Today (as on every December 18th) we celebrate the anniversary of one of our K.A.C. favorites, 'The Three Little Dwarfs'. Not familiar with it? Read on ...
"On December 18, 1956, WGN-TV's "Garfield Goose and Friends" introduced Chicago area children to Santa Claus' three favorite elves, Hardrock, Coco and Joe. At two-feet-high, Hardrock drove Santa's sleigh while Coco navigated and Joe tagged along for fun. To create the animated short or "song cartoonette", Hill & Range Songs hired Centaur Productions. The company was established in the early 1950s by Wah Ming Chang, a sculptor in Walt Disney's Effects and Model Department who created the model of Pinocchio; and George Pal, a producer and Academy Award nominee. The shorts were produced in black-and-white using stop-motion animation, a cinematic process that brings figures or puppets to life by minutely reposing and photographing them frame-by-frame, resulting as fluid movement on screen."
The above description comes courtesy of Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications (which you can subscribe to online to see their holdings, as I have - it's worth it if you're interested in early TV). A number of our readers grew up in the area or surrounding areas and remember these appearance on their TV of these three lads as the OFFICIAL start of the Christmas season!
Here's a couple of links to the video: first, the Museums' copy:
Next, the XmasFLIX version (with the original, plus two other musical variations):
For completists, here's the very funny TV Funhouse parody of Santa's helpers, entitled 'Tingles, the Christmas Tension' !!! Since it wouldn't seem right to label Hardrock, Coco and Joe as # 10 in our '13 Strangest Christmas Shorts' competition, we'll give that honor to Tingles! :)
Last but not least, from the same company that brought you 'The Three Little Dwarfs', comes another perennial winter wonder, Miss Susy Snowflake! The Museum had this to say about her: "On December 28, 1953, Chicago area kids were introduced to the whimsical story of Suzy Snowflake "tap, tap, tappin'" on every windowpane, seen on "Garfield Goose and Friends" then on WBBM-TV. Like "Hardrock, Coco and Joe", Suzy too was brought to life by the stop-motion animators of Centaur Productions. Norma Zimmer was Suzy's voice and the song was sung by The Norman Luboff Choir, a premier studio group who recorded with well-known artists, such as Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte." Here she comes now, a tap,tap, tappin' on the windowpane of your computer!
If you would like a permanent DVD copy of these classics (sorry, no Tingles!), you can get the Museum's DVD copy, with the full story of the history and making of these shorts, here (scroll down to the DVD section):
Oh, did I mention the songs are total earworms that will stick in your head for days? NO? Hmmm, yeah, sorry about that ...
Tomorrow: number 11 in our competition doesn't have anywhere NEAR as classic a pedigree as our fine fellows today! Come on back and see who he is!