It’s Better to Give

20180423-205349Debuted in 1963

5 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: Jughaid is angry at Santa for never bringing him the bicycle he’s been asking for so Snuffy, thinking a kind gesture for Santa might help, suggests they build a television set as a gift for Santa. Meanwhile, Loweezy uses various pipes and parts to build a makeshift bike for Jughaid so he won’t be disappointed. On Christmas morning, Jughaid finds a real bike in his stocking and there’s also a real television for Snuffy, with a note from Santa, who is glad they learned the importance of giving.

Fun Fact: The original comic strip that these characters are based on is the longest currently running comic strip in the United States.

My thoughts: I remember Snuffy Smith from the comics section of the newspaper, which I really enjoyed reading when I was a kid. I don’t think I ever knew the history behind the strip, which started in 1919 with the character of Barney Google. In 1934, Barney travelled to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and met moonshiner Snuffy Smith. He was so popular that Barney kind of faded into the distance and Snuffy and his family took over as the main characters. King Features produced 50 animated shorts featuring these characters and the comic strip, incidentally, is still running today. The character voices are over-exaggerated ‘hillbilly’ talk that was played for humor back in the 60’s, but is mostly just annoying to listen to now. I think it’s particularly cute that Snuffy reacts to Jughaid’s (hey, it’s their spelling, not mine) anger by putting a positive spin on it and trying to teach him the joy of giving. Overall, I think this one is pretty forgettable unless you, like me, grew up with the comic and are just curious to see those characters in their animated forms.

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I kind of hope Santa brings Loweezy a good supportive bra.

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No matter how hard you hug it, Snuffy, that thing is not going to pick up HBO.

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She built a working bike from pipes and household items. Respect.

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When Loweezy (as Santa) has trouble getting back up the chimney, Snuffy just unzips it. Well, duh.

Individual Superlative: Most Self Confident Theme Song – The words to the theme song are ‘Great balls of fire, I’m bodacious!’ I supposed if you started every day out singing that to yourself, you’d have the confidence to master anything.

Want to Watch it? It’s Better to Give is available on YouTube.

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Beetle Bailey: A Christmas Tale

Title

Debuted in 1963

6 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: After the Camp Swampy Christmas party, Sergeant Snorkle thinks he’ll be spending the holiday alone with his dog, Otto. General Halftrack shows up to invite him to spend Christmas at his house. After dinner, Sergeant Snorkle reads ‘The Night Before Christmas’ before he falls asleep, causing him to dream about Santa and an elf, portrayed in the dream by the General and Beetle Bailey.

Fun Fact: The Beetle Bailey comic strip has been running continuously for 65 years, making it one of the oldest comics still being produced.

My thoughts: When the Beetle Bailey comic strip started, Beetle was a college student. In 1951, he enrolled in the Army and the story became centered around his activities at Camp Swampy (based on cartoonist Mort Walker’s experiences at boot camp). This Christmas episode is one of only 50 animated shorts produced about these characters and it’s pretty run-of-the-mill. Beetle is portrayed (as usual) as bumbling and clumsy and Sergeant Snorkle is a little meat-headed. There’s a moment when General Halftrack shows Snorkle the gold whistle he received during his former days as a soldier in the battle of San Juan Hill. When they wake up on Christmas morning, he gives Snorkel the whistle as a gift. Then the short ends with a march into the kitchen for breakfast (led by Ms. Halftrack) where they all give a literal shout out for Christmas.

Snaggletooth

Sgt. Snorkle seems a little gooey-eyed here. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Midair salute

Wait, Army dogs can hover in midair?

Tangled in lights

Oh, Beetle, you bumbling nincompoop.  Leave the lights for someone competent.

Bugler

Mrs. Halftrack is not afraid to cut you if you don’t come to dinner on time.

Individual Superlative: Most Intimidating Military Wife – General Halftrack’s wife could beat the crap out of pretty much anyone on the military base. I have to think she was the Army’s secret weapon.

Want to Watch it? A Christmas Tale is available on DVD and YouTube.

Krazy’s Krismas

TitleDebuted in 1963                                                                      

5 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: Ignatz makes fun of Krazy for believing in Santa, but Offisa Pupp wants her to keep believing so he dresses up as Santa. When his costume falls apart, Krazy tells them she’s been invited to the North Pole to visit her cousin Pole Cat and she invites Ignatz and Offisa Pupp to join her. Ignatz tries to steal a bag of toys, but his plan fails and they all have a happy Christmas.

Fun Fact: I’m using the pronoun ‘she’ for Krazy Kat (because the character is voiced by a woman) but Krazy’s actual gender was always said to be fluid and non-specific.

My thoughts: This cartoon is aptly named, because it really is crazy. It’s based on George Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip, which ran from 1913 to 1944. The basic idea of the overall plot is that Krazy is in love with Ignatz, but all he wants to do is throw bricks at her head. How do you make that basic plot run for thirty years? The cartoon series only ran for one season, which is not surprising, because it really is bizarre. In the original comic, Offisa Pupp was always trying to protect Krazy and he does that here in a couple of cute ways, including physically preventing Krazy from seeing Ignatz’s ‘There is no Santa’ sign and even pretending to be Santa for her. I found Krazy’s voice, as performed by Penny Phillips, to be super annoying, which is the main reason I give this one a thumbs down.

No Santa

The ‘No’ sign around his neck is for added emphasis.

Bare ass Santa

Hey Fake Santa, put some damn pants on!

The North Pole

It’s a ‘pole,’ see?  Because it’s the North Pole.  Good one.

Ignatz as Santa

Ignatz is supposed to be showing us his Christmas spirit here, but those eyebrows are sending a whole other message.

Individual Superlative: Monochrome Madness – Offisa Pupp is one solid peach color – skin, clothes, shoes and all. At least Krazy gets a different color around her mouth.

Want to Watch it? Krazy’s Krismas is available as part of the Krazy Kat Kartoon Kollection DVD and you can watch it on YouTube.