Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown and The Grinch

It's the Season once again for great TV Specials-the kind of television programming that you sit down and thoroughly enjoy because you've sat down and thoroughly enjoyed the same Christmas specials year after year. It doesn't matter that you remember every word and every scene of each of the 20-some minute long specials. It makes no difference if you know Lucy and Linus and the others will rally around Charlie Brown's forlorn little tree and Rudolph will lead the way and Frosty will be back again some day and little Cindy Lou Who will melt the Grinch's heart. None of that matters because these characters with their flaws and defects are woven into your childhood and when it comes to Christmas we are all children once again in one way or another. We appreciate the snowman and the reindeer and little boy and selfish grinch in a deeper sense. Their presence on our TV screens affirms a meaning to Christmas that can not be bought. There's no price tag on the Christmas spirit. Nothing can top the feeling of Home and innocence and memories of being wrapped up in a blanket in your pajamas with a bowl of popcorn as the snow's falling and the tree lights glitter and you're that little kid again sitting in the living room with other family members who are just as mezmerized as you by that winter's night scene when Snoopy glides across the ice with his ears straight out and innocent voices tell you 'Christmas time is near'. There is no age limit on feeling the Wonder. The Wonder does still exist. It is ageless. It's not in the malls or on the internet. It's in our hearts.

The longevity of two of these particular Christmas specials has alot to do with one particular man who only wanted to 'bring a little happiness into everyone's life'. Screenwriter Romeo Muller adapted Rudolph and Frosty for TV Holiday specials using stop-action animation. As is the case with all four of these TV specials none were generated by a computer. There were no special effects. Charlie Brown was produced on a shoestring budget. In fact, when the higher ups saw the final Charlie Brown product they were horrified. They felt the use of a jazz soundtrack wasn't the best choice for a children's program and they weren't happy using actual children for the voice overs.  In the end, it's the storylines that count and these storylines have endured. Generations continue to fall in love with a red-nosed reindeer and jolly snowman and little boy with a skinny, little tree and a big mean grinch who turns out not to be so mean-not through the trickery of a computer but through a heartwarming story of the Season-simply told and forever enjoyed by children of all ages sitting on sofas as the snow falls and tree lights glitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment