Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lost Christmas Specials

There's a whole bunch of animated holiday specials from the 1970s and 80s that seem to have vanished from the face of the earth. Here's a few of them:
A VERY MERRY CRICKET from the brilliant Chuck Jones is a sequel to A CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE (both from 1973) that ran on ABC in the early 1970s and later entered syndication before turning up on Nickelodeon in the 1990s. I remember loving it as a kid, but have not seen in about 30 years. Wonder if holds up.
Like most Saturday-morning favorites, The Pink Panther came to prime-time for the holiday season in a brand new special called A PINK CHRISTMAS in 1978. In this show for some reason the Panther has been time-displaced in the 1890s and is homeless and desperately trying to find food and shelter. The ABC marketing department decided that this depressing scenario is "the funniest yuletide" ever. Hmmm...
Talk about depressing, THE TINY TREE (from 1975) told the story of a sad, lonely, handicapped girl who spends christmas in the park with a bunch of animals and a tiny tree. After NBC reran the show in '76, it showed up on ABC in '77 before finishing up on CBS in for a few years. The show has not been seen again since, and that truly saddens me.
Not to be confused with the film of the same title, A CHRISTMAS STORY is a Hanna-Barbera confection from 1972 that told the story of Goober and Gumdrop's efforts to deliver Timmy's letter to Santa. Out of circulation for over 20 years, this one turned up on TNT and Cartoon Network in the 1990s. I don't think I've ever seen it, but hopefully one day I shall. This is just a small sampling of the many holiday treats that are lost to today's audiences, I may uncover more in the next few days if you are all good.

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