When two of my favorite things come together.
I know that I promised a Bewitched Christmas episode, but I changed my mind and went with this one instead. For you Bewitched fanatics this one does have the second Darrin playing a major role.
Steve Austin gives Oscar a present and then screws up because he gets an assignment right before Christmas. What a Bionic hothead. Steve goes to inspect the operations at a contractor named Budge (Ray Walston-My favorite Martian, Fast times at Ridgemont high). He’s a real grumpy pants and all around not so nice guy. He looks like he lives off skunk cabbage and old pickles. After an accident at the plant Steve starts looking at records to see what is going on here. Although Budge is not dishonest he is very cheap to the extreme and gets his standards for his company just above passing. Steve uses his powers to crush Budge to dust…just kidding. Budge also treats his employees like dirt including Bob Crandall ( Dick Sargent-Bewitched). After seeing how stubborn and nasty Budge is Steve decides to use his powers to try and
manipulate influence the nasty old guy. Budge gets sick from taking too much of his medicine-serves you right, Mr. Awful. Steve uses a ten buck Santa suit and his Bionic powers to show the tightwad the error of his ways and what could be if he keeps on being a butthole. Budge ends the nastiness and starts being nice. Steve fixes Oscars present when he gets back to the office. Hooray! Roll the holly jolly credits.
The negatives- There’s no menacing robots, super spies or bigfoot in this one so some fans may not be thrilled by it. Given the plot you know there is less action here than in a normal episode.
The positives-In addition to Walston and Sargent other familiar faces include Antoinette Bower as Mrs. Crandall. You know her from Prom Night and lots of episodes of shows including Star Trek and the Twilight Zone. Two of the three Crandall kids weren’t far off from being on shows they would be known for. Little Adam Rich would be Eight is enough in less than a year and Quinn Cummings would end up on Family for two seasons. Other 70’s shows like Sanford and son and The Odd Couple would do Christmas Carol episodes, but they comedies so it was a little more unusual for an action show to try it. It’s kind of corny, but decent. Ray Walston helps the role greatly. I also liked the scene where Steve is buying toys in a makeshift store. We see Lincoln Logs, a Jaws game and right behind Steve is a Six Million Dollar Man action figure. Also at least the try to make it look like Winter with appropriate trees and all. I watching a Christmas episode of Dennis the menace recently and they acting like it was cold as they went past trees filled with leaves. Come on, at least try and make it look cold. Overall a decent episode of the Six Million Dollar Man.
There I was completely wasting, out of work and down. All inside it’s so frustrating as I drift from town to town. Such is the life of a famous animated villain such as myself. However this column is not about me, but about this month’s animated villain. For the month of December it is…
We survived Christmas and had a good holiday. One of my cats tried to “help” unwrap the presents when we put them under the tree around 3:30 AM. So I spent the rest of the night sleeping on the couch to protect the presents from the cats. Fortunately my son got up around 7AM instead of his usual 5:30 AM on Christmas. The kids were pleased-my daughter asked for a sewing machine and that’s what she got while my son wanted Lego movie Lego sets so he got two of those. My wife also got a sewing machine because she wants to learn sewing again with my daughter. I got season one of the 1966 Batman series, some Star Wars coffee mugs and a Guardians of the Galaxy shirt. We watched some Christmas shows throughout the day and dinner at my dads. So it went well. Hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas themed reviews here the last couple of weeks. I will be wrapping up a few reviews over the next week as well as announcing a few projects I hope to accomplish. As always feel free to make any suggestions for topics or features you think I should keep. Looking forward to keeping the blog going in 2015!
1-Mice can talk.
2-Town council members always look bored.
3-Mice can wear clothing.
4-Writing a mean letter to the editor about Santa will screw your whole town over.
5-Mice can wear glasses.
6-Building a giant clock tower can be done really fast.
7-A curious mouse can screw up a new clock tower fast.
8-If your clock tower fails once the whole town will hate you.
9-Mice can set everything straight for a whole town.
10-Santa looks like a pig with a white beard.
This Rankin-Bass half hour production was loosely based on the famous poem. I tend to prefer the stop motion specials from Rankin-Bass over their animated shows. The story is good with it’s theme of faith. There are only three songs, but they are solid. The animation isn’t fantastic (so many people with buck teeth and a weird looking Santa) but it’s passable. Some people absolutely love this one. I think it’s more on the level of being good, but not essential.
Santa feels like dog pooey and that combined with rumors of people no longer believing in him makes him think he should skip Christmas this year. Mrs. Claus sends elves Jingle Bells and Jangle Bells along with young reindeer Cupid down to southtown to see people care about Christmas. Wait, she send two muddleheads and a little deer to a hot area with people who don’t like Santa? Shame on you, Mrs. Claus. So the elves lose Vixen in Southtown, they get laughed at generally just screw things up. Santa finds out what is going on and sick or not he goes after them. He meets this kid who doesn’t believe in Santa, but his parents do. Blah, blah, blah, Santa, elves, Vixen, Southtown – you and I all know we watch this one for two reasons…Snowmiser and Heatmiser. So let’s get to them then. The people of Southtown will believe in Santa if it’s snows there so if Heatmiser let’s Snowmiser bring snow there it would help Santa, but the miser brothers argue. So Mrs. Claus gets their mom Mother Nature to order her boys to cooperate. That’s all well and good but after the peak of this show is before that when the miser’s do their songs – oh yeah!. Everything works out, the south gets snow, Santa perks up and everything gets back to normal and you know you’ll rewind to watch the misers do their songs again.
It’s like a collage of the shapes creating a little scene in the bottlecap. I think that I put some of photos of them on my pinterest page if you want to look at that. I ‘m having trouble looking at it with this slow connection. I’m not sure how we should word it in the description, but it would be a Spring scene. Or they are welcome to bring their own photos to make one with a personal picture. Maybe we should make two. One like the traditional way and the other as the collage- Spring scene.
The negatives- Not a whole lot.
The positives-I think this one is underrated. Rudolph is better, but I prefer this one to Santa Claus is comin’ to town and the Little drummer boy. Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth are very good as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. As a fan of the inimitable Dick Shawn I’d have to see he was great as Snow Miser. The show looks great, the pace is good and the story works out. I actually watch this at least twice every year around Christmas.
This Grinch person lives up on a mountain with his dog Max. He is fond eating onions, rubbing them on his pits and scaring off teenagers. So he’s kind of like an old geezer only greener. However this Grinch likes to sneak into the village and cause trouble as he vandalizes vehicles and messes with the mail. He runs into a girl name Cindy Lou Who and wraps her like a present for daring to think he has a shred of niceness in him. Ewww take that! After her run in with the Grinch our little Cindy Lou starts talking to people. Hey look there’s a backstory on this Grinch. He liked this girl, but another Who wait who? Oh the Who that is now the mayor that’s who. Well, the now Mayor was a little Who and he made fun of the Grinch for a bad shaving job. So the Grinch was bullied and treated like dirt when he was little and he ran up the mountain and became mean. Wow what a
bunch of rubbish fascinating insight into the Grinch’s mind. Meanwhile the Grinch chews on glass and talks to himself like a lot. Cindy Lou gets the not so wise idea to invite the Grinch to the village’s big celebration. The mayor and others think it’s a horrible idea, but they go with it thinking he won’t show. Only he does so he gets shoved through all kinds of fast moving events-some funny, some gross and some just plain odd. Eventually he gets made fun of again and is given a razor, he gets mad again so he causes more vandalism and hateful crimes before departing. The town blames Cindy Lou and her dad for daring to be nice. Hold on wasn’t this movie supposed to be based on a book of some sorts? Oh, right lets cram that part from the book in where the Grinch takes everything. That sets it straight now it’s kind of based on the book. So the Grinch is off to dump all that Christmas stuff and end the happiness of the Whos. Wouldn’t you know it Cindy Lou Who has stowed away on the sleigh? Oh no so they go a wild ride before the Grinch saves her and the Christmas stuff and takes it all backs to the Who. He admits his crimes – overacting, theft, overacting, breaking into Who houses, overacting and other stuff. They decide not press charges. The Grinch gets the love of his life and is accepted at last. Let loose the rainbows and unicorns and roll the credits.
The negatives- I guess it boils to the cartoon was perfect so why make another version? Well to make money of course. So to take a children’s book and make it have enough going on for a feature length film you have to add some parts. I get that, but most of the added parts here tend to change the characters in ways that don’t appeal to me. The Grinch goes from being a simplistic sourpuss to having a grudge which makes him a little less likable for me. However I think the change that bothers me the most is the Whos. In the cartoon and book they already know the true meaning of Christmas and teach it to others. In this film most of them are a mess and it takes numerous disasters and near misses to make them grudgingly change. Maybe that makes them more like us, but I preferred it when they already knew what was important. Oh and Jim Carey rattles on way too much. He’s like a little kid on a sugar rush only grumpier.
The positives-Visually it has some real moments. I probably prefer the snow scenes and the Grinches lair to Whoville, but overall it looks good. Although I think the Grinch’s problems as a tike wasn’t a great storyline I did like the casting of Jeffrey Tambor and Christine Baranski as the the characters who were part of that piece. Carey has some moments as the Grinch as I smile when he rubs the onion under his pits and has his head clanged between the cymbols of a giant toy monkey.
As a whole it’s just alright. I watch it with the kids around Christmas every year, but we always enjoy the cartoon a lot more.
“My life used to be good, now it’s just stinky.”
“My future involves a cheap looking skeleton-aieeeee!”
This fella named Scrooge is a hard working type who gets taken advantage by lazy bums. Oh, no wait Scrooge is actually supposed to be in the wrong here-you mean old miser you. He grumps at his employee Bob Cratchet, then he grumps at some guys wanting money and he grumps at people that owe him money. Wow, what a fun movie it’s all about an about old geezer being sour. Then people just break out in song for no obvious reason. Oh that must mean this is a musical. Apparently this Scrooge doesn’t like music either because the songs sure aren’t helping his mood any. He is not too easily scared either as his door knocker turns into a face and he sees a ghostly carriage driver yet still remains unruffled. Maybe ghosts were commonplace in 19th century England. He doesn’t get much sleep as his old business partner Jacob Marley shows up for a visit. Hey that’s great, oh wait he died years ago so not so great. This ghost tells Scrooge he will be visited by even more ghosts. I’m sure keeping an old grump up more with ghostly visits will surely help his mood. The first ghost is a woman who shows Scrooge how he used to be kind of nice and then became greedy and turned his life into a miserable suck fest. The second ghost shows up to get Scrooge drunk, show him that he’s missing out by not visiting with his nephew and that he’s causing his employee grief by being such a miser. The third ghost shows Scrooge a life where people sing and are happy and um well all that is because Scrooge dies and all the people that owe him money are happy and celebrate his death. He even goes to hell and see what a not so wonderful place it is. So he chooses to come back and be good and wonderful to people. This results in him running and singing through town dressed as Santa just like we’d all do as an alternative to going to hell. So he is a changed man and will be good from now on.
The negatives-If you don’t like musicals you may not be thrilled by this one. This was actually a bit of a box office failure when it came out. Then again so was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory when it came out a year later. So maybe movie goers in the early 70’s didn’t know a good musical when they saw it. The scene in hell always seemed a little out of place to me and actually this scene used to be cut out of the film when it came on TV-not sure if that was because of content or time constraints.
The positives-Albert Finney does a fine job as Scrooge and the make-up was top notch making him look 25 plus years older than he was. The songs are mostly strong and performed well. The standout is likely Anton Rogers as soup man Ton Jenkins leading “Thank you very much” over the dead body of Scrooge. The sets are visuals are memorable as well. The toy store in particular always drew me in.
When I was in 6th grade we took a school field trip to see this in the movies around Christmas and I loved it. It was a re-release then as it was 11 years old when I first saw it, but I have enjoyed it ever since.
Look out, there’s a Christmas musical coming down main street.