Santa

Revisiting “A Visit to Santa” – With Commentary!

Brace thyselves, a visit to Santa has commentary!

Commentary!

Bwahahahahaha!

Revisiting A Visit To Santa

Last December, I told the story of a terrible short film I saw during RiffTrax Live’s Christmas Shorts-travaganza (I erronously called it Christmas Shorts-tacular in the video).

Two kids whisked off in the middle of the night to Santa’s 1960s living room by an elf in a mini-dress, Santa parade footage, department store sets, and the awful sounds of drowsy Christmas music – all weird, all filmed, and all…very weird?

I was looking for a Christmas short to record commentary onto, and well, I remembered A Visit To Santa.

And I also found this…

My Name In Lights!

And by “lights,” I mean “Wikipedia reference.”

That’s right – my previous article on A Visit To Santa made the film’s Wikipedia article.

I’m just as blown away.

The reference comes at the closing paragraph of the plot section:

As Toby returns to Santa’s living room in preparation for taking the children home, Santa, continuing to sit in his easy chair, tells Dick and Ann, “So glad you came… the entire Christmas celebration is to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ hundreds of years and the wonderful spirit of Christmas…”. Toby then leads the children towards the front camera and out of range, as Santa turns in his chair and, addressing the audience, exclaims, “Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas to all! Merry Christmas!”, with “The END” slide placed on the screen to the sound of the calliope “Jingle Bells”.[3]

I’m #3! I’m #3!

So…yeah.

A Visit To Santa Requires Commentary

I know I’m retreading here, but in the spirit of Christmas, goofy short films, and Wikipedia references, I’ve recorded a commentary that tries so hard to be RiffTrax (but never will be), makes a valiant effort to be funny, and loses its earbuds briefly.

That was annoying, folks!

Without further ado, for your Christmas viewing, the 1963 Clem Williams short film, A Visit To Santa…with commentary!

Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words

Christmas Commercials II Video Podcast

Welcome to the Retroist Christmas Commercials II Podcast. Christmas is almost here. You know what that means? Time to buy stuff! That’s why this week’s show is all about the Christmas commercials that we love. I tried this format before and people liked it. So be warned, this show has a bit of a different format from the regular podcast. It is dedicated solely to holiday commercials. I hope you enjoy it.

This video podcast was done by Justin M. Salvato of boxing4free.com and is a video-ized version of the original Christmas Commercials II podcast I did.

Enjoy!

Not a video fan? Listen to the original audio episode.

Check out the Retroist Video Podcast Archive!

First Atari - Missile Command

Celebrate Atari Day With…well…My First Atari!

It is once more the 26th of the month. Which of course means that it is time to celebrate Atari Day! Furthermore I felt that perhaps a more personal recollection would be in order. Case in point the memories of how I got my first Atari.
First Atari - Vic Sage

As you can certainly see I was rather excited to unwrap this particular Christmas gift. In addition I should say that it certainly wasn’t a bad holiday up to that point. If you look closely behind me you will spy the likes of Imperial Troop Transport as well as the remote controlled R2-D2.

[Via] Sarlaac Pit Podcast

Of course if you keep checking out that late 70’s photograph. You will likewise see a few more equally important toys in my youth. I will direct your attention to the then desired Mortimer Snerd ventriloquist dummy sitting…patiently…in the decorative chair behind me. Bear in mind this was before I was instilled with an overwhelming fear of dummies. This was naturally before Steven Spielberg delivered 1982’s Poltergeist!
First Atari - Poltergeist

Besides a collection of wind-up toys, something I will admit I was totally captivated by in my youth. We have some of those faithful blue friends, The Smurfs. Going off my memory I want to say that it the three present were Doctor Smurf, Lion Tamer Smurf, and possibly Hang Glider Smurf.
First Atari - Lion Tamer Smurf

Which I am sure you will be more than glad to hear leads us to my first Atari. Finally. So as I have already stated this was a good Christmas. It was all done or so I thought. My Grandmother asked what was that in the Christmas tree. I will admit to not being able to remotely find what had captured her attention. At this point my Father had joined in – trying to direct me to behind the tree where one wrapped gift remained hidden, nestled in the branches. It was small and box shaped, I literally had no idea what it was. Moreover when I ripped off that wrapping paper I discovered I was an owner of Atari’s Missile Command!
Missile Command

I think you can imagine how excited I was, right? The dawning realization that this obviously meant I got my first Atari! In the nearly seven years I have written for The Retroist have I ever let on I was remotely that sharp? I can vividly recall looking at the box and just shrugging my shoulders. I mean this gift was wasted as I of course didn’t own an Atari VCS.

That is when my Grandmother opened a closet door and pulled out a much larger wrapped gift. Heady with the joy of not just the Holiday but the thrill of civilized destruction I tore into the wrapping paper. You can see the absolute joy on my face in that photo, which was snapped by my Grandfather by the way. As much as I loved all of my Star Wars gifts and other presents…my first Atari was the best thing in my eyes.

In addition to Missile Command there was another Atari cart hidden in the tree. That was Adventure, a game I still love to this very day. Very quickly I was sitting in the middle of the living room floor with my Grandmother. After my Father had set up the Atari 2600 to that large television of course. But as you can see from this photograph of my Father and myself…even though he disliked video games in general. The fun of my first Atari was enough to coerce him to join me in game or two of Missile Command!
First Atari - Missile Command

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O/s site by following the link here!

Now that you have learned about my first Atari featuring Missile Command. Perhaps you would like to know another fan of that classic Atari game?


That would of course be none other than Steven Spielberg. Yep. The man responsible for many of our most cherished films as well as instilling a lifelong case of Automatonophobia was also a fan of the 1980 arcade game!

A Christmas Carol

Toon In: Enjoy 1971’s A Christmas Carol!

I mentioned in the last of the Retro Radio Memories Podcasts – I love A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens 1843 novella really gets to me. I’ve as a matter of fact have pretty much loved all adaptations of the classic tale. Just a few of my favorites include 1951’s Scrooge, 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 1984’s overlooked made for TV version featuring George C. Scott and of course 1970’s version of Scrooge!

[Via] Plains Video

It most certainly has a bit to do with the supernatural elements…I mean I AM a monster kid. But more than that is the message that a person can be saved from a destructive path, they can better themselves. The act of redemption of course is what keeps me coming back to A Christmas Carol again and again.

Now having said all of that. There appears to be a version of the story that I’ve not seen before. An 1971 animated special that aired on ABC on December 21. But proved so popular that it was later given a theatrical release. Then secured an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1972!

Which by the way the Academy changed the rules right after that win – so a made for TV short film cannot be eligible. A bit of humbug with that, right?

While the stunning animation style was based on the illustrations provided by John Leech and Milo Winter. Who in fact provided the artwork for the 1930’s version of Dickens’ novella. The short film also had legendary Chuck Jones as a producer with direction by Richard Williams.

Another key point to remember about this adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the sometimes frightening images. Whether it be the likes of Jacob Marley – shocking Ebenezer to keep him silent.
A Christmas Carol

Or the Ghost of Christmas Present’s charges Ignorance and Want. Memorable and visually striking to say the least.

Another feature in the short film’s cap is the vocal talent they secured. For example you have Michael Redgrave as the narrator, Michael Hordren as Jacob Marley, Joan Sims as Mrs. Cratchit, and Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. Yes, it is true that Sim reprises the role he played in 1951’s film adaption!

So sit back and Toon In for 1971’s A Christmas Carol – and from all of us at The Retroist have a Happy Holiday!

Just Jeff 53