Long Live the Holiday Special

Our Christmas tree has been up since the day after Thanksgiving, but the holiday season didn't officially begin until last night. Why? Because we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, that's why! I think most people will agree, the annual classic holiday specials are an essential part of Christmas, and the season just wouldn't be the same without them. For our new poll, I have picked the five that are the most memorable to me. But just in case I missed your personal favorite, like the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special for instance, then vote "other" and write in your choice in the comments.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Original Air Date: 12.6.64

Memorable Supporting Character: A three way tie between Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius.

Musical Highlight: "We're a Couple of Misfits," sung by kindred spirits Rudolph and Hermey.

Head Elf: You'll never fit in! Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your ears, chuckle warmly, go hee-hee and ho-ho, and important stuff like that. A dentist! Good grief!

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Original Air Date: 12.9.65

Memorable Supporting Character: Linus, for his show stopping recitation of the nativity, straight from the Gospel of Luke.

Musical Highlight:
The unforgettable jazz piano score by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Charlie Brown: Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren't a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Original Air Date: 12.18.66

Memorable Supporting Character: The narrator, voiced by horror legend Boris Karloff.

Musical Highlight: "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," sung by Tony the Tiger, er, I mean Thurl Ravenscroft.

Narrator: He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Frosty the Snowman

Original Air Date: 12.14.69

Memorable Supporting Character: The malevolent yet hapless magician, Professor Hinkle.

Musical Highlight: What else but the title song? It plays for the whole half hour.

Frosty: Happy birthday! Hey, I said my first words. But... But snowmen can't talk. Ha ha ha, come on now, what's the joke? Could I really be alive?

Mickey's Christmas Carol

Original Air Date: 12.16.83

Memorable Supporting Character: Goofy as the ghost of Jacob Marley. Can a ghost be clumsy? I think you know the answer.

Musical Highlight: "Oh What a Merry Christmas Day" heard throughout.

Scrooge: Are you daft, man? You know I can't eat that stuff! Here's your wreath back. Now, out, out, OUT!


Ike said...

We watched Charlie Brown last night too and I could help but think, "why is this a classic?"

The story lines are slow, the characters are dull (especially the self-loathing Charlie Brown), the animation is not great. It's as if they took an overrated comic strip and made some movies out of it - oh wait, that is what they did!

Give me a "Calvin & Hobbes" or a "Far Side" Christmas and I'll be a happy man!

Team Ritz! said...

I love the classic Grinch! What could be more funny than tying a deer antler to Max's head and then forcing him to carry a sled hundreds of times bigger than himself? And what could be more heart-warming than watching the Grinch's heart grow impossibly big when he finally understands the TRUE meaning of Christmas? This movie has it all!

Christie said...

What about Sesame Street Christmas? What about Mr. Kreuger? I had to go with the Grinch.. although I recall looking forward to them all.

Christie said...

Oh, and I was hoping you would include info on when they would all be showing locally..

Krissy said...

While I love them all, I voted for Rudolph. For one thing, I felt bad that he hadn't gotten any votes yet. Plus, Hermey is one of the best characters ever created. I think Rudolph himself is kind of lame, but the others make up for it.

Ben said...

This was a toughie. I like Rudolph because of the jerky animation style, and of course the Abominable snowman. I dislike it because it seems to be trendy to mimic that style in ads lately.

I like A Charlie Brown Christmas, not because I watched it a lot as a kid (I didn't) but because of the "sad walk" song that Arrested Development paid homage to.

The Grinch is a great one because of that classic Chuck Jones animation style, and I have vivid memories of watching this one over and over as a kid.

Frosty, sorry buddy. The story's a bit thin to stretch out that long. And I still cringe a little when I hear "Happy Birthday!"

And finally Mickey. For the longest time, I thought that this was the original version of A Christmas Carol. I had no idea.

So in conclusion, I vote for Mickey. Mostly because of the classic story makes it re-watchable for more reasons than just nostalgia.

Scarlet said...

Ack! I hate the Charlie Borwn Holiday movies. They are always so depressing.

I vote for Roudolph.

robmba said...

The Grinch.

Where else could you possibly use the phrase "greasy black peel" and still appeal to such a wide audience?

Krista said...

Looking.... looking... nope I can't find the Burger Meister Meister Burger. (Um not sure on the spelling of that.) Not even an honorable mention. I'm disappointed.

Dave said...

Like I said, feel free to vote "other" and write in your favorite special that I may have left off. Here is an awesome video to make up for me snubbing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Fight the power!

Now, as for my vote...

I'm not sure if I ever made it past the first five minutes of The Grinch when I was little, as it was typically on later in the evening, and I would always fall asleep. As an adult though, there's no question that The Grinch is the best of the lot. The expressive, stylized animation courtesy of Looney Tunes alum Chuck Jones, along with the faithfulness to the original Suess story make this one worthy of its classic status. And it is vastly superior to Jim Carrey's Grinch in oh so many ways.

As a kid, Mickey's Christmas Carol was probably my favorite. I also fondly remember the classic animated shorts Donald's Snow Fight and Pluto's Christmas Tree airing with it.

One last thing, you gotta love the true meaning of Rudolph: people will only treat you nice if you have something they need. My favorite archaic moment of all the holiday specials has to be when Rudolph's dad Donner sets out to find his outcast son, and when his wife tries to come along, he tells her, "No. This is man's work."

Dave said...

Let me guess, Timothy Dalton is the one that keeps voting for Frosty.

Krissy said...

There seems to be some suspicious voting afoot. Perhaps we'll have to eliminate any Frosty votes that didn't get a comment backing it up. That many people can't like Frosty best.

Ben said...

I totally forgot about this one, but Jack Frost is on ABC Family right now (a new kind of family!) and holy crap I am being inundated with childhood memories. And no, I don't mean the Michael Keaton Jack Frost, I mean the "It's Just What I Always Wanted", Pardon-Me-Pete and Kubla Kraus. Maybe someday I'll analyze the similarities between this movie and Superman II.