The 12 Days Of Obscure Xmas Movies (Day 6)

After creating the motion picture camera back in 1894, the Lumière Brothers had no idea their invention would go on to become the most important art form in history. More culturally significant than novels, paintings or songs, the motion picture is a indispensable cultural artifact that documents not only the culture and times in which it was made, making it the world’s greatest time capsule, it’s the only thing that unites us all as a people. Music comes close but music has lyrics and with that comes an instant wall that separates people. You can’t connect everyone if not everyone understands the meaning.

Silent films don’t have that problem. A well made silent comedy will give you all the information you need from visuals alone. Now, the motion picture has evolved far beyond the old black and white flicker shows of old but the sentiment is still there. A well made film can be understood purely on visuals alone and that’s why it’s the most important art form there is. It connects us all through magic. Because at the end of the day, films are, at their very core, illusions. They’re a series of pictures that, if played in rapid succession, create the illusion of motion.

They’re magic tricks.

Magic tricks that have been capturing audiences imaginations for over 100 years. Let’s honor that magic by highlighting some less than famous magicians that have sadly been forgotten by time.

This will be part of an on going segment that aims to shine a light on the forgotten and the obscure.

 

Day 6 Of The 12 Days Of Xmas: 5 Random Holiday Specials (mostly involving puppets)

When it comes to television, there’s only three things that are absolutely certain:

1. If the show has kid actors, once they stop being kids, the show will suck hardcore.

2. If the show is animated, there will be a Fantastic Voyage themed episode at some point.

3. If the show gets a second season, there will be episodes dedicated to both Christmas and Halloween.

Even though I can talk at length at how many shows went to shit after their adorable kid grew into a hideous teenager or the inexplicable phenomenon that is the Fantastic Voyage episode, you clicked this article to read about Christmas movies you’ve never heard of (and will never watch) and by god, sailor will deliver the goods.

Audiences love the Christmas episode. It’s a near universal tradition that most can relate to or at least understand on a conceptual level. The writers don’t need to explain any element because it’s ingrained into our DNA. We all know what it’s like to open up presents on Christmas day or alternatively, the hell that came with hunting down a hard to find toy (ask your parents about the Tickle Me Elmo skirmish of 96 or the Furby war two years later. Dark Times)

We’re grown up knowing all the traditions and the iconography–i.e., mistletoe, reindeer, wreaths and the like but what is more amazing, is the fact that we’re born with an almost innate sense of goodwill around that time of year. Even the biggest shit heels and assholes tone down their dickishness for at least 30 days out of the year because there’s a sort of magical aura that compels them to be good.

Or maybe they just saw some of these specials and it made them better people. Or maybe I’m just talking out of my ass because I have a word count quota I gotta hit or sailor doesn’t eat today.

 

1. The Christmas Toy

The Christmas Toy is a 1986 television film, directed by Eric Till and produced by the Jim Henson Company, featuring Jim Henson’s Muppets, including Rugby the Tiger who remembers how he was the Christmas Toy last year, and thinks he’s going to be unwrapped again this year. 

Two second summary:

Toys come alive, Kermit gets cut for legal reasons and Pixar gets away with theft yet again. And I’m pretty sure that curly headed toy gave me nightmares as a kid. Dead eyes.

 

 

2. The Great Santa Claus Switch

The Great Santa Claus Switch was a Muppet television special that first aired on CBS on December 20, 1970. The show, narrated by Ed Sullivan, begins at the North Pole with Santa Claus and his elves getting ready for another Christmas. However, Cosmo Scam has hatched a plan to kidnap Santa and take his place. As part of the plan, Cosmo plans to abduct Santa’s elves (one at a time) and replace them with his evil henchmen.

Two second summary:

Art Carney is a shitty Santa.

 

 

3. Christmas Eve On Sesame Street

Big Bird worries when Oscar tells him that if Santa Claus can’t fit down the chimney on Christmas Eve, nobody would get presents.

Two second summary:

Oscar fucks with Big Bird and there’s a lot of ice skating in this for some reason.

 

 

4. A Star Shall Rise

Story of the Three Magi’s search for the Christ child following their discovery of a new star foretold in Jewish scripture and Zoroastrain religious texts.

Two second summary:

Raymond Burr anchors a really solid retelling of the birth of Jesus. It’s by far the most obscure on this list and quite possibly the best. Definitely worth a watch.

 

 

5. Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

A poor otter family risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas.

Two second summary:

Not really obscure but if by chance you haven’t seen it, It’s the greatest Christmas special of all time. Full stop. And I could drunkingly argue that it’s the best puppet film ever made.