The end of the year is not just to celebrate the holiday season but a time of reflection on the joys of the past. For Disney fans of “a certain age” like myself one of the Christmas traditions was watching a very special showing on the Disney weekly television show.
Titled From All of Us to All of You, the festive episode surrounded a charismatic Jiminy Cricket with colorfully illustrated Christmas cards from the Disney characters (back in the days when people actually sent physical Christmas cards and displayed them on the fireplace mantel and tables or hung them around the living room) that transitioned into excerpts from Disney’s classic cartoons.
That was a pretty big deal, because in the days before videotapes – much less Blu-ray discs – that was our only opportunity to see these animated treasures. And, of course, Disney and Christmas have always seemed to be magically linked.
The episode was directed by Jack Hannah who had been responsible for many of the classic Donald Duck theatrical cartoons.
“I ended up directing fourteen of the television shows, usually the ones featuring Walt and the Duck,” Hannah told me in one of my first interviews with a Disney animator in 1977. “I was brought in because Walt could tell that these other guys couldn’t ‘feel’ the presence of an unseen animated character.
“We used an awful lot of old animation stuff in the making of these shows to help with the costs. You’d find a theme like going on vacation or Christmas and tie a couple of short segments around a little new animation.
“One of my favorite shows and one that I felt came off really well and got a good reaction was ‘From All of Us To All of You’. Unfortunately, they have cut it up so much over the years to promote their latest film that I can hardly recognize it anymore as mine. The timing is all off. It doesn’t seem to hold together like the original.”
The show first aired December 19, 1958 and starting with its re-airings in 1963, the final segment was always reconfigured to showcase an excerpt from a current or upcoming Disney animated feature film.
In order to accommodate that change, the original opening and closing were cut completely which was a criminal shame.
Walt Disney during his introduction was shrunk to the size of a cricket by Tinker Bell’s magic because Walt said that Mickey Mouse and Jiminy Cricket insisted he appear “cricket-size” because “Christmas is bigger than all of us”. Walt explains that the show is going to be put on by “our cartoon critters” but takes the time to wish home viewers “on behalf of the human members of our staff” a happy Christmas.
Standing on the fireplace mantel, Walt introduces Jiminy and Mickey and turns the show over to them. Jiminy explains, “One of the nicest things that can happen this time of the year is to receive Christmas cards from your friends. Our gang would like to present their cards and through them share some memorable moments.”
Also eliminated was the closing sequence where Mickey Mouse plays the piano and Jiminy Cricket sings “When You Wish Upon A Star” which he says, “symbolizes faith, hope and all the things Christmas stands for. So this is my personal wish for you, something that can make Christmas everyday.”
At the end of the song a wide variety of Disney characters gathered around including some animals and birds from Snow White, the birds from Cinderella (perched on Alice of Wonderland’s lap), Pluto lying down next to Thumper and some young bunnies, Brer Bear, Brer Fox, the Seven Dwarfs, Goofy, Donald Duck and his nephews, the Three Little Pigs, and the mice from Cinderella.
Jiminy wished everyone a “Merry Christmas from All of Us to All of You” while the camera showed a “From All of Us” card on top of the fireplace mantel over a roaring fire while Christmas decorations and a Christmas tree filled the room. Tink waved her wand to create a big flash of light to close the show.
Like many of the episodes that featured compilations of classic cartoons, new animation (especially Jiminy interacting with the Christmas cards) was created especially for the show by Les Clark, Volus Jones, Al Coe and Bob McCrea.
Yale Gracey, Ray Huffine and John Hench were involved with the art design. In fact, Hench designed many of the Disney Studio Christmas cards so it is likely he designed most if not all of the cards shown in this show.
The catchy title tune was composed by lyricist Gil George (the pseudonym of Disney Studio nurse Hazel George) and award winning composer Paul Smith who she was living with as well as collaborating with on some memorable tunes. The song was released that same year as a single on Disneyland Records label.
The show was written by Albert Bertino and Dave Detiege and was later rerun December 25, 1960 and December 22, 1963. That 1963 edition had a different ending with Jiminy Cricket explaining: “Of course, no Christmas would be complete without a surprise gift” so he shows a preview scene from the then-new animated feature, The Sword in the Stone.
That new 1963 edited version without Walt was later rerun in 1967 (publicizing Jungle Book instead of The Sword in the Stone), 1970 (The Aristocats), 1973 (Robin Hood), 1977 (Pete’s Dragon), 1979 (Corn Chips cartoon included) and 1980 (Aristocats again for its re-release).
The original show included Santa’s Workshop (1932), Toy Tinkers (1949) and short scenes from Peter Pan (1953), Bambi (1942), Pinocchio (1940), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Cinderella (1950) and Snow White (1937).
The transitions to the scenes were fairly clever. For instance, Bambi has his head and shoulders poking through the letter “O” in the world “Noel” on the Christmas card and then moves, leading into the scene from Bambi. Jiminy Cricket is dangling on puppet strings on the Pinocchio card and lights the candles on the table outside of Tony’s restaurant to lead into the scene from Lady and the Tramp.
In 1983, the show was repurposed and expanded to ninety minutes and re-titled A Disney Channel Christmas.
One of my Christmas wishes is that someday Disney will re-release the complete original 1958 version of From All of Us to All of You. Even though it was shown in black and white, it was filmed (including the new animation and footage of Walt) in color and it would be wonderful to see a cricket-sized Walt Disney wishing a “Merry Christmas” among other treats.
As the closing credits to the episode stated “This special holiday program has been made possible by the combined talents of the entire Walt Disney Studios. It is our way of saying ‘Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you’.”
This column is my way of saying “Merry Christmas” to all of you and for the many interesting comments you add to all of my columns, especially Animation Anecdotes, that I consider as gifts given to me and animation history all year round.
Here is the link to the original program:
Ah, the good old Christmas show… After we return from our religious Christmas tradition (although it’s rarely now in my adulthood) of going to church, we gather around by the television with those who are addicted to the show, except for those who are preparing dinner. What the Danish edition of From All of Us to All of You still preserve, is the 1953 dubbing version of Peter Pan in the You Can Fly clip (since the DVD and Blu-Ray releases have re-dubbed Peter Pan, while some video cassettes preserve the nostalgic 1953 dub), the theatrical dub of Aristocats (since the home video release since VHS have re-dubbed the movie entirely), and a girl’s voice track for Pinocchio in I’ve Got No Strongs clip, since Pinocchio was re-dubbed with a boy actor in the 90’s.
Going by the General Mills sponsor tag and jingle at the start, the B&W footage here must be from the December 25, 1960 airing, just before Disney’s show moved from ABC to NBC
Yes, I noticed that too. The General Mills logo had changed to a script “G’ that year, and was redesigned again with the “curl” in the center. That jingle was sung on ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS in 1960.
I made the Youtube-video linked in the article. I’ve been tinkering with it on and off through the year, and I actually just finished a new version.
(preview isn’t available yet, but it should be in an hour or so. It can be downloaded, though)
The biggest change is that I now have access to the full kinescope of the 1960 show, so I’ve been able to make better transitions between the 1960 version and the newer clips, and I’ve tried to keep this version completely frame by frame accurate with the 1960 kinescope. I also found a color version of the extended opening to Toy Tinkers. I’ve also switched the Cinemascope version of Lady and the Tramp with a version with the proper Academy ratio, ripped from Laserdisc.
This Christmas, I expect to get several of the clips without logo (basically most of the Memorable Moments intros), so I intend to upload an updated version shortly after Christmas.
If anyone’s interested, I also made a slightly extended version, with a new opening, and 2017 surprises:
BTW: You’re right about this being based on the 1960-episode. I edited out a preview of next week’s episode, which is the Zorro episode “The Postponed Wedding”.
If anyone’s interested, I also made a slightly extended version, with a new opening, and 2017 surprises:
– I really love your idea of a updated “Wonderful World of Disney” intro here! That would so work!
– Good use of current/upcoming films to highlight here. I could see that.
What a treat to see the original version of this amazing special! My first viewing was in 1967 which featured the “Jungle Book” premiere. I was enchanted with it then, and it holds up well today. It was a different culture then, not having ready access to the Disney library of animated films, so that each film clip either kindled fond memories or ignited a spark of desire to see the original.
“A Disney Channel Christmas” makes a few changes to the original. Besides adding much more vintage cartoon footage and some Disneyland Christmas montages, it eliminates the “Lady and the Tramp” scene and replaces “Toy Tinkers” with “Pluto’s Christmas Tree.” (The two cartoons alternated in that spot during the late 60’s and early 70’s showings.) While I enjoy the “Disney Channel” version, my go-to for this is a broadcast from the mid-nineties of the original “From All of Us” show–essentially the 1967 cut with some edits. The show was also released on VHS as “Jiminy Cricket’s Christmas,” which is one of the better versions, although if I recall correctly it also leaves out “Lady and the Tramp.”
In the original, I’m glad finally to view the scene of Walt’s introduction, brief though it is. The shot of the fireplace and mantel scene at the end always made me suspect that more use had been made of the set in the show’s original beginning. Now I’ve had a chance to see it, and I couldn’t be more delighted.
Thanks for this post!
I used to have hopes this would come out on DVD, but that was before home video sales went into the toilet.
Yeah, me too. I kept hoping it would be part of a Walt Disney Treasures DVD, but that didn’t happen. Now I keep hoping any of the American versions will be aired during one of TCMs Treasures from the Disney Vault blocks, but after four years, it still hasn’t been included.
Somehow “From All of Us to All of You” just never resonated with America as it did for Scandinavia. I don’t know if it was just bad timing or not enough interest domestically for a network to keep something like that on the air year after year but it just didn’t quite hit the mark.
These in-betweens are a heavenly thing to re-see. Thank you SO much. Truly made the holiday THAT much more special every year.
Anyone seen JIMINY CRICKET CHRISTMAS?
I always remember Jiminy Cricket singing When You Wish Upon a Star towards the finale of From All of Us to All of You with several of the Disney characters looking up towards the sky to the Christmas Star. I also heard that From All of Us to All of You was still being shown on Scandinavian Television during this time of year.
As you say, it’s still being shown in Scandinavia every Christmas. Sweden started the tradition back in 1960, when they showed it as a regular episode of the Disneyland series. Then they reran it unchanged every Christmas until 1966. In 1967, they started replacing segments, and they continued to make small changes more or less every year, until 1983. Today’s version is pretty much the same as the 1983 show.
Norway also showed the episode as part of the Disneyland series in 1965, but they didn’t make a tradition of it until 1979. I’m not entirely sure which version they showed this year. I know Donald’s Snow Fight was part of it, though. I have a copy of the Norwegian broadcasts from 1986 and 1989, and these are based on the American 1970-episode, but Aristocats was replaced with a preview of a current movie (The Great Mouse Detective in 1986 and Oliver & Company in 1989). The Norwegian broadcaster lost the rights to show the episode in 1990, and picked it up again in 1997. This time, they showed an episode that’s almost the same as Denmark shows. In 2003, they switched to a version that’s very similar to the episode shown in Sweden.
In Finland, they show a variation called “The New From All of Us to All of You”. This episode was shown on a Scandinavian cable channel between 1990 and 1997, with a new “surprise gift” every year. Finland shows the episode from 1995 complete with the 1995 surprises, with additional surprises from the current year.
The version shown in Denmark is very similar to the American episode from 1977. I’m not sure if it’s based on the 1979 or 1980 episode, or if they made their own changes, though. Funnily, this is also called “The New From All of Us to All of You”, but it is nothing like the episode Finland shows. It’s almost as if Disney wanted Danish TV to buy their new show, but Denmark refused, and as a compromise, they’d keep the old program, but use the new name.
And of course a Christmas record was made with this song, which featured an odd verse about Goofy wanting to use Jiminy as an ornament for his tree.
Said verse was cut in later releases of the song. Greg Ehbar informed me that it’s Jim McDonald doing Goofy….. poorly.
In “From All of Us to All of You” – during the clip from Santa’s Workshop (1932) the white doll is that of a pretty little girl with beautiful golden locks that Santa teaches to say “mama.” The black “pickaninny” doll, that looks more like a monkey, automatically says “mammy” (a gag-reference to Jolson in The Jazz Singer) Tsk tsk… a reflection of those unenlightened times, no doubt. It seems as though Disney chose to relocate Santa Claus and his workshop to the South Pole…BAH HUMBUG!!!
A lot of studios besides Disney were doing these politically incorrect gags at the time, Rock. I believe there was a similar gag in the Merrie Melody, “The Shanty Where Santa Claus Lives.”
To be fair, the inclusion of the pickaninny doll in the above video is my fault. In the original 1958 broadcast (well, in the 1960 rerun, at least, but I assume it wasn’t edited), the pickaninny doll (and a couple of other scenes), had been edited out. When I made the version I uploaded to YouTube, I included the full short.
the website MBC Musemum of Brodcast Communicatians used to have windows video on the tv shows they had. the 1958 showing of from all of us to all of you is in their collection.
I had seen theirs a couple years ago, you know what? the santa’s workshop censorship in 1960’s showing of From All of Us TO All of You is exact as in the 1958 showing of From All of Us To All of You that MBC has.
couple of years ago If you were a registered member of MBC, you can have access to the collection of radio and tv programs.
sadly somthing happend… in 2016 the website had been offline
and then came back
they don’t have the videos on thier site as of now. MBC needs donations
For more on the Swedish tradition of watching the special on Christmas, here’s a Slate article from 2009: