Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

Hello everyone! It's Christmas Eve Eve, and I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for reading all year long--many years, in some cases. I love writing this blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it just as much.

Every year at Christmas I wish to be as prolific as I am during that other most wonderful time of the year, but alas, the duties of the holiday and the workplace make that too difficult. Still, make no mistake--Christmas is my favorite time of year. Period.

In that spirit, I heartily say to you--Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV Special Outtakes

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first airing of Rankin/Bass's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Coincidentally, there are a couple of rare pieces cut from earlier airings that I've come across recently.

First, here (in black and white, unfortunately) are the original closing credits for the special, featuring an elf sending out packages adorned with the names of the show's creators. This differs starkly from the usual sequence of the Misfit Toys being delivered to children. That later sequence was created due to viewer demand. They didn't just want to hear Santa promise to find homes for the Misfits, they wanted to see it! The more familiar credits began airing with the second airing in 1965 and have remained ever since.

Here is another scene excised from the original airing due to the later credits sequence--Yukon Cornelius finding a peppermint mine--what he was really looking for the entire special (hence the creepy licking of his pick ax).

Finally, here is an ad that appeared in TV Guide to announce the first airing of the special in 1964.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Elves Horror Movie from 1989

Why yes, there was a horror movie in the 80s about killer elves around Christmas. Why yes, it did star Dan Haggerty, TV's Grizzly Adams. Why yes, I do have the entire movie embedded below for your viewing enjoyment. Why yes, it is a bad movie. Why yes, it is still worth seeing once. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

List O' Links for Friday, December 12th, 2014

It's weekend number 3 of the holiday season 2014. Take a break from your hectic shopping and partygoing with these links!

Spider-Man has faced a lot of challenges and setbacks in his career, but he's currently dealing with what may be his biggest challenge yet--everyday life in Cairo, Egypt. A young photographer is making a film of an actor in a Spider-Man costume to show the struggles citizens in the country are experiencing. A humorous yet sobering look at the country!

Remember last week's post about Pizza Hut's attempts at Christmas marketing? They should take a look at inroads chicken franchise KFC has made into ingratiating itself into Christmas celebrations--at least in Japan.

You guys! Digital comics retailer Comixology is offering 12 Days of Free Comics! It started yesterday, but you still have 11 more chances to get a free comic. Go there--now!

You may have heard of Krampus, the horned creature who used to follow around Santa and beat the crap out of bad kids. Well, there's more Christmas terror where that came from. Take a look!

The shopping mall probably sees more people tread its grounds at this time of year than any time of year by far. It can be a frustrating experience, but you know what would make it more fun? If we could go back in time and check out the mall back in 1989. Looking at these awesome photos is the next best thing! I love the 80s-ness!

Finally, 'tis the season for beer drinking! Here is one site's list of 15 of the best Christmas-themed beers you'll find this year.

Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Little Rascals Christmas Special (1979)

Why yes, there was indeed an animated Little Rascals Christmas Special that aired in 1979--December 3rd, 1979, to be exact, on NBC. Produced by King World Productions and written by celebrated Rankin/Bass writer Romeo Muller, the special starred only a small handful of the famous Our Gang cast--not the originals, of course--trying to make enough money for Spanky and Porky's mother, who exchanged her new coat for a toy train for her boys. With the help of a street corner Santa, Our Gang manage to do just that.

I assume I didn't need to put a spoiler warning there.

I found this special at a summertime flea market a couple of years ago, and just watched it this weekend. I remembered seeing it once, probably when it first aired, and although it's certainly not the best special out there, it's worth watching if you come across it--like right below, courtesy of YouTube. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Food Ads from the 1970s

The title says it all. Enjoy the original Pillsbury Dough Boy (voiced by the late, great Paul Frees) and these delectable holiday food stuffs from the glorious 1970s. Hm hmmmmm!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pizza Hut Christmas TV Commercials

As usual at the beginning of a holiday season, I like to post a series of TV commercials related to said holiday, as seeing those on TV are usually the first signs that another holiday is upon us. I'm doing things a bit different this Christmas in that I'm doing a couple of commercial posts which involve another underlying theme. For example, today I feature Christmas commercials by Pizza Hut.

Pizza is certainly not the first thing I think of when I think of Christmas, but the restaurant chain has made many efforts to get itself into people's heads during the holiday season. Here are just a few examples.

In 1980, Pizza Hut had a special Christmas offer--buy any medium or large pizza, and you could purchase a Paddington Bear tree ornament for only 99 cents a piece. Now that a new movie starring the famous bear of children's literature is about to be released, I thought this one might be a bit timely.

In 1983, Pizza Hut reached out to consumers to let them know that, should their shopping take a toll on their schedules and wallets, they could count on Pizza Hut to provide tasty sustenance for their family--no cooking, no cleaning. I have to admit, having a fresh, hot pizza waiting for you when you're very busy is a great convenience!

By the way, is that country music legend Mac Davis narrating and singing the jingle?

Looks like consumers needed a reminder of this fact in 1987, so the Hut happily obliged, along with the offer of gift certificates for those hard to shop friends and relations. I'd be OK with a Pizza Hut gift card!

I've saved the best for last. This is a commercial I've wanted to find for years now, but I couldn't because I couldn't remember the product name or the advertiser (plus I just gave up looking once in a while), but this year I finally found it. The sponsor is indeed Pizza Hut, and the commercial involves a man a little too tired of leftover turkey after Christmas--a feeling we all share after a day or two, I think. I love this one, and I'm thrilled that I finally found it!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Scrooge (1935)

The first Tuesday's Overlooked Film of the holiday season is the 1935 British release Scrooge. Starring Seymour Hicks as Ebeneezer, this is the first film adaptation of the classic Dickens story to feature sound, and is also the only adaptation to feature an invisible Marley rather than the well-described version covered in chains of his own making.

This version is in the public domain, and therefore easily available, so sit back and enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho! Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Now it's a new week, a new month, and another opportunity to experience what I find to be the best time of year.

Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer...

I've said this before, but I pretty much spend the first eleven months of the year twiddling my thumbs waiting for December. I love celebrating all holidays, but when I do, I'm usually trying to imitate the celebration of Christmas. There's always been a strong connection between me and Christmas to the point where I have a hard time putting it into words. I guess it all goes back to being a young child, feeling the holiday in every aspect of life starting the first school day after Thanksgiving and building up more and more every day until December 25th. Decorations were everywhere, music was everywhere (but not nearly as ubiquitous as it is today), it was all over TV, advertising, everywhere. Plus, I attended Catholic school throughout my childhood, so the spiritual significance of Christmas was very much in the forefront of my holiday experience--it still is.

I attended Mass regularly, and of course my church had an advent wreath prominently displayed there. With every passing week, one more candle would be lit--and oh, the joy of seeing that pink candle being lit the third week!--adding to the anticipation. The entire month just seemed so magical--literally magical--that, by the time it was Christmas Eve, the magic felt so tangible, so real, that it actually felt to me that the veil between Heaven and Earth was pulled away and that we truly about to experience Heaven on Earth.

Did I just blow your mind or what?

Lest you think I was completely devoid of the hedonistic pleasures of Christmas, of course I couldn't wait to get my loot from Santa Claus. In my youngest years, I was so excited about it, and so nervous, I actually lost my stomach because of it a couple of times. After that would pass, I would tear through the goodies that awaited me like a rabid monster. After examining my presents from Santa, my parents' gifts were next--oh nice, corduroys, thanks Mom and Dad--and then, there was a pleasantly meditative experience that is best described as afterglow.

Later on we had Christmas dinner, but it was a more casual event compared to Thanksgiving, with a buffet style layout at the table for us to grab what we wanted. By evening time, I simply sat in the living room surrounded by gifts and family, warm and content that the greatest day of the year that just happened, and was worth all the wait.

Another day this month, I'll describe how we spend Christmas today. I hope my children feel the same way about their Christmases the way I feel about mine. The bar has been set awfully high.