All good things must come to an end.

Thus, these "Twelve Months of Christmas Reviews" are now at an end.  Might update from time to time, as I expand my video/DVD collection, but basically, they're now set.

For now, though, we have this month's installment to complete.  There were a few shows I didn't include earlier due to either space constraints, or I didn't yet have them available for screen captures.

That said, let's take a peek at more of my favorites...though this may be the last (for now), these are certainly not the least.

Those of you from Chicago must certainly recognize this opening scene.  For the past two or three holiday seasons, I've been slightly ticked at WGN for cancelling "The Bozo Show", as that was the one place I knew I could see this animated short every year.

Sure, the station puts it on its website, but that's not quite the same.  Especially with this computer...

With the actual title "The Three Little Dwarfs", this was one of a trio of animated a cappella short features ("Suzy Snowflake" and "Frosty the Snowman" being the others) that are by all accounts a Chicagoland tradition, commonly known as...

Hardrock, Coco and Joe.

(Mind you, they're in reverse order in the above pic.  Some other jolly guy is in there too, between Joe and Coco...)

From the sublime to the ridiculous...

C'mon, it doesn't get more ridiculous than this.

You never know what kind of holiday hijinks you'll find on "The Drew Carey Show".  Mimi dressed as a Christmas tree...ok, considering her usual wardrobe, that's not particularly unusual...

Another time, Drew might be trying to win a trip by making his office edible...

Or, those dolts Lewis and Oswald could be menaced by an angry hoard of Kringles...

Frankly, these aren't the most extreme examples I could've mentioned...

Surprisingly, the show nonetheless treats the season with a more-than-fair amount of respect.  Irreverent, certainly, but not quite to the point that it makes the "Santa...HUH?" page.

Darn close to it, though...

Speaking of Santa, years ago when I heard that Tim Allen, of all people, was going to play Santa in "The Santa Clause", I was dumbfounded.  "HUH???" was a mild reaction...

I didn't think he looked much like the Jolly Old Elf.  Still don't.

You may by now know my disdain for "Santa succession" plots.  Ok, if you didn't then, I'm sure you do now...but if you need clarification, here it is:

"Replacing Santa=Bad Idea."

Finally watched "The Santa Clause" this past holiday season when it played on ABC.  Underwhelming.

Fortunately, I saw it after I saw "The Santa Clause 2".  Despite my misgivings, I liked SC2.  Granted, the plotline was really weak.  The "problems" threatening Allen's reign as Santa were more mechanical than the reindeer.  (Gotta give it to the Salkinds; their crew's reindeer were spectacular, moreso compared to the Disney deer.)

The set design of the North Pole was, however, spectacular.  Lively performances resuscitated a dead script.  Despite myself, this dopey little flick ranks...well...not necessarily as holiday "must see"...

It certainly qualifies as an "oughta see", though.  If you knew how many so-called "classics" don't rank that high on my list, you'd be amazed at how strong my "oughta see" category is...

We go now from a live-action cartoon to a cartoon with people who seem a bit more real.

Regular readers of the newspaper cartoon "For Better Or For Worse" may recognize Elizabeth, the then-baby of the family.  I'm certainly old enough to remember her then.  All.  Those.  Years.  Ago.

Man, I'm getting old...

I can even remember April's babyhood, but those days were also over long ago.

But I doubt that many in the U.S. remember, or even knew that there were animated specials produced in Canada.  Don't know if they played anywhere down here other than The Disney Channel.  Only place I ever saw them.  Been a few years since I've even seen them there.

If you ever get a chance to see them, please do.  These toons were true to the spirit of the strip, which itself is true to its depiction of a family's life.

I do miss Farley, though...

How about another blast from the past?

Remember these guys?

No?  Well, who could blame you?

They're "cousins" of a sort of a bunch you may recall...

Yep, The California Raisins.  Been a while, hasn't it?

Back in the heyday of The Raisins' popularity, the folks at Will Vinton Studios, put together "A Claymation Christmas".  The animation was, of course, excellent, but the music was outstanding.

Ok, so there was one sour note...

This is one of those shows were screen captures just can't do justice to the program.  Haven't seen this one anywhere in years.  More's the pity.

Suffice it to say, if you get a chance to view it, do so.  It's definitely a "must see".

To close out our year-long tour, let's check out another kind of tour.

No, I don't have a compilation of Bob Hope Christmas tours.  Wish I did.  Instead, these pics are from an episode of "JAG" saluting Bob Hope and the USO, which interspersed actual Hope footage with shots of their cast.

JAG is one of just a few series I know of that consistently has outstanding holiday episodes.  Much like the Claymation special, capturing JAG's spirit doesn't work well in stills.

Be assured, even when things seem naughty, they're still nice.

And if you're a Harm/Mac 'shipper, sometimes they can be very nice...


 


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