Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, January 01, 2018

Random Thoughts from Christmas Vacation

When I was a kid, I collected Christmas specials.  Every holiday season, whenever a new animated special would come along, I would record it.  In the end, I had three VHS tapes full of holiday specials.  I meticulously catalogued them, so I wouldn't accidentally get a duplicate.  And, of course, when I started building my first website 20 years ago, I posted my catalogue online.

Which meant that, every year around this time, I would get a half-a-dozen e-mails or so requesting a copy of A Mouse, a Mystery, and Me.  This particular special was a mainstay on Edmonton television, no doubt because it was actually filmed in Edmonton.  I'm starting to suspect that ITV (now Global Edmonton) was actually a co-producer, as I've noticed the Allard name quite prominent in the end credits.  (Charles Allard was the founder of ITV, and a pretty big deal in Canadian broadcasting in the 70s and 80s.)

The special is about the kidnapping of a department store Santa, and a kid enlisting the help of the mystery novelist in the neighbourhood to investigate.  Turns out our mystery novelist has a writing partner, a talking animated mouse named Alex, and together they get to the bottom of who kidnapped Santa.

Anyway, I could never present a copy on VHS to anyone because, by the time all this started going down, Mom had taped over my collection with Coronation Street.  Luckily, we now have this thing called YouTube, and I see someone else has posted A Mouse, a Mystery, and Me.


As I've been talking about on social media, I fell in love with this documentary series on Netflix called The Toys That Made Us, which is all about the classic toys lines of the 1980s. Brought back a lot of strange memories.

I loved the episode about G.I. Joe.  When I first started taking up action figure collection as aG.I. Joe toy line was starting to wind down.  I would take a look at the G.I. Joes for old times sake, before heading over to the Star Trek aisle.
G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Actioin Soldier.  Pic from YoJoe.com
G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Action Soldier
Pic from YoJoe.com
hobby in my teen years, it was when the classic 3.75"

In 1994, for the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe franchise, Hasbro made these beautiful figures.  They were exact re-creations of the original 12" Joes from the 1960s, only shrunk down to the 3.75" scale that was popular at the time.  So you could have the original Action Soldier and Action Marine having adventures alongside the new guard like Duke and Snake Eyes.  They were in lovely collectors boxes, and came with accessories up the wazoo.  The Action Soldier had a little bunker, the Action Pilot had the real working parachute pack...all kinds of good stuff. 

I remember always taking a look at them at Toys R Us, always seriously considered buying one or two for my fledgling collection, but ultimately not picking one up.  I kind of regret that, now, because, even back then, I thought they were really, really cool.

I see collectors are selling them for around $50 on eBay now, so if I ever have a little more disposable income....

I see that the animated special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown is starting to enjoy a resurgence in recent years.  I remember it being part of my Christmas special collection all those years ago.  Because the universe hates Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown has the Christmas vacation homework assignment to do a book report on War and Peace.  But he has difficulty reading the novel as he's constantly getting distracted by the preparations for Peppermint Patty's epic new years party.

Like this cute little musical number, where they all take dancing lessons so they can dance on New Years Eve.

Just because this is the kind of information I've filled my head with...the singer of that song is Desiree Goyette.  She wrote and performed a lot of the songs in Garfield and Charlie Brown animated specials throughout the 1980s.  Did some voice acting, too, as perhaps her most famous role would be Nermal, the self-described "world's cutest kitty cat," on Garfield and Friends.  Doing a quick google of her, I see she's still quite active as a singer/songwriter.  Does mostly gospel now. 

You can tell when I watch Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, because I'll always take to twitter to share Charlie Brown's new years resolution:  "You know how I typically dread the entire year?  Well this time, I'm only going to dread one day at a time." 

Actually I do like that entire scene.  It opens with Peppermint Patty asking Charlie Brown if he has any good rules for life in the new year.  Says Charlie Brown:
  • Keep the ball low
  • Don't leave your crayons in the sun
  • Use dental floss every day
  • Don't spill the shoe polish
  • Always knock before entering
  • Don't let the ants get in the sugar
  • Never volunteer to be a program chair
  • Always get your first serving
  • Feed your dog whenever he's hungry
So please.  Take those words with you into 2018!  

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