As an alternative to the usual yuletide TV fare, we’ve put together a few festive goodies that should nicely compliment the egg nog, gingerbread cookies and (eek) fruit cake.
First up is a cartoon from the studio that gave us Frankenstein, Dracula and other monsters we know and love, Universal. It’s Toyland Premiere, a 1934 cartoon directed by Walter Lantz (creator of Woody Woodpecker). There’s a bit of a disconnect seeing the elegant glass globe of Universal Pictures introduce this unassuming Oswald the Rabbit cartoon, it’s a little like seeing MGM’s Leo the Lion introduce an episode of Clutch Cargo.
Next up is Spunky the Snowman from Russia, picked up in 1958 by foreign film distributor Saul J. Turell, soon to be president of Janus films. Turell was an unsung film proponent, producing essential sixties TV fare such as Silents Please, a weekly celebration of silent films hosted by Ernie Kovacs and Hollywood, The Golden Years narrated by Gene Kelly.
Seasin’s Greetinks is a 1933 Popeye cartoon from Paramount Pictures and the Fleischer Brothers. William Costello and Bonnie Poe provide the voices for Popeye and Olive Oyl (later that same year Mae Questel would take over as Olive).
Mae Questel shows up again as Little Audrey in 1947’s Santa’s Surprise along with Popeye himself, Jack Mercer, providing a few of the peripheral voices.
Last and definitely not least, a few of the commercials you’d see interspersed between Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown and the other perennials.
The original promo for A Charlie Brown Christmas
A cheerfully clueless yuletide commercial for Lucky Strikes
The greatest use ever of Polybutadiene and Polybutene Polymor, Glass Wax Stencils!
And finally, the original GE Commercials for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.