|A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS (cbs, 1980)|
Why was it such a misfit?
As I've pointed out in the past, Filmation would often leech off Disney by making "sequels" to fairy tales that had by sheer coincidence already been done by Disney. For example, there are the two bizarre Pinocchio movies they did, and there's also Happily Ever After, which in legal terms was the long-awaited sequel to that Filmation Snow White movie that didn't exist.
But there was also a Snow White Christmas special, which also served as a sequel to....an unnamed mysterious movie, though it took a few liberties. For example, it identified the name of Snow's kingdom as "Noel." Uh, yeah, that makes sense for a Christmas special, but it's not Christmas there all the time....
Yup....that's Snow White! With Grunyon, her one dwarf! If Filmation still expects to fool people into believing Disney made this, they missed the mark by a country mile. People may be dumb, but they're not that dumb. How are they supposed to mistake Miss Peter Pan here for the Disney variation?
Worse yet, Snow White is voiced by Lou Scheimer's daughter, and some of her line takes are so bad that she keeps emphasizing the wrong words. "Mo-ther! Fa-ther! May I play in the fes-tival for a WHILE???" is one example. A lot of effort went into that "while" of hers.
"I so love the Ice
Festival! It is so much fun!" our protagonist
manages to say.
"That Snow White can
be a handful!" says the Queen who looks almost
exactly like the Queen from He-Man.
Aha! It's about fifteen years later, and this Snow White is the progeny of the original Snow White! I guess that makes the Queen Snow White like Cranky Kong or something.
The queen tells her daughter that she is old enough to make the Royal Decree of Christmas this year. Sounds like a speech, right? In this cartoon, a Royal Decree is apparently something where you make up an idea and then everybody obeys you and makes that idea a reality. "I want to decree....that there be a special CHRISTMAS CASTLE where all the children of Noel can LAUGH and PLAY and HAVE FUUUUN!"
"Where would this
castle be, dear?" asks Snow White I.
Why would she eye that castle and see nothing wrong? Well, there's a reason.....Snow the Second knows nothing of her history or the Wicked Queen -- 'scuse me, Evil Stepmother (because Filmation got their fables confused). Snow the First made a parental blunder that's going to cost her later. But as she explains to Charming, "I can't bear to let her know of such evil!"
Everyone packs up the festival equipment and goes home, but leaves behind a.....thingy (looks like a diamond umbrella, if that makes sense). The setting sun overlaps the umbrella, which creates a magnifying heat beam that melts a large mound of snow covering an ice crystal, then the crystal itself, revealing a figure inside. As misfortune would have it....She's back, she's baaaad, and she's still determined to be the most beautiful woman in the world via killing everybody prettier than her.
She wastes no time, rushing to her cauldron and whipping up a giant blizzard spell that puts the entire kingdom of Noel on permafrost. The cold wind blasts through the castle of the Snow Whiteseses, and Snow II runs into the throne room just in time to see, to her horror, her parents turning even whiter than snow! Thanks to her shameful sheltering, the Queen only has seconds to tell her daughter who the real culprit is. "You must run from here! You must find the seven dw--"
Before she can finish her sentence, the Queen and her husband harden into ice sculptures! At first I thought people were just freezing in place, but Snow says later her parents have been "turned to ice" and acts like they're dead. So does the Mirror, who only counts the younger Snow when he tells the Stepmother she stil isn't the fairest one.
Snow and Grunyon quickly improvise a makeshift sled from a wood plank and escape downhill from the Stepmother's wrath. Eventually they reach a different area entirely, but can't stop until they crash land into a tomato.
Yes, I said a tomato, because it's a giant tomato! And at that moment, a gargantuan French fop towers over them, brandishing a fly swatter! His appearance is followed by a huge Billy Bob who stops his actions by pointing out "Gwursh sakes, they's ain't bugs, they's people!"
Snow White feels the ground rumbling and fears an earthquake. "Relax," says the fop, "that'd be the other five of us."
Have you figured it out yet? First there were seven dwarves....now there are seven giants!
They introduce themselves through song, but it's no "Hi-Ho" by any means. It's more like the DK Rap, to make a second Donkey Kong comparison.
There's Brawny, the leader
of the bunch! If he shoots ya, it's gonna hurt!
Now forget about all the other giants because Brawny is the only one who's effective in any way.
*That last one may or may not be from an old Saved by the Bell ad.
Grunyon explains the situation, and that Snow White needs a place to hide. The Giants are more than happy to oblige, take the fugitives into their cottage, and take the key out of an old cuckoo clock for Snow and Dwarf to live in.
There's no hiding from the Evil Stepmother, though. The Magic Mirror tells her exactly where she is. E.S. travels to the land of the giants, transforms into a rat, and chews her way through the door while her new giant friends are out plowing soil. What they're doing is creating mountains and rivers, like they've always done. And you thought erosion and time made those things. There's your proof of life on Mars -- so many mountains.
Snow White and Grunyon escape into the cuckoo clock, but then the Stepmother sets it on fire! Snow White, by the way, is incapable of doing anything when in trouble except hiding and cowering, so the giants have to constantly rescue her. Which they do here, for the first time of many.
The giants conclude that maybe it would be safer for Snow and Grunyon to stay with them while they work. They're digging out the canal for a river. Once the snow melts in the summer, the water will travel down from the hills and fill it. Not soon enough for the Stepmother, who melts the mountain snow herself and causes an aqua avalanche. Snow and Grunyon are only spared by riding on Brawny's axe blade.
Once the water drains away, the pair are horrified to find that the annoying giants are all dead!
What, this early? In the middle of the special? Bull-plops. They're so not, they're just lying there for...whatever reason they have. Once they get up, Snow White is thrilled and relieved, and they move on.
The wicked queen is furious when her mirror still won't tell her she's the fairest. This calls for an ultimatum! "It is time Snow White and I met......face-to-face!" I guess that time when she met her face-to-face as a rat didn't count.
The Stepmother's wholly original plan is to disguise as a giant old woman, knock on Snow's door, and offer her....no, not a poison apple, but a bouquet of flowers with poison pollen. That makes it a new idea!
As for the giants, they're back to keeping Snow White in the house again, but this time they assigned a guard. If you can believe it, they assigned HICKER. I can't see the others besides Brawny being very effective either, but putting the most easily scared guy there doesn't make logical sense.
All this time, there have been two vultures hanging around the Evil Stepmother. They were watching as she unthawed and they've been peeking through her castle window now and then as she concocted her evil plans. As best as I can guess, Filmation got this idea from the fact that when the Evil Queen plummets to her death in the 1937 film, they cut to two vultures watching with VERY interested eyes, which was Disney's way of suggesting "We can't show anything, but trust me, her guts are everywhere." That ending won't do if she's still alive, so Filmation made them her sidekicks, sort of.
The Stepmother turns the vultures into dragons to chase off Hicker, which I have to admit is cool. At the very least, she seems more powerful than the original Queen. She's not exactly Malificent, but she's been doing a wide variety of stuff, and she's not through yet.
Well, Snow White falls for it, but I expected nothing greater. The giants are peeved at the Evil Stepmother and chase her up the mountain to her castle. Sounding familiar? Well, wait'll you see what E.S. has in store for the giants....once they reach her fortress, she instantly zaps up SEVEN GIANT DEMONS to DESTROY THEM! She learned from her past encounter with the Dwarfs! Take THIS, Dopey!
So how do the giants get past the demons? They don't. The solution to this is the most head-bangingly stupid moment in the entire cartoon. I know that's saying a lot, but listen to this: the giant who saves the day is Hicker. And how does he? By getting really, really scared and hiccuping so loud and frequently that he causes an earthquake, making the Stepmother's castle topple into rubble. THAT'S the climactic payoff.
The demons vanish back to their realm in the chaos, and the Stepmother complains to the Magic Mirror that she's not powerful enough. "Too late you acknowledge that I am the source of your power!" scolds Mirror. "The darkness that is now consuming me shall also consume you! We are one and the same!" Isn't that convenient. When the Mirror breaks, the Stepmother evaporates, and the castle completely collapses. The spell over Noel expires, and every ice statue becomes flesh once more.
That takes care of nearly everything except Snow White. As was covered previously, only the kiss of true love can cure poison in Fairy Tale Land, and this special never introduced a love interest for Snow at any point! Her mother and father weep; is there no hope?
Well, never mind -- looks like a peck on the eyeballs from her parents will work just as potently. NOW everything's solved! Except for this problem: Snow observes that "if the castle on the hill has been destroyed, I can't make my Royal Decree now!"
Oh, wait again -- while she was sleeping, the giants rebuilt the castle, so she can do that even. Flawlessly perfect endings for all!
Why didn't it fit in?
I've looked at a lot of material from around 1980 lately, and I have to say, I now have more sympathy for poor Sam and Lindsay Weir than I did before. If there'd been something better for Lindsay to watch, maybe she wouldn't have fallen in with the wrong crowd.