If asked to identify an iconic animated holiday special for members of Generation Jones (born 1954 to 1965), my first choice would be “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Rudolph made his first TV appearance 50 years ago, which places him right in the heart of our childhoods.
The story has rented permanent space in some of our minds. If you’ve used the term “misfit toys” in everyday conversations, or mention of the “Abominable Snowman” strikes fear in your six-year-old heart, or you still can hear Clarice singing “There’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true” to a saddened Rudolph, then you know what I mean.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” comes in a close second on my list; its mere mention starts the theme music running through my head, replete with the kids skating on the ice pond! Interestingly, though, the program seems more thoughtful to me as an adult. That’s one of the compelling qualities of the world of Charles Schultz and the Peanuts gang.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman” are honorable mentions on my list.
For those of us who grew up in the Greater Chicagoland area, there also was a black & white animated short, “Hardrock, Coco and Joe,” shown during the holiday season on a kids’ TV show. However, the animation looks a little creepy to me today: