While the first Rankin/Bass Easter special can easily be hailed as a surrealistic fever dream whose avalanche of eye-popping moments (Peter Cottontail dressed up as turkey, a spider flying in a rocket, a group of caterpillars wearing body paint that resembles the American flag), if they don’t exactly captivate a surely confused audience, at least give you reason to stay awake through the narcoleptic songs that litter Here Comes Peter Cottontail like so many unwelcome rabbit pellets, it is the introduction to constitutional law it gives children that really provides viewing value for do-gooder parents who demand cartoons be educational instead of fun. Continue reading “Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)”
The story of Easter can’t help but move you to your very soul! The love, the sacrifice, the moment of doubt and ultimately the resurrection that allows the message of hope to be spread to everyone for ever after! And though we inevitably come up wanting in trying to follow his example, his love for us never wanes! So I praise you Stuffy, the first Easter Rabbit! Continue reading “The First Easter Rabbit (1976)”
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)”
They destroyed his home! They burned his parents alive! Even almost all the farm animals were also killed! Now Aaron, accompanied only by his most trusted friends, a camel, donkey and sheep (hey they were the only survivors of the big farm fire!) with the only connection to his past life being the prized drum given to him by his parents, wanders the desert pounding the skins while his barnyard bros dance, having forsaken humanity forever! Continue reading “The Little Drummer Boy (1968)”
In ancient times it never paid to get down too much when misfortune hit you. Sure, it might seem like God is taking a divine dump on you if you’re an orphaned shepherd boy who gets hit by lightning and catches a case of the blindness. But if you were patient and didn’t rage too much at the unfairness of it all, usually God would show back up later with a curative dose of miracle, especially at Christmas, as if to say, “see how freaking awesome Christmas is!” Continue reading “The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow (1975)”
If you wonder how a Christmas cartoon about a donkey giving the Virgin Mary a ride to Bethlehem could have ever been shown on network TV, you have to recall what the TV landscape was like in 1977.
Most people only the three networks and PBS, no cable TV and no home video. When a Christmas special came on (if you remember the spinning CBS Special logo and its music, you know what I’m talking about), you were damn glad to be finally getting a break from your parents’ idiotic programs like Carter Country or The Shields and Yarnell Show. Even if it was about some farm animal you never heard of saving a religious Christmas instead of the normal North Pole Christmas, you sat and watched in rapt attention despite having no idea what was up with all the talk about a savior and Roman soldiers! Continue reading “Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)”