Wednesday, December 03, 2008


You may be familiar with A Flintstones Christmas Carol, the television special from 1994, or A Flintstone Family Christmas from 1993, or A Flintstone Christmas from 1977. But before all of those Christmas specials was a Christmas-themed episode from the show's fifth season. A Christmas Flintstone aired on December 18 and then again on Christmas Day in 1964.

The story starts out as Fred is lamenting to his friend, Barney, the fact that he doesn't have the extra cash to buy his family Christmas presents this year. Fred sees a "Help Wanted" sign in the window of Macyrock's Department Store and decides that he can pick up the extra cash with a part time job. Through a series of failed attempts in different sections of the department store, Fred becomes the store's Santa and he fulfills his duties with the utmost gusto. He sings with the kids, talks to them about presents, and even reads/sings them a story about how Dino the Dinosaur saved Christmas!

It seems that every Christmas special must include an original song to mark their place in the Christmas special history books, and The Flintstones is no exception. Only the song that Fred sings (multiple times throughout the episode) will only go down in the history books as being just plain awful.

Aside from the fact that Fred shouldn't sing any songs, the lyrics are just plain weird and don't really have anything to do with what is going on in the episode.
Christmas is my favourite time of year because
Everyone becomes a Santa Claus

But wait! That's only the first half of the episode! So much has already happened in the first ten minutes, but the episode takes a serious turn as Fred is visited by a couple of elves who want him to fill in for the real Santa who is sick in bed!

When the Flintstones first hit the air in 1960 it was praised for being a smart sitcom that was made for adults and dealt with real grown-up situations. Of course, because its a cartoon, some of the plots were a bit outlandish, but they were always based in reality.

By the time the fifth season rolled around the show was a hit with the kids. Changes were made to the writing, making it a bit more 'kid-friendly'. This plot of Fred flying around in a sleigh pulled by dinosaurs and unleashing a rain of presents on the unsuspecting town below was never something you would see in the show's first few seasons. But this is good example of how the show evolved over the years.

A Christmas Flintstone is not one of the better episode in the series but it does serve as a touching Christmas tale of a family that we all know and love. You can watch it for your self on The Flintstones - The Complete Fifth Season DVD.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Santa Claus crash lands in Pac-Land and breaks his sleigh and loses all his toys! Santa is distraught because he won't be able to make all his Christmas deliveries, but the denizens of Pac-Land don't understand the big deal for they have never even heard of Christmas!

After hearing Santa explain the meaning of Christmas, Pac-Man decides to help Santa and save Christmas...that is unless the Ghost Monsters can help it!

Pac-Man finds the sack of toys, the Pac-People fix the sleigh and Pac-Man has the brilliant idea of feeding the reindeer Power Pellets to give them a boost to help get Santa back on schedule. Christmas is saved!

Pac-Man follows the adventures of Pac-Man, his wife, Mrs. Pepper Pac-Man, and their kid, Pac-Baby. The family lives together in Pac-Land, where almost everything is round or shaped like Pac-Man, and spends their time stopping the evil Mezmeron from getting his hands on the 'Power Pellets', the source of Pac-Man's power.

Mezmeron's hired help consists of Pac-Man's well known video game adversaries, the Ghost Monsters: Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde and Sue. They are the typical bumbling villains that always seem to be menacing at the beginning of the episode but goofballs by the end of the episode.

Pac-Man was created by Namco Games in 1978. Its popularity grew to epic proportions over the next decade and Hanna-Barbera decided to capitalize on the craze by creating a show based on the yellow pill-popper. This series lasted 43 episodes from 1982-1983. Originally, Pac-Man was part of a 90 minute programming block in 1982 by Hanna-Barbera called The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show but then broke of into its own half hour show in 1983.

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land aired in 1982 between the show's first and second seasons. Although not seen on regular television stations, this special is shown annually on Cartoon Network's Boomerang.

The special is pretty good considering it's a show based on Pac-Man. It has very good animation compared to any show made in the 80s, especially a show produced by Hanna-Barbera. It's themes of kindness, good-will and helping others in need are pretty standard in Christmas specials but this one does a nice job at not jamming them down our throat.

Although the story is quite touching, there are a few questions that I have: How do the Ghost-Monsters know Jingle Bells if there is no Christmas in Pac-Land? How did Pac-Man know what to do with the wrapped presents if he's never seen a wrapped present before? If the Power Pellets are so powerful why don't the Ghost Monsters eat them? And where is Mezmeron? Surely he would want to stop Pac-Man from saving Christmas!

The show has its share of problems, most of which are trying to fill the 22-minutes that make up this special. Each 22-minute episode of the series is made up of two 11-minute episodes, but the studio decided that this Christmas tale is too big for 11-minutes so they gave it a full 22-minutes. The problem is that there is not enough story to fill the 22-minutes so there is a lot a filler. Chase scenes mostly.

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land is not available on DVD yet. Although you can usually find it on youtube.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It's Christmas Eve and Noodles Romanoff and the No-Goods are plotting to destroy Roger Ramjet. They feel that Ramjet is responsible for the fact that they haven't stolen enough money for a Christmas tree, presents or anything to do with Christmas cheer.

So Noodles poses as a mall Santa and when Roger comes to the mall to give Santa his Christmas list he is captured by the No-Goods! But Roger's team, the American Eagle Squad, chase after Santa thinking it's the real mall Santa in a game of catch-me-if-you-can! They are lead directly to the No-Goods' hideout where they are promptly arrested and thrown in jail. Roger Ramjet and Christmas are saved.

Roger Ramjet is an early television cartoon produced by Pantomime Pictures that first aired in 1965. It stars the bumbling superhero, Roger Ramjet, who gets his super powers from Proton Energy Pills which give him "the strength of twenty atom bombs for a period of twenty seconds". To help him in his quest to save the city from injustice is the American Eagle Squad, four kids named Yank, Doodle, Dan and Dee.

Roger came to life due to the voice of Gary Owens, whose performance of Roger Ramjet is the first of Gary's many superhero voices. He also voiced Space Ghost, Blue Falcon and Powdered Toast Man.

Roger Ramjet is made up of 156 five-minute episodes and aired constantly since its debut in 1965 up until the late 90s. While the animation is quite crude and very limited, the charm of this series is the witty dialogue, the abundant action and the superhero spoof and this Christmas episode is no exception.

The story follows the usual plot: Roger Ramjet gets in trouble and it's up to the American Eagle Squad to bail him out. The only thing that make this a Christmas episode is that it happens to take place at Christmastime. Otherwise, it doesn't stand out from any other episode in the series.

If you would like to check it out for yourself, you can find it on disc two of the Roger Ramjet: Hero of Our Nation box set.