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Rating holiday classics

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POSTED December 23, 2009 2:29 a.m.
Rudolph, the Red-Nose Reindeer is still one of my favorite Christmas television specials.

Of course, I’m talking about the long-running Rankin/Bass production. To this day, I consider it as one of the best children shows for the holidays despite airing many moons ago.

Rudolph, the ousted reindeer with his beaming red nose, teams up with Hermy, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and the prospector, Yukon Cornelius. Together, they find themselves on the Island of Misfit Toys.

The legendary Burl Ives, who, as the voice of Sam the Snowman, narrates this story.

The actual Rudolph story was the brainchild of Robert L. May. In 1939, he was a 34-year-old copywriter from the Chicago-based department store, Montgomery Ward.

Ward is no longer around but May’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer remains strongly tied to the Christmas tradition.

A few days ago, I heard a soundtrack from this popular children’s show, “We’re a Couple of Misfits,” that brought back fond memories of my younger years. Since then, I’ve had a yearning to see my all-time favorite Christmas show.

A Charlie Brown Christmas ranks a close second.

The show was the first prime-time animated TV special when it debuted in 1965.

What’s not to like: Charlie Brown’s sad looking tree, Linus’ recital of the true meaning of Christmas, or Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts gang singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

For that matter, Frosty the Snowman never gets old.

It’s been years since I last saw this Rankin/Bass production. Frosty comes to life thanks to the magical hat belonging to the evil magician Professor Hinkle. In order to keep from melting, Frosty, accompanied by his friend, Karen, and Hocus the rabbit, venture off to the North Pole.

Frosty the Snowman first aired in 1969.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – the TV special based on the Dr. Seuss children’s book and not the Ron Howard movie – is another of the holiday classics.

The animated special directed by Chuck Jones of the Warner Bros. cartoon fame initially aired in 1966 on CBS.

In fact, I saw it about year or so ago on the Cartoon Network. As a result, the song “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” was stuck in my head for weeks.

Come this time of year, I think we often get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the real world.

We might forget the little things that used to make the holidays so special.

Hearing a song from my favorite Christmas TV shows triggered in me what really kicked off the holidays many years ago.

No, it wasn’t black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving and often the busiest shopping day for retailers – but rather tuning in to Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
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