Maybe I’m just a sucker for stuff that was around when I was a kid, but I still think that Disney’s old Mickey’s Christmas Carol stands the test of time and deserves it’s status as a “beloved children’s classic.” Whether or not the other three offerings on this disc are as classic… you know the drill: Hit the jump.
But first, a few more words on a Christmas Carol. It doesn’t hurt that this 22 minute masterpiece is based on one of the best Christmas tales of all time. Without once using the J word Scrooge and company show us a little something about the value of family, and the horrible effect that an excess of greed can have on the heart. Good, simple moral lessons that don’t change much with time, and don’t depend on a political point of view, or a specific religious stand point. It also doesn’t hurt that at a short and sweet 22 minutes, there’s no room for fat or filler. All the favorites from the Disney cast of icons show up, and they are used well. My favorite is Goofy, who plays against type as the corrupt (and dead) business partner come back to warn Scrooge about the price of being an ass-hat. Great Stuff.
The second offering is 78’s The Small One. It tells the tale of a young boy who is trying to sell his beloved Donkey. The price isn’t terribly important to him; he just wants to know that his donkey is going to a good home. It may just be my rampant Atheism, but I found this cartoon super creepy. I watched the young “Judean*” boy go from hope to sadness, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Oh, there it is. A kind faced (white) man with a light brown beard… he’ll give the donkey a good home. Oh wait, he’s Joseph, and the donkey is gonna carry preggo Mary to the manger. Cause that is so fulfilling for the Donkey. I bet that Donkey gets left behind when Herod starts slaughtering infants and The Holy Family flees to Egypt. Poor bastard.
On the plus side, it is directed by Don Bluth, who would later start his own animation company which was pretty influential in the 80’s. So that does make the short worth watching in the historical sense. Plus, it’s seems that a whole lot of people (from the on-line reviews I read) really love Small One, so maybe I’m letting my religious views get in the way.
To my great surprise, this disc also includes two of my all time favorite Christmas themed shorts, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, and the Silly Symphony Santa’s Workshop**. I had both these gems on a boot leg VHS tape as a child, and am happy to own them again. Pluto’s Christmas tree involves Mickey going out to get an X-mas tree the old fashioned way, by cutting in down. Little does he know that the tree is home to CHIP AND DALE! That’s right, before these two swinging bachelors settled down and started an interspecies detective agency they mostly spoke in chirps and caused mischief, this time at the expense of Goofy’s retarded and enslaved younger cousin Pluto. Fun ensues. Enjoy. Santa’s Workshop is most likely a plan by Aliens to brainwash the population of earth with earwig tunes that you will find yourself humming for YEARS. Then again it may just be a silly and entertaining musical look at the inner workings of Santa’s shop. You decide.
There are no extras to speak of, just trailers. But who cares. This disc is well worth the price.
*Cause we can’t admit as Christians that there were any JEWS around at the time of Christ.
** Say that three times fast.