Every year like clockwork, we find ourselves digging through our DVD collections or channel surfing through the television channels to watch our favorite Christmas specials. Each person has one or two shows that they've watched religiously since they were a little kid, the following eight movies have been my all time favorite Christmas specials ever since the days I was rocking diapers.
8 - Star Wars Christmas Special
This horrible masterpiece was only aired once November 17, 1978 on CBS-TV from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m and has received such bad criticism that it was never put on VHS.This little gem is so notorious it became so well known with very few people actually viewing a real copy of it.In other words it so bad it's good. The story follows Han Solo and Chewbacca as they celebrate Life Day on the wookie's home planet of Kashyyyk. The Show was produced in a variety show fashion.But enough about the actual show lets look at some reviews: David Hofstede, author of What Were They Thinking ?: the 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, ranked the holiday special at number one, calling it "the worst two hours of television ever. Shepard Smith, a news anchor for the Fox News Channel, referred to it as a "'70s train wreck, combining the worst of Star Wars with the utter worst of variety television."
The Special has even been down put by George Lucas himself saying he was unhappy with how the special came out. But if we can salvage one special moment for this train wreck is the first appearance of everyone's favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett.
7 - The Year without Santa Claus
Who can forget the awesome and stick in your head songs from this special.Figuring into the storyline are two of the most well-remembered Rankin/Bass characters, Heat Miser (George S. Irving) and his stepbrother Snow Miser (Dick Shawn). Anyways, the story takes place in the 1920's as Santa Claus contemplates taking a holiday over Christmas and sends out his two elves to find people that still believe in him.They journey to Southtown, where obviously there hasn't been snow there in years.That's when the Heat and Snow misers come into play and sing their little number.Would this special be as good with out them? I think not.In the end everything works out well and Santa returns to work.I don't pay him to sit around you know.
The Year Without a Santa Claus is a 1974 stop motion animated television special. It usually airs during the Christmas season on United States television. The story is based on Phyllis McGinley's 1956 book of the same name.
6 - Frosty the Snowman
Only Rankin/Bass take a Christmas song then turn it into a really nice Christmas Special.Based on the song of the same name and released in 1969 on CBS, Frosty has become and annual tradition in most houses.This was Rankin/Bass's first journey into traditional cell shading animation and Paul Coker, a MAD magazine artist was hired to design the characters.Everyone knows the story of the snowman that comes to life from a magic hat only to melt away at the end, but before he does he promises he will be back again some day.Another Christmas special that uses all the cliché Christmas designs but we love it all the same.
5 - A Muppets Family Christmas
What other Christmas special brings together the worlds of Sesame Street, Muppets and Fraggle Rock. None but this one!Made in 1987 by Jim Henson and takes place in Fozzie Bear's Mother's house, as everyone comes home for the holidays.Luckily there is also an entrance to Fraggle Rock in the basement who are invited upstairs for dinner. Sesame Street character just seem to show up.What makes this special great is the classic Muppet characters telling their classic jokes.Its hard to find the energy and care that went into each of Jim Henson's character these days.I can never get enough of those two old men hating on everyone else.Just the bees knees.
4 - Santa Claus is Coming To Town
Rankin/Bass made another stop motion animation Christmas Special following how Santa Claus came to be.Aired back in 1970 and stared Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney before he went crazy. The story covers most of the reasoning behind why Santa Claus does the traditions he does including why he puts presents in stockings, delivers presents on December 25th and how his reindeer fly, among others. This special has one of my favourite villains, the Bugermeister.After stepping on a toy he figures the only way to fix his town is to outlaw all toys and arrest anyone in possession of one.Makes sense to me.This is where Kris Kringle (Santa) comes into save the day and meets Miss Jessica who inevitably becomes Mrs. Claus but not before packing on the pounds later on in the film.How did she let herself go so much?
A great classic cartoon special, that is still being aired all over the world and helps us relive the kid in all of us.
3 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Plot closely follows the book of the same name by Doctor Seuss.Narrated by the amazing Frankenstein, Boris Karloff, it aired originally in 1966 on CBS and now airs on TNT, Cartoon Network and the WB.Masterfully written, the story follows the Grinch as his hate for the Christmas season gets him to formulate a plan to steal all that is Christmas – presents, decorations and even the roast beast! Just as he is about to ruin Christmas for all of WhoVille, the Grinch hears the town singing, realising that Christmas is more than just boxes, presents and bags.His heart grows three sizes that day, and he gains the strength of ten Grinches plus two and is able to save the day and return the presents to WhoVille. He even gets to cut the roast beast.
When it first aired The Grinch was only passable by critics but as time has gone by the special has become a classic and now has a 100% rating on RottenTomatoes.Only one question remains where can I get one of those crazy bikes with the horns?
2 - A Charlie Brown Christmas
One of the most popular specials of all time, A Charlie Brown Christmas was based off the Charles M. Schulz comic, Peanuts.The special debuted on CBS in 1965 and was sponsored by Coca-Cola.It has been honoured with an Emmy and a Peabody Award.The story follows the Peanuts gang as Christmas time approaches.Charlie Brown ultimately is depressed at the season as it no longer represents peace on earth and good will toward man. Everyone seems to be caught up with the commercial side of Christmas and getting presents.In the end Charlie tries to direct the school play but loses his confidence again after purchasing a particular small tree and getting tormented for his decision. After a rousing speech by Linus the gang meets up with Charlie Brown and restore his faith in the holiday.
Every time I view this Christmas Special I always seem to forget how mean the other Peanuts characters are to Charlie Brown, even his own dog gets in on the action.No wonder Lucy cashes in on his therapy needs. Make fun of the kid until Brown needs therapy then pretend to be a physiatrist.Now that's being business savvy.
The story touches on the over commercialisation of Christmas and reminds us the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Santa…….I mean Jesus.
1 - Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer
Who hasn't seen this Christmas Special? First aired way back in December 6th, 1964 on NBC, this special has been a staple for the coming Christmas season.If you have been living under a rock on the moon, the story follows Rudolph and his elf, wannabe dentist, friend Hermey, as they run away from Santa's village after being tormented for their differences.They eventually return from their adventure to save Christmas after battling the Bumble (an abominable snowman) and discovering the island of misfit toys.Another Rankin/Bass stop animation movie, this special seems to touch on a lot of political issues like racial intolerance, bulling and having a really jerk of a dad. Most of the problem in this special wouldn't get on TV nowadays but back then anything goes.Ripping out animals teeth? No problem.Abusive father and bulling school mates? Check.Gun wielding wild older man that befriends little children? Check.I don't know about you but these sound like a check list to becoming a serial killer.
Narrated by the great late Burl Ives, he also contributed many of the catchy songs like Holly Jolly Christmas.My favourite part comes just after the Bumble has his teeth yanked out.If that painful procedure wasn't enough for the Bumble to handle Yukon Cornelius tackles in off a cliff just for good measure.
Anyways, Rudolph has become a house hold name and this special is beloved by all ages.It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest running Christmas special and by far the best.Attempts have been made to remake it in new 3d animation but nothing beats the original.Rudolph the red nose reindeer will be continued to be seen for generations to come