CHRISTMAS CARTOON FESTIVAL (TV)

Summary

A collection of various Christmas-themed short cartoons produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

The first cartoon, “The Great Toy Robbery,” is a Canadian short animated film about Santa Claus in the Old West. Santa rides on a sleigh through the desert and is pursued by a trio of robbers. They get him to hand over his sack full of toys, and head into a nearby saloon, where the patrons are petrified with fear at their arrival. They set about playing with the stolen toys until a cowboy enters; they refuse to let him play with him and run him out of the saloon. Santa and the local sheriff enter the saloon to recover the toys and a gunfight ensues. The cowboy accidentally knocks the robbers unconscious, thus saving the day. Santa allows him to select a toy from his sack as a reward, and he picks a toy car to replace his disobedient horse.

The second cartoon, “The Sweater,” is an animated version of a childhood memoir by novelist Roch Carrier. In the winter of 1946, young Roch was a great hockey fan, particularly of Maurice Richard, star player for the Montreal Canadiens. He and his friends make it a point to dress in his jersey and emulate Richard however they can. One day, Roch’s jersey sweater becomes too ragged for him to wear, and his mother orders him a new sweater from a clothing catalog. However, the company accidentally sends the wrong sweater, one belonging to the Canadiens’ rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Roch is horrified and vows not to wear it, as it would make him the laughing-stock of his friends. However, his mother insists that he wear it and guilt-trips him into accepting. When he tries to play hockey with his friends, they contrive reasons to forbid him from playing, angered that he would wear a differing sweater from them. He loses his temper and breaks his hockey stick on the ice, and a passing priest chastises him for losing his temper and sends him into the nearby church to pray. He asks God to send down moths to eat up his sweater.

The third cartoon, “The Story of Christmas,” is an animated retelling of the birth of Christ. The story begins as God sends down an angel to give Mary a flower, and she soon becomes pregnant via immaculate conception. She and her husband Joseph attempt to secure a room for her to give birth in, but are turned away at every opportunity. They take refuge in a manger, and she gives birth to her son surrounded by farm animals. An angel arrives and announces to shepherds in the surrounding fields that the child has been born. The shepherds and their sheep journey towards a shining star guiding the way to the manger, as do a trio of foreign kings, each bearing gifts. The assembled party arrives at the manger to pay homage to the child.

The fourth cartoon, “The Magic Flute/La Flute Magique” is an animation about a group of children playing with a reality-warping flute. The story begins as a young boy in a large ice castle discovers a flute which plays notes as the howling wind blows through it. He tries playing it and finds that it is magical, able to alter the environment around him in any way he chooses. He and his friends try out the flute and warp reality in a number of different ways until another boy steals the flute and attacks them before running off. He uses the flute to create a massive storm filled with terrifying monsters. However, he soon becomes frustrated when he removes all color from the world, and abandons the flute. Another child finds the flute and restores the color, using the flute for jovial purposes once again.

The fifth cartoon, “Lucretia,” based on the poem of the same name, is about a devil who visits earth for Christmas. In the middle of hell a small girl named Lucretia lives, mocked by her siblings for maintaining her beauty and pleasant disposition while the rest of them degenerate into horrid forms. Every Christmas, hell is sealed up while angels go about the earth, but Lucretia gets curious and decides to try to visit earth one Christmas. She manages to slip by Gabriel, the angel assigned to watch over the gate to hell. She tumbles through the universe until she gets to earth, where she crashes into a massive procession of angels circled around the globe. She lands in Montreal, where she is taken in out of the snow by a confused old man. Lucretia asks the old man about how to “make” Christmas, and he tells her that they require a tree. Lucretia conjures a massive Christmas tree complete with decorations, and she produces much more for the old man in accordance with his wishes, including a stove, furniture, food, and clothes. They enjoy a Christmas dinner together and Lucretia must return from whence she came, but she promises to come back next Christmas.

The sixth cartoon, “Christmas Cracker,” consists of several segments hosted by a bizarre jester-like figure. The first features a pair of animated characters dancing to the song “Jingle Bells.” The second is a stop-motion animated segment featuring various toys and action figures. The third segment consists of an animated figure attempting to put the finishing touches on his Christmas tree, culminating in a journey to outer space.

The seventh cartoon, “The Energy Carol,” is an animated parody of “A Christmas Carol” involving the energy crisis. Mr. Stooge, a gas and electricity mogul, is happy that his products are so widely used, especially during Christmas time. He is unresponsive to complaints about the looming energy crisis and refuses to turn down his thermostat or conserve any power. Stooge goes to his extravagant home, festooned with Christmas decorations, and falls asleep preparing his presents for his friends and family. That night in bed, Stooge is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marlite, who now resembles a ghostly pig. He notes that his appearance reflects his behavior in life, and that Stooge will be visited by three ghosts, who will try to help him change his ways and avoid the same fate. He also reveals that he is chained to an enormous toaster, which goes off and rains down giant slices of toast on the both of them. Stooge is then confronted with “The Spirit of Energy Past,” a gigantic lit candle. It shows him visions from his past, when his grandfather discovered vast fields of oil and his father capitalized on it. However, as he was dying his grandfather urged him to set aside enough land for proper agriculture. The ghost completely melts, and in its place the “Ghost of Energy Present” arrives, and causes various objects to speak to Stooge to urge him to conserve his energy usage, including his light switch, gas pedal, and furnace. The ghost leaves, and in its place the Ghost of Energy Future arrives, taking Stooge to a future where the city and his power company have long-since been abandoned. The ghost explains that their supply of fossil fuels ran out due to unchecked growth, and that there wasn’t time to develop alternative fuel sources. The ghost also shows Stooge his grave, which features him frozen in a large contraption, but the power supply goes out and interrupts his preservation. Stooge vows to change his ways so that this future will never come about, and returns to the present, where he becomes more frugal and less wasteful with his power usage, although he takes his new attitude to a dangerous extreme and overworks his staff.

Details

  • NETWORK:
  • DATE:
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:02:28
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 108070
  • GENRE: Animation
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Animation
  • SERIES RUN:
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

  • For "The Great Toy Robbery"
  • Tom Daly … Executive Producer
  • Robert Verrall … Producer
  • Wolf Koenig … Producer
  • Jeffrey Hale … Director, Animation
  • Cameron Guess … Animation
  • Don Douglas … Music by
  • Richard Gilbert … Voice
  • For "The Sweater"
  • Derek Lamb … Executive Producer
  • Marrin Canell … Producer
  • David Verrall … Producer
  • Sheldon Cohen … Director, Animation
  • Robert Doucet … Animation
  • Roch Carrier … Narrator
  • Jean-Guy Moreau … Voice
  • Maurice Richard
  • For "The Story of Christmas"
  • Evelyn Lambert … Director, Animation
  • Karl du Plessis … Music by
  • For "The Magic Flute"
  • Derek Lamb … Executive Producer
  • Gayle Thomas … Director
  • Keith Tedman … Composer
  • For "Lucretia"
  • Douglas MacDonald … Executive Producer
  • Eunice Macaulay … Producer
  • Heidi Blomkvist … Director, Animation
  • Peter Desbarats … Writer, Based on a poem by
  • Normand Roger … Music by
  • Damir Andrei … Narrator
  • For "Christmas Cracker"
  • Jeff Hale … Director
  • Gerald Potterton … Director
  • Norman McLaren … Director
  • Grant Munro … Director
  • Eldon Rathburn … Music by
  • Maurice Blackburn … Music by
  • For "The Energy Carol"
  • Wolf Koenig … Executive Producer
  • Sidney Goldsmith … Producer
  • Les Drew … Director
  • Pino Vanlamsweerde … Animation
  • Robert Browning … Animation
  • John F. Weldon … Animation
  • Robert Doucet … Animation
  • Blake James … Animation
  • Grant Munro … Voice
  • Gerald Budner … Voice
  • George Geersten … Voice
  • Don Arioli … Voice
  • Les Drew … Voice
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