Santa. His friend Hairy Scary however doesn't like the idea of Casper being friendly and won't scare people and even doesn't like the fact that Casper wants to celebrate Christmas. While going out for a scare (obviously), Yogi and his gang make their way to Casper's house and decide to stay there for Christmas and decide to fix the place up. Arriving back, Casper and Hairy Scary discover that there's people inside. Casper decides to make Yogi and the others feel right at home while Hairy Scary would rather scare them out of the house. But after reading Casper's letter that was written for Santa, and finds that Casper thinks of Hairy as a good friend, Hairy changes and celebrates Christmas with the others. Santa finally arrives and gives everyone a present... even Hairy Scary. In the end, Hairy says "Merry Christmas" but in a way that scares Santa's reindeer as they take off.
Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper
Most of Yogi's friends are on their way to Jellystone Park to visit Yogi and Boo Boo. Ranger Smith however tries to convince them that Yogi and Boo Boo are hibernating for the winter but reluctantly decides to give Yogi a call. Picking up Yogi's answering machine, he finds out that he and Boo Boo are going to the big city. An angry Ranger Smith decides to call animal control which leads Yogi's friends to find him before he gets into trouble. Arriving at the big city, Yogi and Boo Boo hide out in a department store when animal control is after them. They disguise themselves as Santa and an elf in hopes of not getting caught. Later, a little girl named Judy is dropped off at the department store by her busy father who can't spend time with her. When Judy mistakes Yogi for Santa, she runs off with him and Boo Boo, and her father then reports her as a missing child. When the gang finally catches up with Yogi and Boo Boo, an upset Judy refuses to go home. So Yogi and his gang try to convince her by bringing back her Christmas spirit. When Judy is finally convinced, the cops show up and arrest Yogi for kidnapping. But Judy's father then lets him go because he realized that this was all because he had no time for Judy. Ranger Smith and Yogi then settle everything and everybody has a Merry Christmas.
Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special
Pee-wee Herman gets his own Christmas special featuring a cast of special guest stars going from Frankie and Annette, Charo, Magic Johnson, the late Dinah Shore, and others. Pee-wee works on his Christmas list, which is a very long list, but forgets about getting decorations for the playhouse and Jambi helps him. At the same time, Pee-wee is getting fruitcake from his friends, makes Frankie and Annette work on 500 Christmas cards, learns Hanukkah from Mrs. Renee, breaks the pinata with Charo singing Feliz Navidad, and Randy learns the true meaning of Christmas. But in the end, Santa arrives to the playhouse but tells Pee-wee that he has no other presents for the children of the world because his Christmas list was so big. And not only that, Santa wants all of Pee-wee's presents. Pee-wee reluctantly agrees because he remembered saying "Christmas is the time we should be thinking of what we could do for others." But Santa also wants Pee-wee's help in delivering the presents and Pee-wee happily agrees. While the credits roll, Pee-wee is flying in Santa's sleigh, and Dinah Shore is singing the finishing touches of The 12 Days of Christmas on the picture phone unaware that she was singing to a fake Pee-wee he used to get away from her very long song.
And finally, my favorite Christmas special of all-time.
The Simpson's Christmas Special (Simpson's Roasting On An Open Fire)
Not only is this 20-year-old classic my favorite Christmas episode of The Simpsons, but this is also the very first episode. It begins with Homer and Marge going to Bart and Lisa's Christmas pageant at Springfield Elementary School. The next day, Homer and the other workers at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant do not get their Christmas bonuses as they hoped. And while Christmas shopping, Bart is getting a tattoo but doesn't get it finished when Marge catches him. The price to have the tattoo surgically removed (Ow! Quit it!) costs them their entire Christmas savings. But Marge is convinced that things will get better with Homer's Christmas bonus. But Homer never tells them and he has to find a way to make money. He first tries becoming a Mall Santa, but it doesn't work when Bart pulls his Santa beard off. Bart promises not to tell the family about not getting the Christmas bonus and he helps Homer in making money. Their next try was the dog track and they place their bet on a scrawny dog called Santa's Little Helper (who would later become their pet). When Santa's Little Helper loses the race, he is thrown out. Homer and Bart decide to take him home and it made everyone happy. Homer tells the truth about not getting his Christmas bonus, but it didn't matter anymore and they have a wonderful Christmas and they finish off by singing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Now I know that there are a lot of Christmas specials out there. Going from A Garfield Christmas, Will Vinton's A Claymation Christmas Celebration, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Christmas Comes To Pacland, the various Flintstone Christmas specials, and many more. They're all classics, but I guess they will get their chances next year. And that concludes my article on the Christmas TV specials, and I wish everybody on Retro Junk a Merry Christmas.