Sunday, December 23, 2007


In 1972, the creator and voice of the Chipmunks, Ross Bagdasarian, died of a heart attack. The Chimpunks' career was now in question. Without Ross, the Chipmunks albums stopped coming and it wasn't until 1979 when NBC decided to show reruns of The Alvin Show on Saturday mornings. A year later the Chipmunks released another album, Chipmunk Punk, which featured contemporary songs sung by Ross' son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.

The success of Chipmunk Punk and the reruns of The Alvin Show caused Bagdasarian Jr. to create a new animated special for the 1981 holiday season! A Chipmunk Christmas premiered on NBC and was a big hit! It sported all new Christmas songs (the soundtrack was the Chipmunks' third Christmas album) and new character designs by legendary animator Chuck Jones, who also served as the producer for the show.

The half-hour special tells the tale of Alvin Seville who gives his harmonica away to a terminally ill little boy for Christmas only to find out he needs it for a special Christmas gig. Alvin tries to raise enough money by Christmas to buy another, which causes Dave to think that Alvin only thinks Christmas is about money and greed.

Along with Ross Bagdasarian Jr. as Alvin, Simon and Dave and Janice Karman as Theodore, we also get treated with animation voice actors Frank Welker as Santa Claus and June Foray as Mrs. Claus! And fans of The Alvin Show will be happy to see a special guest appearance by Clyde Crashup (pictured below), voiced by the original actor, Shepard Menken!

The animation in this show is a nice look back at 80's television animation. While it suffers here and there from off-model characters and obvious shortcuts, the animation suits the show perfectly and is a great lead up to their next hit TV show, Alvin and the Chipmunks

You can find A Chipmunk Christmas and two Christmas episodes from Alvin and the Chipmunks on a special edition DVD.

Monday, December 10, 2007


One of the segments in Animaniacs features a giant chicken who wants to be human. This giant chicken, named Chicken Boo, disguises himself in every episode to try to fit in with the normal world. But ultimately his cover is blown and he is run out of town.

In this Christmas episode of Chicken Boo, Boo pretends to be a mall Santa and fools everyone except for one kid. There is a tribute to A Christmas Story when the kid yells, "He'll poke my eye out!" Fans of Animaniacs will recognize this kid as Colin, who always had a story to tell about his friend Randy Beeman. This is his only appearance in a major role outside of his segment.

The other shorts in this episode are 'Twas the Day Before Christmas, The Great Wakorotti: the Holiday Concert and Toy Shop Terrors (Which doesn't have anything to do with Christmas except for the fact that they are playing in a toy shop). It can be found on disc five of Animaniacs, Volume Two.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


In December of 1993 Warner Bros produced two Christmas episodes of Animaniacs, one for the weekday syndicated episodes and one for Saturday morning FOX episodes. The episodes are made up of a few shorts featuring different characters from the show.

'Twas the Day Before Christmas is a Slappy Squirrel short but spends the majority of the cartoon focusing on Yakko, Wakko and Dot. In fact, half way through the cartoon, Yakko takes over narrating and Slappy really doesn't have anything to do with it from there on in.

The cartoon opens with Skippy getting ready for bed and asking his Aunt Slappy to read him a bedtime story. The story that he picks is about Christmas at the Warner Bros Studio. The CEO has a bunch of presents to deliver to the Warner siblings but doesn't want to do it himself. So he cons Ralph the Guard to dress up as Santa and deliver the gifts.

From here the story switches to a retelling of The Night Before Christmas with almost every major character from Animaniacs making a cameo! My favourite group of animators were put on this short so it looks stellar. Fans of the series will like this short mainly to see all the characters but also because Animaniacs does a good job with their parodies and this is no exception.

The other shorts in this episode are Jingle Boo, The Great Wakorotti: the Holiday Concert and Toy Shop Terrors (Which doesn't have anything to do with Christmas except for the fact that they are playing in a toy shop). It can be found on disc five of Animaniacs, Volume Two.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A new treat for the 2007 holiday season is a new television special starring everyone's favourite ogre! That's right, this year Shrek got his own Christmas special!

More importantly, Shrek the Halls will premiere as a television special! It seems that these days television specials are a thing of the past with companies chosing to send them straight to DVD. But it is great to see Dreamworks creating a soon-to-be-classic television special just like the olden days.

The story is set after Shrek the Third as Shrek, Fiona and the kids prepare for their first Christmas together as a family. The only problem is that Shrek has no idea what Christmas is! Shrek comes to the conclusion that Christmas is all about decorations, a big feast and telling a Christmas story to his family. But all of his plans go to waste when Donkey shows up with all of their friends who want to party through the holiday!

I am not a fan of the Shrek movies but this special is something different. It looks like Dreamworks spent a lot of time making this look like the movies. The animation is just as good as anything from the films and all of the original cast of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas returns to do the voices!

While the story a timeless classic, the search for Christmas and his reaction when it all gets messed up fits so well with Shrek's personality. The story doesn't feel forced and it is funny and heart-warming. But the best part is that it doesn't try to parody every Christmas special that ever came out (the constant movie parodies is a big reason why I don't like the movies).

All in all, this is a good special that I'm sure will be seen for years to come. It's not on DVD yet, but you can bet that if it doesn't come out this year you'll have to wait until next year to see it again.


Once again, just like I pointed out in this Batman post, everything that was wrong about the first X-Men Christmas episode was corrected here.

On Angel's Wings aired during the second season of X-Men: Evolution in 2001. In this story, a new hero is seen in Manhattan rescuing people in trouble. His name is Angel and he is a mutant, but the public doesn't know it. But when the public does find out, and the very people he had saved quickly turn into his persecutors, it drives home Xavier's need not keep the identities of the X-Men a secret.

Having this episode reiterate the mission statement of the series instead of getting overly Christmasy was a good idea. It doesn't stand apart from the series as a special episode but it does deliver a heartfelt story. The animation is also on par if not better than most episodes. Nothing was rushed so that they could get this out on time and the result is vibrant colours and beautiful backdrops and really nice movements.

If you wish to see this episode, it is included in X-Men: Evolution, Season 2, Volume 2 - Powers Revealed.


It's Jubilee's first Christmas with the X-Men and she is excited to be a part of the holiday cheer. Jean, with unwanted help from Gambit, is preparing a dinner for the family while Storm, Wolverine and Jubilee do some last minute shopping. But things don't go according to plans when the trio stumble upon the news that Leech, one of the Morlocks who live in the sewers of New York, is dying.

A far as Christmas episodes go, this one is quite awful. And as far as the rest of the series is concerned, this takes first prize for worst X-Men episode ever. There are two ultra sappy stories here. One focuses on Jubilee and how, since she is an orphan, she has never experienced Christmas with a family. I have no problem with this story. It is a good, wholesome, cliché Christmas message.

But the second story told here is the tale of the Morlocks, mutants whose mutation has altered their looks to the point that they cannot live amongst the public like the X-Men. This is Fox's way of sticking in a Public Service Announcement about helping those less fortunate than yourself. This is fine and noble cause but since NO ONE CARES about the Morlocks we find ourselves rooting for the Grim Reaper when Leech's pulse drops!

And what the heck is up with that blood transfusion anyway? Logan's blood can not heal anyone. That is not how it works! And if that were the case, why didn't they use Wolverine's blood to heal everyone who gets hurt on any of their missions from that point on? And why was Wolverine so stuck up about donating blood? They say he let someone down in the past but they never explain it!

The animation is rushed, the dialogue is terrible and the story rushes around so fast that you feel like you've accidentally hit fast forward on your remote!

I'm sorry to say that all you that want to see this episode will not be able to for a while as Disney, the current rights holders, have no plans to release this series on DVD in the near future. Maybe youtube?


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a department store creation, created by Mongomery Ward in 1939. (Ward's is now an online only store based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa). The character was adapted into a song by Johnny Marks and recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. But it wasn't until 1964 when Rankin/Bass produced its now-famous stop-motion tv special.

The story of the reindeer with the shiny nose followed the song very closely but added many subplots, such as an elf that wants to be a dentist, the island of misfit toys, and the abominable snowman.

Son of the famous reindeer, Donner, Rudolph has a bright red nose that Donner believes to be a flaw. Ashamed of his son, Donner covers the nose in mud so that Rudolph would appear 'normal'. But his nose is revealed during the Reindeer Games and Rudolph is shunned for being different. Meanwhile, Hermie the Elf is also having problems fitting in as he wants to be a dentist rather than an elf. Together, the pair head out to find out where they belong. The journey takes them on many adventures including a land where all of the misfit toys reside. They also face and, with the help of Yukon Cornelius, defeat the Abominable Snow-Monster.

This special airs every year on NBC making it the longest running Christmas TV special. And special it is. The lovable characters and fun songs make this a classic show for kids of any generation. The care that Rankin/Bass put into the stop-motion animation gives the viewer a feeling that heart and soul went into this production and even though details like lipsync seemed to be not important, the overwhelming charm made this incarnation of the misfit reindeer a timeless classic.

The main theme of this show is one that everybody can relate to. The story of one who is hated a feared for having extra gifts is something that everyone goes through at least once in their life. That is the connection that draws everyone in. Everybody has gifts and you should not be ridiculed for using them.

In many ways, this is the story of the X-Men. Rudolph is a mutant and should be a superhero. That's my inner geek talking.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer can be found in the Original Television Christmas Classics DVD box set.

Monday, November 26, 2007


In 1997, Batman: the Animated Series was given a total make over and dubbed The New Batman Adventures. The characters were given a more modern and stylized look and the adventures became a bit more kid friendly with the introduction of Tim Drake as Robin and Batgirl as a regular cast member. The series launched with this Christmas special.

Everything that was wrong about Christmas With the Joker was corrected with this episode. The animation is way smoother and the new look compliments the characters a great deal.

The story of Holiday Knights is also a better one and is written by Paul Dini (Lost). It is three mini-stories of events that happen during the two weeks before New Year's Day. First, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy hypnotize Bruce Wayne and go on a wild shopping spree; then on Christmas Eve, Clayface is caught shoplifting by Renee Montoya, Harvey Bullock and Batgirl; and finally, on New Year's Eve, the Joker has a plan to blow up Gotham City when the clock strikes midnight!

It is charming and fun and fits in with the rest of the series, unlike that other piece of garbage I mentioned before.

If you want to check it out for your self Holiday Knights is available in Batman: the Animated Series, Volume Four

Friday, November 23, 2007


When Batman: the Animated Series hit the airwaves in 1992 it was an instant success. The dark and moody interpretation of the Dark Knight was welcomed by fans young and old. The first episode, On Leather Wings was very serious and was given a 'feature film' treatment in terms of storytelling, camera angles and voice actors.

But the second episode produced, Christmas With the Joker is almost a 180 degree turn in the wrong direction! I cannot express how much I despise this episode. It is the weakest of the series and a low blow after a fantastic pilot episode. The animation is awful, characters (Joker especially) were of model, the lipsync is way off and the story tries to cram way too much into 22 minutes.

I knew this one was bad news as soon as the episode started with the Joker singing 'Jingle Bells, Batman Smells' while blasting through the roof of Arkham Asylum on a rocket powered Christmas tree.

This is the first introduction to the Joker and in particular Mark Hamill as the voice of the Clown Prince of Crime. But while the Joker is an evil sadist bent on ruining Batman's life, this Joker is a funfilled jokester who just loves a good, deadly prank. While the pilot episode brought realism to the screen, this one brought absurdity.

If you want to check it out for your self Christmas With the Joker is available in Batman: the Animated Series, Volume One.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Santa Gallery!

Welcome to the Santa Gallery where you can see the many difference appearances that Santa has taken on over the years! This page will be constantly updated so check back often!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A Christmas Flintstone (The Flintstones)

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land (Pac-Man)

Toyland Premiere (Cartoon Classics)

Aliens First Christmas

Sonic Christmas Blast

A Chipmunk Christmas

Jingle Boo (Animaniacs)

Shrek the Halls

A Pinky & the Brain Christmas

Dexter vs. Santa Claus (Dexter's Laboratory)

'Twas the Fight Before Christmas (Powerpuff Girls)

Xmas Story (Futurama)

Nightmare Before Christmas

Frosty the Snowman