Hanna-Barbera’s The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t special from 1972 is a painlessly pleasant experience for fans of the company’s other efforts of the era, particularly Scooby Doo, Where Are You!
While there is no mystery to solve or monster to unmask, it feels similar with a wolf stalking a Pilgrim and Native American boy, while a squirrel helps rescue them a couple of times. There’s the chase through the woods we’ve seen a hundred times in various Scooby episodes, there’s the last minute trap the wolf is lured into and there’s even some of the same music used! Continue reading “The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t (1972)”
Rankin/Bass‘s only entry into the Thanksgiving animated special sweepstakes demonstrates why they are known for their Christmas specials and why your turkey day traditions include watching the Macy’s parade, the Cowboys and Lions games and even that show where pinched face judges stare at funny looking dogs’ butts, but definitely won’t include Mouse on the Mayflower. Continue reading “Mouse on the Mayflower (1968)”
We all know that on every Halloween we put jack-o’-lanterns on our porches and window sills to ward off evil spirits intent on ruining the year’s harvest of trick or treat candy. Ask any kid who ended up with a bag full of pencils, toothpaste and loose candy corn and they’ll tell you their mom was too damn lazy to help carve a pumpkin that year. But how did that tradition begin? Like any good joke/holiday tale it all starts when a witch, leprechaun, vampire and angry billy goat walk into a barn. Continue reading “Jack O’Lantern (1972)”
I don’t know how Casper left this mortal coil and became a ghost. The death of a child is always a tragedy and any circumstances that lead to poor Casper the human boy dying are undoubtedly heartbreaking. As a boy, I am sure he was the love of his parent’s life and the passing of such a sweet, gentle soul left them shattered. As a ghost though, Casper is such a simpleton, you wonder if somehow whatever process that allowed to him attain his ethereal form didn’t account for brain damage at the time of his death. Continue reading “Casper’s Halloween Special (1979)”
Perhaps owing to its underlying religious solemnity (and its lame secular holiday hero), Easter doesn’t have as deep of bench of animated specials like Christmas or Halloween. There’s the Peanuts special of course (and wouldn’t most of us just as soon as see the Easter Beagle replace the Easter Bunny?) and a couple of Rankin-Bass efforts, but after that, things get thin enough that the dedicated fan of seasonal shenanigans probably will at some point find herself watching the basket of smelly eggs known as A Family Circus Easter. Continue reading “A Family Circus Easter (1982)”
One character will doubt the one she loves most. Another will continue living the personal hell that comes with a lack of belief in anything positive. Unrequited love, shoe shopping, stolen Easter eggs, designer bird houses and species identity confusion will also play a part in what shapes up to be the busiest holiday of not only any Peanuts special specifically, but of all other specials as well! Continue reading “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! (1974)”
Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown was the feel bad holiday hit of 1975. It endures to this day, not as some fondly recalled seasonal special, but precisely because of it uncompromising examination of loneliness and disappointment through the lens of the one day of the year set aside to amplify all the insecurities so many people have. And also because us popular cool kids can never get enough of that blockhead Charlie Brown bringing a frigging briefcase to school for all the valentines he thinks he’s going to get! Continue reading “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)”