Some Christmas Cheer, early this year…
I really like dusting off the Christmas Boxes each year, and even though we haven’t done that yet this year, I hope that we can sometime in the next week or so. The best thing is pulling out the Christmas cards, especially the personalized ones from friends, and putting a few favorites up on the mantel.
I feel like pulling out the films is similar, although these days I don’t have a chance to run them at family gatherings. I hope to sometime make a new tradition of watching some of the old films here; if they’re HERE, I think they should be seen, at least sometimes!
I find that I’m really nostalgic for the old days of small UHF stations in the late 70s and early 80s running cartoons at odd hours- and during the holidays running really bad dupe prints of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘, with cartoons filling in the space after the feature was finished.
I saw lots of things for the first time this way, including Fleischer’s Somewhere in Dreamland, Jam Handy’s Rudolph, Shanty Where Santa Claus Lives, The Little King in Christmas Night (‘Pals’) and others. Sometimes I could turn on Channel 62 (from Detroit) in the middle of the night and find them running just a block of Christmas Cartoons. The first 16mm film I bought was The Little King in Christmas Night, so maybe I had an affinity for Christmas Films early on myself.
For the coming weeks, I’m going to attempt to always have a ‘Christmas Cartoon’ alongside whatever else is here. It seems fitting to start this with a print called ‘Christmas Cartoon‘- released by Castle Films. My friend Chris Buchman, a Castle Films expert (more than the ‘experts’- really!) lent this print for transfer of this early sound Castle Films offering. Chris explained that Castle actually released TWO cartoons called ‘Christmas Cartoon‘, this being the first, in a print from the late 1930s. It’s an enjoyable little film, with a soundtrack likely put together by Castle Films.
Other than ‘Christmas Cartoon‘ the print has no title or credits. It appears to be a silent Van Beuren short – looks like later 20’s to me. Can you identify this short? Chris thought it might be Five Orphans of the Storm from 1923.