Christmas in July [1940]

It may not be what you think at first glance, but Classic Christmas Favorites is indeed a set of vintage holiday specials, mostly from the team of Rankin/Bass. Start with the one that's not Rankin/Bass, but is a flat-out classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), the Dr. Seuss tale about a curmudgeon who tries to stop Christmas from coming. From its Seussian zaniness to its humor to its music, Grinch is just about perfect in every way. The version included is the 2006 remastered version with Horton Hears a Who! (1970) and other material, and new for 2008 are three specials previously unavailable on DVD: The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold (1981), Pinocchio's Christmas (1980), and The Stingiest Man in Town (1978). The next most famous special is The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), a stop-motion story in which Santa (voiced by Mickey Rooney) decides to take the holiday off, only to have the movie stolen by Heat Miser and Snow Miser. The 2007 deluxe edition has some documentary material and the two specials that were on the previous DVD, Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976) and Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977). On the third disc are the cel-animated Frosty's Winter Wonderland (1976, narrated by Andy Griffith), in which Frosty gets a snow wife, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974), which uses the Clement Moore poem as an excuse to tell a story about a human and a mouse who have to make amends when an offended Santa decides not to visit their town. Finally, the stop-motion Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979) is a feature-length (105 minutes!) special that follows the reindeer and the snowman as they get jobs at a Fourth of July circus! One of the fun things about this special is how a number of the original voices return to give the programs a similar look and feel: Jackie Vernon puts in his third stint as the voice of Frosty, Billie Richards again voices Rudolph, Shelley Winters three-peats her role as Crystal (Frosty's wife), and Mickey Rooney returns as Santa. The 2008 set Classic Christmas Favorites is an updated version of 2007's Christmas Television Favorites, adding the three new specials on disc 1. A quick look at the cover may lead one to think that this is all the original Rankin/Bass specials--Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, etc. These aren't those, but they're still vintage Rankin-Bass and many people think of them just as fondly. --David Horiuchi

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Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
I've been watching you for some time, Mr. MacDonald.

Jimmy MacDonald:
Yes, sir. Used to make me kinda nervous.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
Not nervous any more?

Jimmy MacDonald:
No, sir.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
Are you a drinking man, then?

Jimmy MacDonald:
Sir?

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
This is part of your yesterday's work. I believe your number's 112.

Jimmy MacDonald:
Yes, sir.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
The Contometer Computing Machine is almost fool-proof, Mr. MacDonald. Yet, you managed to miss your total by a little matter of $11,000 on this one sheet. To what do you attribute that?

Jimmy MacDonald:
I... er... I don't know, Mr. Waterbury.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
You're familiar with simple arithmetic, aren't you ? I mean, you know the difference between addition, subtraction and... possibly even multiplication?

Jimmy MacDonald:
Yes, sir.

Jimmy MacDonald:
I'm pretty good at it.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
Have you troubles at home, then? Ya henpecked? Suffering from a broken heart? Had yer teeth examined lately? Do ya play the races? Or are you purely and simply incapable of doing your work?

Jimmy MacDonald:
Well I... I guess it's the contest, Mr. Waterbury - the Maxford House contest. I had no idea it was hurting my work.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
How much is the prize?

Jimmy MacDonald:
The *first* prize is $25,000.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
Unnh

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
I used to think about $25,000 too, and what I'd do with it. That I'd be a failure, if I didn't get a hold of it. And then one day I realized that I was *never* gonna have $25,000, Mr. MacDonald.

Mr. E.L. Waterbury:
And then another day... uhh... a little bit later - *considerably* later - I realized something else - something I'm imparting to you now, Mr. MacDonald. I'm not a failure. I'm a success. You see, ambition is all right if it works. But no system could be right where only half of 1% were successes and all the rest were failures - that wouldn't be right. I'm not a failure. I'm a success. And so are you, if you earn your own living and pay your bills and look the world in the eye. I hope you win your $25,000, Mr. MacDonald. But if you shouldn't happen to, don't worry about it. Now get the heck back to your desk and try to improve your arithmetic.

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