Debuted in 1995
Plot in 3 Sentences: George and Junior arrive at the North Pole to deliver a letter to Santa, but it’s Christmas Eve and Santa has already left for the night. This means there’s a present Santa didn’t know he was supposed to bring, so the elves give it to George and Junior to deliver. The house has a guard dog, so they have a lot of trouble delivering it, but when the present turns out to be FOR the guard dog, everything turns out okay.
Fun Fact: There were only four cartoon shorts in the original George and Junior series. A fifth was written for them but was produced using two random dogs instead of George and Junior (yet, for some reason, it’s still considered a George and Junior short).
My thoughts: The original MGM George and Junior series was inspired by George and Lennie from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The short-lived series was rebooted for the Cartoon Network What a Cartoon! Show in 1995, but it must not have been a big hit, because only two shorts were created. Actually, watching this one, I’m not at all surprised it didn’t score a hit. The humor fails on just about every level and if they were trying to recapture their old fans on the nostalgia ticket, they missed the boat on that by ratcheting the original Tex Avery gags up way too far. Everything here is oddly proportioned and verging on grotesque and the punching, farting and smashing all seems like overkill. The only thing I enjoyed about this was the score, which was a mixture of The Nutcracker and traditional Christmas carols. It seemed like a fair amount of thought went into matching the music to what was happening onscreen, but that’s about all there is to recommend it.
Individual Superlative: Most Surreal Reality – There’s a moment when George and Junior are so scared that their cartoonish heads suddenly become very realistic looking bear heads. It’s freaky, even though (or maybe especially because) it only lasts for a couple of seconds.
Want to Watch it? George and Junior’s Christmas Spectacular is available on YouTube.