Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Little Ho Ho Horror for the Holidays



Last night we hosted the first ever Star Wars Holiday Special Solstice Party. I just now gave it the full name, as the theme was a bit broad in nature, taking in several of the holidays this time of year of long nights and short days.

The prize, the pinnacle (or the abyss, depending on how you look at it) of the evening would be the "Star Wars Holiday Special" itself, a little-known, little-seen variety show that aired once and only once, on a cold November night back in 1978.

To start things off right, though, we decided to kick things off with a little Star Wars/holiday trivia game where we delved into the early "Ho ho ho" season history. You know, it wasn't always so full of eggnog and toys. Nope. Back when churches were trying to meld the early solstice rituals with the new ideas of Christmas, things got a bit, well, interesting. It was an eclectic mix of questions, ranging from the relatively benign questions, such as: Which hand did Luke Skywalker lose in his big light saber duel with Daddy Dearest? (right), to more obscure ones, like: From 1659 to 1681, what American city outlawed Christmas? (Boston).

Then it was time for the opening act. We traipsed downstairs to the Bat Cave, where we kicked off our holiday horror with a 1932 eight-minute long black-and-white cartoon titled, unmenacingly enough, "The Snow Man". As one comment read, "This ain't Frosty!" There was another cartoon in 1982, a British production, also called "The Snowman", where a boy builds a snowman who comes to life and can fly (Ha! Like a snowman could fly. Sure, I can deal with a snowman coming to life, but...). Said snowman and friend fly off see Father Christmas and a party of dancing snowfolks.

The '32 version isn't so friendly. It starts off all Disney-like with frolicking walruses and seals, and an Eskimo lad who builds a snowman, but once his cold creation comes to life, it goes all demonic and terrorizes the polar population.

The Disney reference is appropriate, as the cartoon was created by Ted Eshbaugh, a competitor of Walt's. Several of the creatures even have some resemblances to a certain famous mouse. Ted, however, couldn't keep up with the Waltmeister. He did crank out a total of 14 animated films, including a 1933 version of "The Wizard of Oz".

At any rate, if you're in for some holiday horror, you should check out "The Snow Man". You can find it on YouTube.

I have more films to write about, including the hideously infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special", but my electronic inkwell runs dry tonight, and I'll continue tomorrow.

Keep writing, friends.

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