In this Special Holiday Top-Five, I’ll be counting down the Top-Five Christmas Specials, Let’s take a look at what made the list:
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Good Grief! Making it to Number Five is A Charlie Brown Christmas, this was the first special that was based on Charles Schultz Comic Strip Peanuts. Released on December 5th, 1969, this special was Commissioned, and Sponsored by the Coca Cola Company, while this was produced on a budget in six months; it would receive the highest ratings and critic acclaims. It would also go onto winning an Emmy Award and Peabody Award, plus becoming an annual tradition to air on Broadcast Stations, up until recently when Apple TV+ acquired exclusive rights to all Peanuts-related media. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple TV+ must make A Charlie Brown Christmas and two other holiday specials (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) available for free on the platform during a three-day window. After mounting criticism Apple announced a deal with PBS to resume the annual broadcast tradition. In accordance with most PBS affiliates’ non-commercial educational licenses, the special was presented on PBS without commercial interruption.
A Boy named Charlie Brown questions the meaning of Christmas, if it has lost its true meaning from all the commercialism.
A Chipmunk Christmas
Coming in at Number Four is A Chipmunk Christmas. Premiering on December 14th, 1981 on NBC, nine years after the death of the Creator of Alvin and The Chipmunks, Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. his son Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. would take up where his father left off and the first time voice as David Seville, Alvin and Simon; it would also be Janice Karman‘s first time voicing as Theodore. While it was produced and written by Ross Bagdasarian Jr. And Janice Karman, the animation would be handled by Chuck Jones Enterprises.
A Boy named Tommy was ill and told that recovering from his illness by Christmas was bleak. Alvin and his brothers prepare for a concert at Carnegie Hall, Alvin soon learns the meaning of Christmas.
The Nutcracker Prince
Number three is Warner Bros. The Nutcracker Prince, a Canadian Animated Film that was released by Warner Bros Pictures, based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann and also influenced by its ballet adaptation The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s music to that ballet is used as the main instrumental soundtrack. While it received negative reviews at the Box Office, it was one of many iterations of the Nutcracker in Media and Film.
Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration
Number Two is Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration. It debuted on December 21st, 1987 on CBS right after another classic that is an honorable mention for the Top Five Holiday list and that was A Garfield Christmas. While the pair aired back to back for the next couple of years, Will Vinton (executive producer/director), David Altschul (producer), and Ralph Liddle (writer) would receive a Prime Time Emmy in 1988 for Outstanding Animated Program.
Rex and Herb, Two Prehistoric Dinosaurs guide you along with a typical small town’s Christmas choral celebration. There’s just one catch, the entire town population is made out of clay. Special guest stars: the California Raisins!
Rankin/Bass Christmas Film Franchise
Finally, here we are at Number One, with it is the Rankin/ Bass Christmas Film Franchise, like A Charlie Brown Christmas the Rankin/Bass Christmas Films such as Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman has been broadcast on television stations for years and has become an honored tradition. Rankin/Bass’ stop-motion features are recognizable by their visual style of doll-like characters with spheroid body parts, and ubiquitous powdery snow using an animation technique called “Animagic“. Often, traditional cel animation scenes of falling snow would be projected over the action to create the effect of a snowfall. Animagic was created in Tokyo, Japan. Throughout the 1960s, the Animagic productions were headed by Japanese stop-motion animator Tadahito Mochinaga at his studio, MOM Production. He was credited for his supervision as “Tad Mochinaga”.
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