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15 Forgotten Christmas Specials

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15 Forgotten Christmas Specials

From generations past!

By Tim Janson     December 07, 2012
Source: Mania.com

For over 40 years Charlie Brown, Rudolph, The Grinch, and Frosty have visited our homes every holiday season like old friends.  Kids who grew up watching these holiday specials during the 1960s and 1970s have been able to share them with their kids and even their grandchildren.  But for every “A Charlie Brown Christmas” there are dozens of other holiday specials that were shown once, or maybe a couple of times, but never quite became annual classics.  Some of these are good and a few even great.  Others?  Well there’s a reason they disappeared.  They have been relegated to the dustbins of our memory.  But today we revive those lost holiday treats as we present the Top 15 Forgotten Holiday Specials!
 

15)  A Family Circus Christmas (1979)  Based upon cartoonist Bill Keane’s long-running comic strip.  Jeffy asks Santa to bring home his Grandpa for Christmas who is Up in Heaven. 

 
14) A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987).  Stop-motion animator Will Vinton’s California Raisins were all the rage for a short time in the 1980s and cashed in their popularity in this 1987 special.
 

 
13) Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus (1974).  This animated special was Directed by Bill Melendez, best known for directing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as well as numerous other Peanuts cartoons.  
 

 
12) The Smurfs Christmas Special (1982).  The Smurfs were the hottest thing in Saturday Morning cartoons in the early 1980s.  The special first aired on NBC and has been known to show up on the Boomerang Network.  Produced by Hanna-Barbera.
 

 
11) Noel (1992).  Noel is a 1992 Christmas special about a Christmas ornament that brings joy to the lives of the families that owns it.  Narrated by Charlton Heston.
 

 
10) The Stingiest Man in Town (1978).  The Stingiest Man in Town is an animated version of A Christmas Carol, produced by Rankin/Bass and originally broadcast on ABC on December 23, 1978. The musical special features the voices of Walter Matthau as Ebenezer Scrooge and Tom Bosley as the narrating insect, B.A.H. Humbug, Esq.
 

 
9) A Very Merry Cricket (1973).  A Very Merry Cricket is a 1973 animated special directed by the great Warner Bros. animator, Chuck Jones.  It was a sequel to their acclaimed adaptation of A Cricket In Times Square and was followed by another holiday sequel Yankee Doodle Cricket.

 
8) B.C. A Christmas Special (1981) Based upon Johnny hart’s long-running comic strip about lovable cavemen, B.C. seemed the perfect strip to become an animated series or at least have a string of successful specials but it never happened.

 
7) Yogi’s First Christmas (1980).  This Hanna-Barbera mash-up not only features Yogi and Boo Boo but also Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy. Watch a clip here!
 
6) Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales (1979).  This Warner Bros/Looney Tunes holiday special featured three all-new cartoons: Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol, Freeze Frame featuring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and Fright Before Christmas with Bugs, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn leghorn, Pepé LePew, and Taz.

 
5) The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).  There’s a reason this monstrosity has only aired once, thank The Force.  Onboard the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca and Han Solo are on their way to Kashyyyk to be with Chewbacca's family for, ahem, “Life Day”, a Wookiee holiday.  We proceed to get two hours of crap that would turn the Grinch mean again.

 

 
4) A Garfield Christmas (1987).  Jim Davis’ comic strip about an irascible cat comes to life as John and Garfield head to the country for an old fashioned Christmas with John’s family.

 

 
3) A Pinky and the Brain Christmas (1995).  As Pinky is writing a letter to Santa, the Brain is once again plotting to take over the world.  This time he plans on getting his Noodle Noggin doll into every home in the world where it will broadcast his hypnotic orders.

 

 

2) A Beavis and Butthead Christmas (1995).  Mike Judge’s MTV sensations got into the Christmas spirit with this holiday special.  In “Huh Huh Humbug” Beavis, now the Scrooge-like manager of Burger World, is visited by a trio of ghosts - Tom Anderson, Mr. Van Driessen and Coach Buzzcut - while trying to watch a porno.  In “It’s a Miserable Life” Butt-head is visited by his guardian angel, who shows him that everyone in Highland would have had a better life if he was never born. 

 

1) Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962).  There are those that firmly believe that the greatest adaptation of the Charles Dickens story is not the 1951 version with Alastair Sim nor the 1984 version with George C. Scott, but rather the 1962 animated version starring the severely near-sighted Magoo voiced by Jim Backus.  The rights were recently purchased by Dreamworks Animation and it is set to return to TV this year.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 25
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vagabondster 12/7/2012 6:59:31 AM

 Just out of morbid curiosity..I've never seen it and wonder if there's anyone who actually did like the Star Wars Holiday Special?

jedibanner 12/7/2012 7:30:00 AM

I like it...seriously. As a kid, when the first movie came out, what kid didn't want to see more of SW? Who cares if it was all over the map, it was fun to see the characters in new environments and just see more of SW.

Obviously, the acting, story and special effects are horrible but I think it doesn't take away what it meant as a kid discovering the SW universe.

monkeyfoot 12/7/2012 7:36:14 AM

Cricket in Time Square was one of the greatest animated specials I ever saw as a kid. I kind of remember the Merry Cricket special, too. I've never heard of the Yankee Doodle one. I'll have to make a point of looking at all of them on Youtube when I'm at home.

Roqueja 12/7/2012 7:36:51 AM

The Star Wars Holiday Special was stunningly bad on all levels.  The only good thing to come of it was seeing Boba Fett in the cartoon before his big screen debut in Empire Strikes Back.  You should be able to find chunks of it on Youtube.

Wyldstaar 12/7/2012 7:45:35 AM

I was only seven when the SW Holiday Special was broadcast.  Even at that age, it was awful.  The first ten minutes is nothing but a trio of Wookies grunting at one another.  I spent most of the special playing with legos, waiting for it to get good.  Instead, it kept getting worse.  Eventually the cartoon came on, and that was pretty good, but then it goes right back to utter crap.  Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia are barely in it at all.  It's mainly the Wookie family and a string of humans who were on every 70's variety show.  Art Carney, Harvey Corman, Bea Arthur, etc.

ElBaz13 12/7/2012 8:13:21 AM

Agree Jedibanner. I was a kid when the Star Wars Christmas special came out and loved it. Keep in mind, this was before the VHS home video era and Star Wars did not have broadcasting rights on major networks. The only real Star Wars fix was this special. Yeah sure, looking at it today, it totally sucks but back then. It was a treat just to see all of the characters on the small screen no matter what they did.

I love this list and seen most of these specials as a kid as i was a Christmas special junkie but being Canadian, there are two missing from the list which I'm not sure you guys down south are familiar with. The Raccoons Christmas (this was the first airing of a Raccoons cartoon, a Canadian thing) and of course the cool Nelvana-produced A Cosmic Christmas.

A Pink Christmas (1978) with Pink Panther is also a very good, forgotten one.

monkeyfoot 12/7/2012 8:19:51 AM

Hey, isn't a two hour poorly written, wookie-laden, bad FX special with ho-hum guest stars and only short cameos by the SW actors worth it to hear Princess Leia sing the Life Day Song!?!?!?

DarthBob 12/7/2012 9:17:12 AM

I agree with ElBaz, what was a Star Wars junkie kid supposed to do back in the day?  I loved the SW Christmas Special as a kid because of that.  I remember when Splinter in the Minds Eye came out, I read it in one sitting.  We didn't have all the expanded universe stuff that's available today.  I cut GL some slack on the Christmas Special; although poorly executed it did provide us with a fix and introduced the Boba Fett to all the Star Wars geeks of the day.

jackwagon 12/7/2012 10:04:17 AM

 Anyone else see the irony of including the Star Wars Christmas Special on a "Forgotten Christmas Special" list, considering we all remember how terrible it was?

fenngibbon 12/7/2012 10:28:07 AM

 I'm freaking out, because I remember the cricket one, but I could never seem to come up with the right phrasing to find it in any searches.  THANK YOU!  This page is getting bookmarked.

 

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol used to be on every year, and I could swear it was on last year.  Fortunately, I have it on DVD, along with Santa and the Three Bears.  

 

Does anyone remember a cartoon involving three aliens who land in a small town in the U.S. to inquire after the Star of Bethlehem?  And there was another cartoon about a town that forgot Christmas until a travelling woodcarver came.  For some reason the names Benjy and Waldo come to mind when I think of that one.

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