Christmas Tree 2012

With Christmas comes Christmas projects. Namely, the Video Review special and the Christmas mini-comic I want to do every year. So this is the last post until Christmas is over. So I thought I’d make it a good one. For one thing, there’s the Christmas tree picture I promised last week. This year the tree is surrounded by Bumblebees. Obviously this means the Bumblebee shelf is kind of empty but it’s only for a few weeks.

The other thing I’m leaving you with is LAST year’s Video Review. A few years ago I picked this up.

Christmas videos

On the left is “The Original Television Christmas Classics” featuring a number of classic Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. The new version has a few different specials than my collection but doesn’t have a box that resembles a storybook. That’s kind of a shame. This box has Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman and Frosty Returns (no, that’s not the one that introduces Frosty’s wife), Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, and The Little Drummer Boy (sadly “Book 2”, the sequel, is not included), plus a CD of Christmas songs from the specials.

Where I picked this up was included a separately contained DVD, the one on the right. A Cricket On The Hearth was one I never heard of prior to picking up this set. Time got in the way of seeing it until last year, when I decided to finally watch the video as a potential review for my other site. What resulted was a “BW Video Review” of the special, featuring Danny Thomas, his daughter, Marlo Thomas, and Roddy McDowall as the title character. As my last Clutter Report until after Santa has completed his route, here is that review, done for BW Media Spotlight and my other home, Reviewers Unknown.com.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the original novel:

John Peerybingle, a carrier, lives with his young wife Dot, their baby, their nanny Tilly Slowboy, and a mysterious old stranger with a long white beard. A cricket constantly chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family, at one point assuming a human voice to warn John that his suspicions that Dot is having an affair with the mysterious lodger are wrong.

The life of the Peerybingles frequently intersects with that of Caleb Plummer, a poor toymaker employed by the miser Mr. Tackleton. Caleb has a blind daughter Bertha, and a son Edward, who traveled to South America and was thought dead. The miser Tackleton is now on the eve of marrying Edward’s sweetheart, May, but she does not love Tackleton.

In the end, the mysterious lodger is revealed to be none other than Edward who has returned home in disguise. He marries May hours before she is scheduled to marry Tackleton. However Tackleton’s heart is melted by the Christmas season, like Ebenezer Scrooge, and he surrenders May to her true love.

You can see the differences from the Rankin/Bass version. In the book, the cricket (who may or may not have a name in the book) is on someone else’s hearth and they just interact with the Plummers. Bertha seems to already be blind according to the description and Edward is her brother. (Ewwww?) In the cartoon version, Edward isn’t related, the Peerybingles are gone, and May and Bertha seem to have been merged into one character. No mention of crows or hit monkeys.

As I said in the review, it’s not one of their strongest specials but it was good and worth watching if you get one of the collections the movie’s been attached to. A Merry Christmas to you all.

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