Remembering The Mouse on the Mayflower

I am a creature of habit.

Every year when November 1st rolls around, I open the Holiday Special Cabinet in my entertainment center. (Yes, I have a Holiday Special Cabinet. Don’t you)? I put away my Halloween specials and bring my Thanksgiving specials to the forefront. The Mouse on the Mayflower

My favorite is 1968’s The Mouse on the Mayflower. The Mouse on the Mayflower was a staple of my Thanksgiving viewing during my elementary school days. I can hardly remember a Thanksgiving where we didn’t watch that particular Rankin-Bass special during class. It’s stuck with me all these years. Rankin-Bass owns a good portion of the holiday special landscape in my head, but The Mouse on the Mayflower is special to me. I am most taken by the narration and songs performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

There’s something comforting to me about the special. It hearkens back to a time when things were simpler. Thanksgiving meant good food, cartoon specials, a few days off from school, and playing with my cousins after the feast.

Unfortunately, I think The Mouse on the Mayflower has gone by the wayside in recent memory.  I’ve not seen it on the air since the 90s and it has never seen a DVD release. According to Wikipedia, the last VHS release of the film was by Sony Wonder and Golden Books Family Entertainment in 1998. I have a copy of the VHS, which I found by pure accident in a free bin outside one of my favorite used book/movie stores. Fortunately for us, we have YouTube.

[Via] Kevin Burns

Do you remember The Mouse on the Mayflower? What is your favorite part? Do you have another Thanksgiving special that’s been forgotten? However you celebrate, I hope your Thanksgiving is full of nostalgia and good food.

(I have to chime in here and admit that the very first time I watched this special was at school as well. On actual film in fact! -Vic)

A Day of Thanksgiving…For Short Films (And People Who Riff Them!)

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving, Retroist Readers!

As you bow your heads and express your thankfulness for everything you have right here and now, remind yourself of how lucky you are for the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the people you have in your life. Not everyone is as fortunate, and it is important to keep all of that in mind as you eat your turkey and fixings.

I don’t say all of this to make you feel guilty, of course.


Parents always set out with the best intentions when teaching their children to be grateful for the things they have in life, whether they be material pleasures or their given talents. As for me, I’m grateful for my family, friends, boyfriend, my job, and the things I have – both material and talent-wise. As a nostalgia writer, I tend to live in the past, but try not to dwell too much on anything negative that happened in the past. It isn’t always easy to forget things, but it is easy to remember the good things of the past.


Also good about the present (and the past)? Having Brad Jones (The Cinema Snob) to riff on a few educational shorts to remind us how thankful we are and that there really is more than one way to cook and carve a turkey.

screenshot-612 screenshot-616

I’d say I’m making all this up, but there it is, cooking and carving.

Enjoy a few riffed shorts courtesy of the snobbish host who thinks “Gee wiz!” is a profanity, makes ramen noodles for Thanksgiving, and proclaims that 35 cents an hour in the 1950s is “the 1%.”

I expected his kitchen to be more snob-like.

These shorts are guaranteed to tickle the wishbone, and not just because they are hokey without the riffing.

It is easy to think of the good things of life, as not demonstrated (initially) by the kids in this short film about Thanksgiving. When the Johnson family is not able to have a turkey for Thanksgiving, the family reflects on what they are thankful for in the short film A Day of Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk turkey! No really, let’s talk about all the ways to prepare turkey, and the kinds that exist, in this short film called – wait for it – Let’s Talk Turkey!

All Uploaded by Stoned Gremlin Productions

Turkey as a luxury foodstuff of the gods? Well, this short film seems to think so, and then they carve it all up like that’s a socially acceptable and humane way to treat a turkey!

Well, it is…once the bird has been killed and plucked!


Uploaded by Valerie Garcia

Gee wiz, with all of these wonderful shorts, we have a bountiful feast with all the fixings and all the family time we’ll ever need…until Christmas.

Hey, can the people in Carving Magic share some of that turkey with the Johnsons? Those kids really hate going without.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Allison is a lover and consumer of all things nostalgic and geeky, but holiday nostalgia holds a very special place in her heart. Combine that with riffing, and you’ve got one happy geek. If you like what you’ve seen here, she loves to share holiday nostalgia over on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her Twitter handle, @AllisonGeeksOut, is afire with, well, hashtagging fun everyday.

Gee wiz!


Look Into The Scary Past Of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

All images courtesy of Vintage Everyday.

All images courtesy of Vintage Everyday.

As you can see from that first image which was taken in 1931…the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons didn’t look too friendly, this was of a dragon though it looks like a cat to me. The way the parade attendees are swarming the balloon it looks like it is fighting for it’s life.

Thanks to the Vintage Everyday site that uploaded these photos you can take a look at much scarier and to be fair awesome images of the famous parade throughout the years.

How about a 1940 parade balloon that looked like the late great Eddie Cantor?
Eddie Cantor - Macy's - Everyday Vintage

[Via] Your Eddie Cantor Channel

To be honest this 1945 pumpkin balloon is probably my favorite, I wouldn’t say it was scary except for the strange little character near the lower right corner.
Pumpkin - Macy's - Everyday Vintage

What is that? The Green Goblin of the future? Was it actually part of the parade and not just some supernatural imp caught on camera?!
Green Goblin - Macy's - Everyday Vintage

Did you know kids used to “Trick or Treat” on Thanksgiving??


When I was a kid, my Grandmother one time casually mentioned that she remembered when kids used to Trick or Treat on Thanksgiving. When I pressed her for details about it, she was vague, and it made me wonder if she was pulling my leg. It has been decades since she brought that up and I think I finally found out what she might have been talking about, it was a tradition called, “Thanksgiving Ragamuffins” or “Ragamuffin Day”.

Robert Martens posted this video on YouTube showing kids in 1940s New York, dressing up like paupers and going door to door “begging” for money. As you can see, their costumes are almost Halloween-like, some almost look like clowns. No explanation is given as to why they tradition went away, but this article from the New York Public Library, which has more info about this New York tradition, states that people seem to be annoyed with the practice and just wanted it to go away.

So what would you do if kids, trying to restore this tradition, showed up on your doorstep on Thanksgiving in a tattered but colorful costume and asked if you could spare, “Anything for Thanksgiving?” Would you slam the door or dig in your pockets for a few coins?