|A WALT DISNEY CHRISTMAS (cbs, 1982)|
|Why was it such a
The classic special "Mickey's Christmas Carol," which would have debuted in 1982, instead showed up in 1983 due to an animator's strike. Disney had already shipped promotional materials hyping the special, and were locked into contract with CBS to put something in the hour reserved for them that December!
So....a few rushes down to the animation archives, a few applications of duct tape, and Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo--a placeholder special! A Walt Disney Christmas opens with shots of bulb ornaments hanging on trees and someone singing improvised lyrics: "The holidaaaays are heeere, preseeeents and....sleigh riiiiides and....stuuuuuffffff...." The rest is sewn-together material that was already completed decades ago.
There were enough pre-existing Christmas-themed Disney cartoons to fill a special....yet, oddly, they didn't use most of them. Instead, they picked several obscurer things (like the "Once Upon A Wintertime" segment of the movie Melody Time, seen above) for the weak reason that they took place around snow.
Pluto's Christmas Tree is shown here, but that's as specific as the special gets. You have Donald at a job putting things in packages (The Clock Watcher), but it wasn't intended to be a Christmas themed short.
Some things had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas at ALL and were just there to fill out time. Cinderella's fairy godmother sequence is here for the sung reason that "on Christmas dreams come true." The same rationale is used to justify putting in the scene from Peter Pan where everyone learns to fly. They could have put in the ending to Rocky if they'd owned it.
The ending scene to the special consists of closeups of old Disney wind-up toys, put to a reprise of the opening theme. These things were inserted into every Disney special of the 70's and a few in the early 80's, for brainwashing reasons. One of the only reliable ways the company had to make money back then was the selling of collectibles to Disney collectors, and they wanted to make sure more were born every day. Normally, the figures were animated via stop-motion, but there was no time for that, so here they're just zipping around on their own built-in wind-up mechanics.
Why didn't it fit in?