Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper (1978)

Raggedy Ann & Andy Santa Clause Caper VHS CoverWho knew Raggedy Ann was such a technophobe? Even before she can hear Alexander Graham Wolf explain what the purpose of his Gloopstik was, she was catching the vapors over the very notion that a large red machine simply existed! It sure made you wonder at Comet’s wisdom in selecting her to be part of the special ops team tasked with degrading and destroying Wolf’s command and control in the North Pole!

That’s right soldier! Once again the forces of darkness are threatening one of the central institutions of our Western Civilization! Freaking Santa Clause is under attack and by extension, everything he stands for – namely getting a lot cool stuff on Christmas morning! And only one reindeer has any knowledge of the pending toy terror plot!

Comet knows she and a whole platoon of similar brothers and sisters are just cruddy old magic reindeer who can only fly and have the strength to haul thousands of pounds. So what can they do about Wolf? Nothing (everyone but Comet is napping before the Christmas Eve flight) and Comet knows it’s up to her to bring in some deep cover guys who won’t mind doing a job that no one can ever know of!

There’s only two requirements: they have to be light enough for Comet to carry and they can’t puss out and freeze during the flight to the North Pole. And if you’ve ever done off-the-books work for one of the Company’s dirty wars, that means only one thing. Rag dolls. And their kick ass rag doll dog!

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I’d never heard of Raggedy Arthur until this mission. Who even knew that rag dolls could have pets? But this little yellow pooch gave all and when he gets run through the Gloopstik, well, that cloth canine might never be the same, but he damn sure punched his ticket to a Medal of Honor.

But what exactly is a Gloopstik? It’s a gizmo that takes an item and encases said item in a clear, indestructible substance so that the item can’t be damaged. It’s like a WMD for collectors. Who wouldn’t run their 100 polybagged X-Force #1s through it to ensure you could still sell it for a buck on eBay 25 years after its release? Just common sense.

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But the Gloopstik also has a more sinister purpose than slabbing worthless comics for moronic speculators. Wolf is also going to use it to slab toys and make kids pay for their presents. Or something. Like most blowhard terrorists, his motives were not very clear and I was never sure why he thought Santa would just go along with it.

But he isn’t just any old wolf named Wolf. It’s revealed that Alexander Graham Wolf is really the Big Bad Wolf of Little Red Riding Hood infamy. Little explanation is given as to how a quasi sexual predator becomes a technological genius with criminal ambitions, but who cares what kinds of nuts make up this piece of crap, right? Because Raggedy Arthur just got slabbed and Raggedy Andy is being dumped in the machine too! Raggedy Ann puts her plan into action at just the right time to allow Andy to escape. What’s her plan? She ran away in fear! Sometimes a rag doll is just going to be a rag doll.

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Wolf ends up a victim of his own machine while the Raggedy siblings tell Arthur they still love him even if he’s just a dog-in-a-box now. As you no doubt will guess by the acidic taste of the bile rising in your throat, their love for Arthur breaks him out of the Gloopstik box.

Raggedy Ann and Andy: The Great Santa Claus caper has so much NOT going for it. Nothing about the premise makes any sense or is the least bit interesting. Comet needs help and all she can come up with is a couple of rag dolls? Just tell Santa and have the elves and reindeer gang stomp that Wolf into paste.

And was a Christmas show built around Raggedy Ann and Andy a good idea even back in 1978? There’s nothing special about those two. It could have been any two licensed characters. Like Ronald McDonald and Evel Knievel. (How great would that cartoon have been?)

It’s undoubtedly even more painful to watch for modern audiences where interest in the characters has waned so much that the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum and annual festival held in creator Johnny Gruelle’s hometown of Arcola, Illinois had to be shut down. I am now on the lookout for a Raggedy Arthur doll though.

© 2015 MonsterHunter

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