When I was growing up, television seemed to be amok with Christmas cartoons and specials. That seems to have gone by the wayside now, the exceptions being Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, and Charlie Brown. Which is why none of them appear on this list. Here, Dear Reader, I give you four Christmas themed cartoons you may have forgotten about or never seen. Whichever the case, watch them and be a kid again.
“Xmas Marks the Spot” (The Real Ghostbusters)
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by: Richard Raynis
This first season episode aired on December 6, 1986. Out on a call, the Ghostbusters are consumed by a violent winter storm which turns out to be a time portal. They’re sent back in time to 19th century London, where Ebenezer Scrooge is being plagued by the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future. They trap the ghosts, return to modern New York, and empty their catch into the Containment Unit. Unfortunately, this disrupts the event of Christmas. Egon Spengler then ventures into the Containment Unit to find the Christmas Ghosts, bring them back out, and set Christmas right again.
A Garfield Christmas
Written by: Jim Davis
Directed by : Phil Roman
This special originally aired on CBS on December 21, 1987. It was shown every year after until 2000. Now it’s only available on DVD. I think. Walmart had it as part of a Garfield holiday pack exclusive to them.
If you can find it, definitely watch it. Jon takes Garfield and Odie to the Arbuckle Farm for Christmas! It’s hilarious with a message that it’s better to give gifts than receive them. Plus Lou Rawls sings “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”, which may be better than his song for Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.
A Pinky and the Brain Christmas
Written by: Peter Hastings
Directed by: Rusty Mills
Don’t even read this. Just go to BN.com and order the first season of Pinky and the Brain on DVD. This episode is in it. It originally aired as a primetime special on the now defunct WB network on December 13, 1995.
If you don’t almost piss your pants watching this, consider therapy. As per usual, Brain has a plan to take over the world. This time it involves manufacturing millions of mind controlling devices disguised as Noodle Noggin dolls. Of course, the only factory that could possibly manage an output of this magnitude is Santa’s workshop. Pinky and the Brain catch a flight to the North Pole and are immediately captured and interrogated by Shotzie, the head elf. He believes the mice are corporate spies working for either the Easter Bunny or Hershel the Hannukah Goblin. Hilarity ensues as the mice get the dolls made, take the place of two of Santa’s reindeer (Brain: “Just act normal.” Pinky: “Mooooooo.”), and return to Acme Labs.
In the end, Brain’s plan fails epically, as always. Yet he still gets the world – in the form of a key chain. His Christmas present from Pinky.
It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special
Written by: Sherri Stone & Deanna Oliver
Directed by: Jon McClenahan
This. If you don’t actually piss your pants watching this, no degree of therapy can help you. A parody of the classic Jimmy Stewart film It’s A Wonderful Life, it originally aired as a Fox primetime special on December 6, 1992.
Buster Bunny is in charge of putting together a Christmas show at Acme Loonivesity. Unfortunately for him, everything that can go wrong, does. Fed up, he wishes he was never drawn. His guardian angel Harvey grants that wish. Buster is then shown an alternate Acme Acres in which he doesn’t exist. After seeing how much he matters, Buster takes his wish back and happily reassumes control of the show.
The inside jokes are non-stop. At one point Whoopi Goldberg shows up with Billy Crystal and says, “I’m just here for comic relief.”, a reference to the charity comedy special they used to do on HBO with Robin Williams. Speaking of which, Williams then flies by in the background dressed as Peter Pan. Another scene has Elmyra dressed up as New York socialite Leona Helmsley. Kids won’t get these jokes, but adults certainly will.
This might be the most quotable cartoon ever written. It was released on VHS, but never on DVD. Which is a shame. If any Christmas cartoon deserves to be seen year after year, it’s this crazy masterpiece.
That’s all, folks! Check them out if you want. It might be a nice vacation from Burl Ives and Snoopy.