austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

That's where we fit in!

One of the things I talked about with my sister-in-law was a fresh horror I'd discovered in watching Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Rankin-Bass take, this year. Rankin-Bass specials are surprisingly fertile nightmare fuel, considering what warm nostalgia they induce in people, but when you actually get to looking at them ... well. Here's one I hadn't noticed before.

In the tag, Santa returns to the Island of Misfit Toys, picks them up, and brings them to promising new homes. This is shown under the closing credits with a toy squirming out of the bag, and one of the elves giving him an umbrella, and helping him jump overboard to float down to wherever his new home is. There's the spotted elephant, cute, and then, aw, the bird comes out and the elf starts giving the umbrella, then shakes his head, and tosses the bird overboard. Cute and funny, right?

Except. Why was the bird doll on the Island of Misfit Toys?

Because it was a bird that couldn't fly!

It was one that swam, not flew. So it logically plummeted to horrible death.

You might say maybe they weren't that high up? No, they're shown, just above, the cloud cover, and it's on a night of the most horrible weather in years. Above water, so it could swim? What kid has a home in the water?

My sister-in-law was suitably horrified, the moreseo because she's been noticing how many horrible things lurk not so far under the surface of many of the classic Christmas specials. A Charlie Brown Christmas particularly worried her as everyone was so horrible to each other in it. Her daughter wasn't so worried. I do like, though, that there are all these rough edges in the older generation of Christmas specials; newer ones just feel so thoroughly thought-out there's no room to notice things that shock you later. Good stuff often has a few jagged edges.

Trivia: Max Fleischer produced the 1944 cartoon version of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the Jam Handy organization of Detroit. Source: The Fleischer Story, Leslie Cabarga. Come to think of it, I still wonder why Jam Handy, which mostly made educational films, did a purely entertainment cartoon. Who did they figure to sell it to?

Currently Reading: The Zipper: An Exploration In Novelty, Robert Friedel. And, against my expectations, the tailor/cobbler at the mall was so able to fix my broken zipper tab. But she warned the zipper, not just the tabs, would likely break soon, so be careful.

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