At this time of year, the one thing you can always count on is the throng of Christmas specials airing on every channel imaginable, in one language or another, at various times of day to ensure we get to see it within the holiday season. We find ourselves overwhelmed with 24 hours of A Christmas Story, 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family, etc.
But through all that, there’s still a few memorable Christmas movies and TV specials that you don’t see anymore. These shows captured the spirit of Christmas but seemed to have fallen out of favor when it comes to TV programmers. I, for one, haven’t forgotten them and thought it would be great to share them with you.
The Forgotten Toys (1995) — This is one of my favorite animated specials, not only for the unique “storybook” animation, but for the beautiful, timeless Christmas story it represents. Teddy the Bear and Dolly the Ragdoll were thrown out on Christmas morning for better, hi-tech toys. The two go on an adventure through junkyards and old cellars to find a child to love them. The best part of this special is the brilliant performance by the late Bob Hoskins (Roger Rabbit, Hook) as Teddy Bear. His best scene is where he tells the story of how the Teddy Bear was named (after President Theodore Roosevelt) to try to sway some angry dogs. It’s a wonderful Christmas story. My kids wore out the VHS tape we had, but they have yet to make it into a DvD. It’s a shame to lose this holiday classic.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940) — You think you know this one but you probably don’t. The Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail was based on this original classic with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Her store was called The Shop Around the Corner as a nod to the original. The premise is still the same, a man and a woman correspond and fall in love, not realizing its the person right next to them who they loathe and despise. The original takes place in Budapest at Christmas time. Though it’s not a strict holiday film, it has that “Frank Capra” holiday “vibe” to it like It’s a Wonderful Life. One of the best scenes for me is the restaurant scene where he finds out she’s the one he’s been corresponding with. I swear the scene is virtually identical to the one in You’ve Got Mail. It’s funny, warm-hearted, and the chemistry between Jimmy Stewart and Maragret Sullavan is fun to watch.
A Muppet Family Christmas (1987) — This is all the classic Muppet franchises from the beginning brought together in one Christmas special. We’re talking The Muppet Show, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. It involved Fozzy the Bear bringing all his friends to his mother’s house in the country to celebrate Christmas, unaware she was planning Christmas in Hawaii. Soon the Sesame Street gang shows up, with the Swedish Chef trying to cook Big Bird for Christmas dinner, and Kermit and Robin finding their way underground to Fraggle Rock. It even has a brief appearance of a home movie of the Muppets as babies. It’s one of those Christmas specials that’ll have the music stuck in your head for months after Christmas. My wife can’t listen to the song “We need a little Christmas now” without thinking of the Muppets.
Bedtime for Sniffles (1940) & Peace on Earth (1939) — I remember watching these as a child and then watching them again with my children. This was a time when cartoons was made to makes us laugh and teach us powerful messages, not gross us out or shock us like the cartoons of today. Bedtime for Sniffles is a classic Looney Toons cartoon featuring the adorable Sniffles the Mouse. Sniffles wants to stay up late to see Santa and does everything he can to try to stay awake. This is one determined mouse, drinking a pot of black coffee wait for Santa. It’s cute adorable and filled with the holiday spirit you generally associate with cartoons from this era. Peace on Earth is another classic yet rarely seen holiday cartoon, made in the hopes for peace after the horrors of World War I reigned across Europe. Even as Hitler rose to power and the prelude to World War II, there was still hope for peace. It’s amazing to see the instruments of war used as houses and other items by the animals in this cartoon.
Ebbie (1995) — There have been many versions of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, but this one is one of my favorites. It features popular TV soap star Susan Lucci as Elizabeth Scrooge, or Ebbie. It uses a popular local department store as the venue for this Christmas story, a workaholic CEO who only sees the bottom line at Christmas. I do love how the ghosts take on the form of her employees, showing her through her tortured life. Marley is especially tragic, but acting in a very business-like way, setting up her visits by the ghosts as appointments. She even offered to take them all at once on a conference call. It has all the wonderful, heart-warming messages found within the Dickens classic. It is definitely one to watch!
Well, these are my lost but not forgotten holiday classics, what’s some of yours? Let me know in the comment section about your favorite but forgotten holiday hits!Until then, Merry Christmas!