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Advent Calendar House
69 minutes | a month ago
The Smurfs’ Christmas Special
It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re walking through a ring of fire back to the Year of Our Lord 1982 to dance along with “The Smurfs’ Christmas Special.”On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), my dear mother’s recipe for making life miserable.Thom Crowe (@thomcrowe), a very wise man with a beard who won’t outright say he’s not Santa, from Tis the Podcast.Gerry Davila (@ RadChristmas), who would have made a heck of a Christmas pudding if only he hadn’t eaten the last walnut, from Totally Rad Christmas.Topics and Tangents:Watch “The Smurfs Christmas Special” on the official Smurfs YouTube channel.The great debate over VHS recordings with vs. without commercials.We want to try Greedy Smurf’s giant cauldron of pink Christmas pudding.My son thinks the king of Hyrule is Santa.I am just now learning about Watergate salad.The Smurfs in theme parks, including Hanna-Barbera Land in Texas and Kings Dominion in Virginia.Danny Goldman (Brainy Smurf) played a similarly know-it-all-ish student in “Young Frankenstein.”Paul Winchell (Gargamel) designed and patented an artificial heart.Papa Smurf Jedi-mind-tricks a pack of wolves.The mysterious, unnamed Stranger may or may not be the actual Devil.Teaser for The Smurfs’ new animated series coming in 2021.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:Frosty the Snowman (Season 1, Episode 1)A Rugrats Chanukah (Season 1, Episode 6)How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Season 2, Episode 1)A Garfield Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 6)He-Man/She-Ra: A Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 18)A Wish for Wings That Work (Season 3, Episode 3)Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (Season 4, Episode 2)G.I. Joe: Cobra CLAWS Are Coming to Town (Season 4, Episode 11)The Little Drummer Boy (Season 5, Episode 8)Commercial Break:The Smurfs Are Coming to Kings Dominion, 1984Podcast Promos:Tis the Podcast, dedicated to keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long.Totally Rad Christmas, dedicated to all things Christmas in the ’80s.“The Smurfs” and “The Smurfs’ Christmas Special” © 1982 Hanna-Barbera Productions.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
65 minutes | a month ago
Olive, the Other Reindeer
As we inch closer to Christmas Eve, strap on your cardboard wings and buckle up as we take a 2-dimensional flight back to 1999 to revisit the Matt Groening-produced TV special, “Olive, the Other Reindeer,” starring the voices of Drew Barrymore, Joe Pantoliano, Dan Castellaneta, and Ed Asner as Santa four years before “Elf.”On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), unemployed penguin ready to make you a deal on an extremely valuable watch.Erin Evans (@mserinmevans), my hard-of-hearing pet flea who’s only here to mistakenly tell you your family doesn’t want you here.Joey O. (@ImGonnaDJ24), an injured reindeer’s flightless cousin who’s very excited to be introduced as this, from Y-Not Radio and Words With Nerds.Topics and Tangents:This special premiered exactly 10 years to the minute after the first episode of “The Simpsons.”The Making of “Olive, the Other Reindeer” takes you behind the scenes to watch the computer animation slowly render on what appears to be a Gateway 2000 PC running Windows 98.We compare the animation style to PaRappa the Rapper.“Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride,” the first book by “Olive” creators Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold, was the first children’s picture book created with digital media.“The Goonies II,” a video-game-only sequel for the Nintendo Entertainment System in which the Fratellis kidnap a mermaid.Jay Mohr in “Camp Wilder,” a short-lived TGIF sitcom in the doomed 9:30 spot.The mondegreen, a brief history and other famous examples, how one ended up an official part of another Christmas Carol, and the stupidest lyric I’ve ever misheard.Dan Castellaneta uses a similar voice for the Postman as he does a few years later for the Robot Devil in “Futurama.”A brief history of “You’re no Jack Kennedy,” and its lasting impact.The time Bullwinkle tried to kidnap my baby at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.R U Talkin’ R.E.M. Re: Me?, formerly “U Talkin’ U2 to Me?” and currently “U Talkin’ Talking Heads 2 My Talking Head?”Michael Stipe on “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” and “The Simpsons.”There’s a Hanukkah menorah on top of Santa’s castle.The pope gets a Phillies hat for Christmas.This special suggests Santa sorts his deliveries alphabetically, which is super inefficient.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:Frosty the Snowman (Season 1, Episode 1)A Rugrats Chanukah (Season 1, Episode 6)’Twas the Night Before Christmas (Season 2, Episode 3)Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (Season 3, Episode 9)Deck the Halls With Wacky Walls (Season 4, Episode 5)BraveStarr: Tex’s Terrible Night (Season 5, Episode 3)Commercial Break:Amazon.com Christmas Commercial, 1999Podcast Promos:Santa by the Minute, covering “Santa Claus: The Movie” minute-by-minute.The Christmas Podcasts Podcast, a podcast about Christmas podcasts. Yep!“Olive, the Other Reindeer” © 1999 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
87 minutes | a month ago
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
On this Scrooge Sunday edition of the Advent Calendar House, we venture into the uncanny valley on a trip back to 2009 to rewatch Disney’s motion capture nightmare version of “A Christmas Carol,” starring 4 Jim Carreys, 3 Gary Oldmans, 2 Robin Wrights, and a Cary Elwes in a pear shape.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), a touch cross-eyed and mysteriously shrinking for no reason.Matt Weiland (@DinnahDawg), chasing me through the streets of the future in a phantom hearse, and a fee-free Disney Vacation Planner at Matt’s Dream Destinations.Topics and Tangents:Watch “A Christmas Carol’ on Disney+ while it’s still there for the Christmas season.Respect to a Disney movie that jumps from a storybook opening to a corpse’s face.Despite being the 5th highest grossing Christmas movie as of 2020, this is also considered one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time.Coins on a corpse’s eyes in 19th century England had less to do with paying the ferryman’s toll and more to do with keeping their eyes closed.Cary Elwes, who plays one of the “portly” solicitors, is a descendant of John Elwes, a real-life inspiration for the character Scrooge.Christopher Walken as Captain Hook in “Peter Pan Live” and forgetting his lines.Whoever updates Disney’s Movies website accidentally credited Gary Oldman as both Kermit the Frog and Robin the Frog. No one tell them. I think it’s funny, and I hope it stays like that for a bit.Macy’s Dickens Village in Philadelphia.The Ghost of Christmas Present’s whatever-he’s-doing with turning Scrooge’s floor transparent and flying the entire room around London is some weird mix between Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Soarin’ rides.Jim Carrey on his various accents for Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present.Playing Want, of the usually cut for time Ignorance and Want, is Julene Renee, whom I remember from Nickelodeon’s “Roundhouse.”Christmas Yet to Come and the 6-minute chase scene we never knew we were missing.It’s a Robert Zemeckis movie, so of course we get Scrooge hitching a ride on the back of a moving vehicle.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:A Christmas Carol Cast Draft (Season 1, Episode 8)Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Season 3, Episode 1)The Stingiest Man in Town (Season 4, Episode 10)Other Previous Scrooge Sunday EpisodesMister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (Season 4, Episode 8)The Real Ghostbusters: Xmas Marks the Spot (Season 4, Episode 3)BraveStarr: Tex’s Terrible Night (Season 5, Episode 3)Commercial Break:McDonald’s “Scrooge’s Party” Chicken McNuggets Commercial, 1984, as preserved by Dinosaur Dracula.Podcast Promos:Merry Britsmas, exploring Christmas music, TV, film, and traditions from a British perspective.Yuletide TV, a quest to try and find the best Christmas TV episodes ever made.“Disney’s A Christmas Carol” © 2009 Disney.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
58 minutes | a month ago
Doug’s Christmas Story
On this episode of the official holiday podcast for people who organize meetings with 3 different versions of themselves, all of whom are action heroes, we’re skating on thin ice back to 1993 for a very educational trip to Bluffington to rewatch “Doug’s Christmas Story.”Admittedly not a very festive episode late in the first official Nicktoon’s run on Nickelodeon, at one point I forgot this was a Christmas episode I was watching for my podcast.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), bitter ousted politician with a microphone and a self-help line.Greg Stevens (@pop_arena), weaponized dessert maker and creator of YouTube’s Pop Arena, home to Nick Knacks, a show-by-show history of Nickelodeon; plus reviews of Animorphs, Goosebumps, and Doctor Who books.Topics and Tangents:Disney’s Doug was OK, y’all.“Doug” creator Jim Jinkins worked on Nickelodeon’s first show, “Pinwheel.”Early versions of Doug appeared on a bumper for USA Network and a PSA for Florida Grapefruit Juice. (Bonus: The grapefruit juice one features Lorenzo Music, the voice of Garfield.)The ol’ Danger: Thin Ice trope, the Chekhov’s gun of frozen ponds.Doug’s usual antagonist, Roger Klotz, is completely absent from this episode.Alice Playten (Beebe) was in the 1975 Maurice Sendak TV special, “Really Rosie” as Alligator.Constance Shulman (Patti) in a scene from “Weekend at Bernie’s II.” She’s also Yoga Jones from “Orange Is the New Black.”Every car in Bluffington looks like Homer Simpson designed it.Greg Lee from “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” voices recently ousted former mayor Bob White, and boy, am I glad we recorded this after election week.“The Phred on Your Head Show,” in example.Mr. Dink’s last name is apparently an acronym for “Double Income, No Kids,” a joke that went over every 11-year-old’s head.How much of what we see is what really happened, and how much is Doug embellishing in his journal?The first and only time Doug’s imaginary alter-egos Race Canyon, Quailman, and Smash Adams appeared on screen at the same time.Don’t wrap pets in boxes!Why have we been following Doug’s boring, normal kid adventures, when Porkchop’s apparently offscreen building houses and helping car crash victims walk again?The topper on the Funnies’ Christmas tree is Mr. Dink’s face.Nick Knacks Episodes on Other Nickelodeon Shows Mentioned:PinwheelBy the WayHocus FocusChristmas in TattertownLivewireYou Can’t Do That on TelevisionBelle and SebastianA Rugrats ChanukahSpartakus and the Sun Beneath the SeaDouble DarePrevious Podcast Episodes Mentioned:A Rugrats Chanukah (Season 1, Episode 6)Christmas in Tattertown (Season 3, Episode 10)Deck the Halls With Wacky Walls (Season 4, Episode 5)Commercial Break:Nicktoons Pizza Hut Kids’ Pizza Pack Commercial, 1991Podcast Promos:SequelQuest, exploring the unexplored possibilities hidden within our favorite film franchises.TGI Podcast, covering the best holiday episodes of TGIF classics.“Doug” and “Doug’s Christmas Story” © 1993 Jumbo Pictures, Inc.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
54 minutes | a month ago
The Little Drummer Boy
On this episode of the official holiday podcast for people who hate all humans — which, in 2020, is most of us — we dance to the beat of our own drum back to 1968 and back into the Rankin/Bass universe for the story of “The Little Drummer Boy.”On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), cross-eyed juggling stereotype.Brandon Medley (@brandmed), king of the desert showmen, from the Star Weirdos podcast.Michael May (@michaelmaycomix), one of the wise men, but I forget which one, because they all sound the same to me, of MichaelMay.online, Sleigh Bell Cinema, AfterLUNCH, and Mystery Movie Night.Topics and Tangents:This was Romeo Muller’s favorite Christmas special he wrote for Rankin/Bass. Also, that link on Rankin/Bass’s website is from 2003 and looks like it hasn’t been touched since 2003. There are tags in the code, y’all.Podcast favorite Paul Frees provides the voice of 8 different characters in this special, if you count animal noises. Also, Frees following Mel Blanc and Rich Little in the last two episodes completes a “Man of a Thousand Voices” hat trick!The song, originally called “Carol of the Drum,” was written more recently than I’d thought, in 1941, and first recorded in 1951 by the Trapp Family Singers, the family that inspired “The Sound of Music.”Aaron’s origin story is the same as Conan the Barbarian’s.Here’s an isolated version of the song, “One Star in the Night,” without the narration over it.Burl Ives wouldn’t have felt out of place narrating this special, since he’d go on to narrate one about another caravan later in life.There are way more shepherds here than in any Nativity scene I’ve ever seen.The special also mixes up its kings, at least as they’re traditionally named.The offering of a gift of music in the song becomes transactional here, as Aaron begs for someone to save his injured lamb.Our definitive versions of the song.Young Brandon insists on adding the Little Drummer Boy to a church Nativity pageant.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:Frosty the Snowman (Season 1, Episode 1)How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Season 2, Episode 1)Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (Season 2, Episode 12)Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Season 3, Episode 12)Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (Season 4, Episode 2)The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (Season 4, Episode 9)The Christmas Raccoons (Season 5, Episode 6)The Jack Benny Program: Jack Goes Christmas Shopping (Season 5, Episode 7)Commercial Break:Kentucky Fried Chicken “Christmas Carol” Commercial, 1989Podcast Promos:NetfliXmas, lampooning Christmas original romantic comedies across streaming networks.Feliz Christmas, Merry Navidad, a bilingual Christmas podcast.“The Little Drummer Boy” © 1968 Rankin/Bass Productions.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
54 minutes | a month ago
The Jack Benny Program: Jack Goes Christmas Shopping
CONTENT WARNING: This podcast discusses a 1960 episode of “The Jack Benny Program” in which a character shoots himself offscreen.On this beautifully wrapped and unwrapped and rewrapped episode of the official podcast for 40-year-olds whose parents associate cigarette commercials with Christmas, we’re second-, third-, and fourth-guessing ourselves way back to 1960 to go Christmas Shopping with “The Jack Benny Program,” the last televised version of a longtime radio favorite.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), surprisingly brittle for an unbreakable, crystal $12 watch.Guy Hutchinson (@GuyHutchinson), wrapped in beautiful paper and tinsel at least 4 times before we started recording, author, public speaker, and host of the Drunk On Disney Podcast.Topics and Tangents:The Television Academy Foundation’s page on Jack Benny’s “Christmas Shopping” show, including a video interview with show writer George Balzer.The earliest “Christmas Shopping” variant I could find, from 1937.Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and the progression of race relations, and also a quick tangent on his becoming the first African-American to enter a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby.Finally I get to talk about Mel Blanc, the real star of this show.Adjusting the $1.98 and $40 wallets for inflation.A 2002 message board post on JackBenny.org answering whether Jack was a practicing Jew.A tribute to Frank “Yyyyyeeeees?” Nelson.The dumbest things we’ve made pets wear.Dennis Day and the dying practice of actors legally changing their names to their most popular characters’.Stupid “the customer is always right” stories.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:Fruity Pebbles Christmas Commercial (Season 1, Episode 5)Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (Season 2, Episode 19)Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (Season 4, Episode 1)The Stingiest Man in Town (Season 4, Episode 10)The Christmas Raccoons (Season 5, Episode 6)Commercial Break:Norelco Santa Christmas Commercial, circa 1961.Podcast Promo:Weird Christmas, celebrating all things holly, jolly, and odd-ly.“The Jack Benny Program” and “Jack Goes Christmas Shopping” ©1960 J&M Productions, Inc.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
57 minutes | a month ago
The Christmas Raccoons
In this very environmentally aware edition of the official holiday podcast for people who make hockey sweaters for vermin, we’re responsibly deforesting our way back to 1980 to dig up “The Christmas Raccoons,” the first appearance of early Disney Channel imports The Raccoons and the greedy Cyril Sneer.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), generous married couple’s permanent houseguest in a tree that’s clearly bigger on the inside.Michael DiGiovanni (@theatomicgeeks), the barely clothed college graduate son of a lumber baron, from The Atomic Geeks, Pop Culture Retrofit, and Classic Film Jerks.Christian Nielsen (@hunkburger), whom I may or may not have completely dreamed up, from The Atomic Geeks and Pop Culture Retrofit.Topics and Tangents:This special and an accompanying story album were narrated by Rich Little, a “Man of a Thousand Voices,” in his own, regular voice.The voice of Forest Ranger Dan is Rupert Holmes, the singer/songwriter behind “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).”Tammy Bourne (Julie) and Hadley Kay (Tommy) were both in other movies in 1980 as children who fall from a great height.The Raccoons’ tree is clearly a lot bigger on the inside.The classic tropes of rolling down a snowy hill into a giant snowball and the big dust ball of violence.Much of this special is contained in an identical dream by both kids and possibly also their dog. From there, it’s hard to tell what parts were the dream and what parts weren’t. Maybe it’s all in St. Elsewhere’s Snow Globe Universe of Tommy Westphall (no relation).Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Season 3, Episode 12)Commercial Break:Canadian Tire’s “Scrooge Approved” Prices, 1987Podcast Promo:Christmas Creeps, keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year round through the magic of terrible holiday films.“The Christmas Raccoons” ©1980 PFS Christmas Raccoons / PFS Pooled Film Services, Inc.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
54 minutes | a month ago
The Weinerville Chanukah Special
On a very unnecessarily loud episode of the increasingly inaccurately named Advent Calendar House, we noisily snowmobile back to 1995 to try and figure out what everyone’s yelling about in “The Weinerville Chanukah Special,” Nickelodeon’s first Hanukkah exclusive, created by Marc Weiner and his puppets who can’t stop screaming.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), cheap Stormtrooper ripoff who wouldn’t look out of place in a Devo video.April Ryley (@AprilandPJ), city mayor by day and ski lodge manager by night for at least 8 of them.Topics and Tangents:We watched this videotaped original broadcast of “The Weinerville Chanukah Special,” complete with commercials.Weinerville.com is alive and well in 2020.Marc Weiner went on to be the voice of Swiper the Fox and the Map in “Dora the Explorer.”Two notes on Marc Summers, who opens the special with a take on the classic Disney storybook opening trope:He wasn’t diagnosed with OCD until after “Double Dare” and has said it’s “been blown out of freakin’ proportion.”He dropped his given last name, Berkowitz, after the arrest of the “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz.Sour cream vs. applesauce for latke dipping.Michael Gunst (Sinrek) may or may not be this puppeteer and mask maker.Brian O’Connor (Antidorkus) was also Schemer from “Shining Time Station.”Thanks to Nickelodeon being under the MTV Networks umbrella, this special featured music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Miami Sound Machine, and the B-52’s.The bulk of this special was filmed at the Summit Lodge in Killington, Vermont.Telephone booths still exist at Walt Disney World.Liver as a go-to food kids hate.A cameo by Diesel, better known as Kevin Nash, who was likely still WWF Champion when taping his lines, but lost it shortly before the special aired.The art of making your own menorah out of household items, recyclable objects, or fruit.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:A Rugrats Chanukah (Season 1, Episode 6)Lamb Chop’s Special Chanukah (Season 2, Episode 4)Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (Season 3, Episode 8)Shalom Sesame: Chanukah (Season 3, Episode 11)Commercial Break:Kmart Holiday Commercial starring Rosie O’Donnell and Penny Marshall, 1995Podcast Promo:Holly Jolly Xmasu, your podcast destination for Japanese Christmas music.“The Weinerville Chanukah Special” © 1995 Nickelodeon.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
54 minutes | a month ago
A Johnny Bravo Christmas
It’s time to catch a last-minute flight to the North Pole and do the monkey with me back to 2001 for an out-of-order dive into “A Johnny Bravo Christmas,” a well-deserved punch in the face that’s a little bit rock ’n’ roll.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), former blond pompadour-haver until my wife said she liked my hair better short.James Riley (@yourbuddyspooky), flying through the skies above the Arctic with his magic umbrella.Topics and Tangents:“’Twas the Night,” a 1997 segment of “Johnny Bravo” which this special accounts for in the show’s continuity… sort of.“Larry & Steve,” Seth MacFarlane’s short film for the “What a Cartoon!” show which would become a rough template for “Family Guy.” After this short, Seth worked as a staff writer for “Johnny Bravo.”The Bravos appear to be of a dying breed of people who wait till Christmas Eve or a few days before to start decorating.This special first aired less than 3 months after 9/11, on Pearl Harbor Day, and opens with Johnny unnecessarily calling the fire department to tell them he’s “the bomb.”Homer Simpson’s sandwich.The worst things we’ve found in our couches.The latest you can mail something to guarantee arrival before Christmas, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s Holiday Shipping Deadlines.A rare “true meaning of Christmas” monologue in a cartoon that begins with baby Jesus.The voice of the truck driver is Vanessa Marshall, who may or may have provided the scream of Samus dying in the Metroid Prime games.Santa’s village is hidden behind a fake mountain acting as a Wakanda-like cloaking device, and also looks like the Wicked Witch’s castle from “The Wizard of Oz.”Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (Season 2, Episode 5)Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (Season 2, Episode 12)A Pinky and the Brain Christmas (Season 2, Episode 17)Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (Season 2, Episode 19)Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (Season 2, Episode 20)Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas (Season 4, Episode 6)Commercial Break:American Online Keyword eBay Holiday Shopping Commercial, 2001Podcast Promos:Season’s Eatings, exploring the history of your favorite Christmas foods.The Retro Network Podcast, a weekly show devoted to pop culture past and present.“A Johnny Bravo Christmas” ©2001 Cartoon Network.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
47 minutes | a month ago
BraveStarr: Tex’s Terrible Night
It’s Scrooge Sunday in the Advent Calendar House, so hang on to your hats as we blast back to 1987 to revisit the Filmation space western, “BraveStarr,” and its dickens of a backstory, “Tex’s Terrible Night.”On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), a sometimes bipedal talking horse you forgot was in this show.Joey O. (@ImGonnaDJ24), whom some people call space cowboy, from Y-Not Radio.Sammy Hain (@SammyHain), the personification of the unknown future wearing a hat over his hood for some reason.Topics and Tangents:The official BraveStarr YouTube channel.The Fisher-Price Western Town I used to use as a backdrop for the much, much larger Bravestarr action figure.Joey’s interview with Pat Fraley, the voice of Marshal BraveStarr.This episode of the show uses flashback scenes from the movie, “BraveStarr: The Legend,” which explains why the animation quality isn’t consistent.Young Tex Hex looks like a purple Faker from He-Man.Stampede, the show’s even bigger bad, grants Tex Hex the power of transformation, because Filmation really wanted to teach kids that things that transform are evil.The “present-day” husband of Tex’s former love, Ursula, looks like Fred Ward.The time Marshal BraveStarr found a kid dead of a drug overdose.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:He-Man/She-Ra: A Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 18)The Glo Friends Save Christmas (Season 3, Episode 6)G.I. Joe: Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town (Season 4, Episode 11)Commercial Break:Marshal BraveStarr, Tex Hex, and Neutralaser Toy Commercial, 1986.Podcast Promo:Christmas Time in the City, exploring the history and traditions of the holidays in New York City and beyond.“BraveStarr” and “Tex’s Terrible Night” ©1987 Filmation Associates.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
87 minutes | 2 months ago
The Christmas Toy
It’s time to meet the Advent Calendar House’s seasonal Muppets quota as we secretly stroll down Jim Henson’s dark nightmare hall to 1986 to rewatch “The Christmas Toy,” an idea no one has repeated since.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), not dressed right at all.Beth Cieslik (@BethTheObscure), Queen of the Asteroids.Adam Jurotich, a wise old bear who’s here to teach us about Christmas, as soon as he’s able to climb to the top of a very large dollhouse, from The Hourchive.Donnie Storms (@boxcar45), the world’s smartest cat toy, from Bronwen’s Ghost.Topics and Tangents:The DVD release cut Kermit dressed in a Santa suit from the intro and outro, but he’s back in the version streaming on Amazon Prime Video.Rugby crashing his skateboard into a block tower is the 1980s Muppet version of WWE’s Titus O’Neil tripping and sliding underneath the ring.“Teacup Furby,” as named by Donnie.The pink-haired doll playing the drums during “Toys Love to Play” reminds Beth of a similar song from “Mother Goose Rock ’n’ Rhyme.”Apple is closer to a female version of My Buddy than Kid Sister, the actual female version of My Buddy.The inevitable “How much did ‘Toy Story’ take from this?” conversation.Somehow we worked in a Christmas Shoes joke. I don’t have a link for that. I just wanted to let you know.Apple riding down the staircase on the back of Cruiser’s taxi beat Thelma and Louise by 5 years.A quick shout-out to “Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”Why the humans heard Meteora fighting chess pieces in the living room, but not every toy throwing a party in the playroom with the lights on across the hall.The family cat’s name is pronounced like “Ouija,” but the DVD’s captioning spells it “Weegie.”“The Secret Life of Toys,” the short-lived 1994 sequel series featuring Rugby, Mew, and a few others in a new home with new friends.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:A Muppet Family Christmas (Season 1, Episode 2)A Rugrats Chanukah (Season 1, Episode 6)The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (Season 4, Episode 4)The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t (Season 4, Episode 7)Commercial Break:Kraft Holiday Recipes featuring “The Christmas Toy” poster, 1986, as preserved by Dinosaur Dracula.Crispy Critters Cereal Commercial, 1987.Podcast Promo:Snow in Southtown, reviewing holiday TV specials, movies, music, and more.“The Christmas Toy” ©1986 Henson Associates, Inc.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
50 minutes | 2 months ago
Christmas Comes to Pacland
The Advent Calendar House kicks off another Christmas countdown with the original video game crash, which leaves Santa stranded in Pac-Man’s neighborhood in 1982’s “Christmas Comes to Pacland.”WARNING: This episode contains spoilers about Santa Claus from 11:25 to 13:30.On This Episode:Mike Westfall (@fallwestmike), apparently necessary police officer in a town named after its own savior.Lindy (@ieatvideogames), andAlicia (@thinkbluee), the Sour Puss and Chomp-Chomp to my Pac-Baby.Topics and Tangents:Santa is flying with 8 reindeer, including Rudolph. Who got the night off?Why some reindeer actually have red noses.This might be the first time a Christmas special shows Santa using a computer.Russi Taylor’s Pac-Baby has the same voice she would later use as Robin in “Muppet Babies.”No one in Pacland knows about Christmas, yet the Ghost Monsters know “Jingle Bells,” which admittedly isn’t all that Christmassy, so it gets a pass.Absent from this special is the Ghost Monsters’ boss, Mezmaron, who looks like Darth Vader with his helmet off at the end of “Return of the Jedi.”Is Pac-Man living in a town where everything is shaped like him the Pac-person equivalent of cartoonists drawing faces or eyes on everything to personify them?Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned:He-Man/She-Ra: A Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 18)Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (Season 2, Episode 20)Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (Season 3, Episode 9)G.I. Joe: Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town (Season 4, Episode 11)Commercial Break:Pac-Man Cereal Commercial, 1984.Chef Boyardee Pac-Man Pasta Commercial, 1984.Podcast Promo:A Bomb for Christmas, made for podcast Christmas movie by Tim Babb of the Can’t Wait for Christmas Podcast, co-starring Mike as “Captain Willis.”“Christmas Comes to Pacland” © 1982 Hanna-Barbera Productions.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Instagram @adventcalendarhouse, and on Twitter @adventcalhouse.
57 minutes | 6 months ago
We end our countdown to Christmas in July by badly dancing back to 1989 to celebrate the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season in “Garfield’s Thanksgiving,” the clear bronze medalist of Garfield’s holiday trilogy, thanks to Jon Arbuckle going from goofy pet owner to gaslighting, mansplaining, hopelessly inept creep.On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), 10 minutes into a diet and have already lost his sense of humor.Jeff Somogyi (@sommerjam), a motivational electronic talking scale that’s also a film enthusiast, from Talkin’ Chopp.Topics and TangentsOrson the Pig from “U.S. Acres” makes a cameo in Liz’s waiting room.The dumbest things we’ve done to get a date pale in comparison to Jon holding his breath until Liz concedes to going out with him. Hey, y’all, don’t do that. Please.Pat Carroll is back as Grandma in her 2nd greatest vocal performance of November 1989.Julie Payne (Liz) was also briefly the voice of another cartoon doctor, Janice N!Godatu, from the other animated segment of “The Tracey Ullman Show.”A brief history of sock garters.This special confirms Jon can’t hear Garfield speaking, but somehow Garfield’s computerized scale with the fat-shaming jokes can hear him.The best of Calvin’s dad from “Calvin and Hobbes,” in example.Grandma Arbuckle’s Sweet Potatoes, as prepared by Dinosaur Dracula.Cranberry sauce tastes better when it’s shaped like the inside of a can.Desirée Goyette, the female singing voice in Garfield’s specials and also the voice of Nermal, also sang the title theme to “It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown.”Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedA Garfield Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 6)Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (Season 2, Bonus)“Garfield’s Thanksgiving” © 1989 United Feature Syndicate, Inc./Anderson Digital.Commercial Break: Garfield Alpo Cat Food Commercial, 1989.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
40 minutes | 6 months ago
G.I. Joe: Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town
S-s-season’s greetings-s-s! You better watch out, because today we’re kindly rewinding back to a 1985 Christmas episode of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” entitled “Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town!”On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), rambunctious Navy SEAL looking for a meaningful relationship with a large slab of frozen meat.Joey O. (@ImGonnaDJ24), 50-foot-tall wise cracking parrot from Y-Not Radio and Words With Nerds.Topics and TangentsWe don’t even get 4 minutes into this without talking about the U.S.S. Flagg.Crossfire comes up for no reason.A brief history of the G.I. Joe toy line, from “America’s Movable Fighting Man” to the Adventure Team, to “A Real American Hero.”“The Toys That Made Us” on Netflix.The “opening monologue that explains the show” has nothing on Voltron’s.Neil Ross (Shipwreck, Dusty, and Buzzer in this episode) has an audio camero in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “I Can’t Watch This.”Joey’s interviews with Pat Fraley (Wild Weasel), Gregg Berger (Firefly), Michael Bell (Duke, Blowtorch, Major Bludd), and Rob Paulsen (Tripwire, in Paulsen’s earliest known voice credit).“The Viper is Coming” is both our favorite “G.I. Joe” episode and my dad’s favorite dad joke.“King Koopa’s Kool Kartoons,” starring Christopher Collins (Chris Latta), the voice of Cobra Commander.We try and find Keystone City, which may or may not be somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania.The titular Cobra CLAW (Covert Light Aerial Weapon), an odd name for a Cobra vehicle, because snakes don’t have claws.The Definitive Ranking of all 25 Fensler G.I. Joe Parodies, by DailyDot.Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedA Garfield Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 6)A Pinky and the Brain Christmas (Season 2, Episode 17)Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 21)A Wish for Wings That Work (Season 3, Episode 3).The Glo Friends Save Christmas (Season 3, Episode 6)Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (Season 3, Episode 9)Christmas in Tattertown (Season 3, Episode 10)Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Koopa Klaus / Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush (Season 4, Episode 8)“G.I. Joe” and “Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town” © 1985 Hasbro Inc.Commercial Break: William “The Refrigerator” Perry G.I. Joe Action Figure, 1987.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
63 minutes | 6 months ago
The Stingiest Man in Town
On another Scrooge Sunday edition of the Advent Calendar House, we fly back in time to 1978 to revisit Rankin/Bass’s turn at “A Christmas Carol,” “The Stingiest Man in Town.”On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), your ghost host of Christmases Past and Present.Michael DiGiovanni (@theatomicgeeks), the scariest door knocker in all of Scroogedom, from the Classic Film Jerks, Pop Culture Retrofit, and The Atomic Geeks podcasts.Michael May (@michaelmaycomix), hobo insect taking a break from rockin’ and rollin’ all week long, from his Adventure Blog and the Sleigh Bell Cinema, Mystery Movie Night, and AfterLUNCH podcasts.Topics and TangentsThis is specifically an adaptation of a 1956 production on “The Alcoa Hour,” starring Basil Rathbone as Scrooge. Rankin/Bass uses most of the songs from that special.The original “Stingiest Man in Town” on Sleigh Bell Cinema.Michael May’s annual coverage of scenes from this and other “Christmas Carol” adaptations.Sonny Melendrez (Bob Cratchit) in “You and Me, Kid.”This has my all-time favorite, super creepy version of Marley’s face appearing on Scrooge’s door knocker.This special gets older Belle completely wrong.Tiny Tim has skinny robot legs.The eldest Cratchit sibling, Martha, is Debbie Clinger of the Clinger Sisters, a.k.a. Superchick from the “Krofft Supershow” host band Kaptain Kool and the Kongs.Rankin/Bass should have made a south seas-themed special called “Christmas Island.”Scrooge’s grave morphing into a giant devil face is a reminder in hindsight that this special was animated in Japan by Topcraft, the predecessor to Studio Ghibli.Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedThe First Easter Rabbit (Season 1, Bonus)’Twas the Night Before Christmas (Season 2, Episode 3)Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Season 3, Episode 1)Cricket on the Hearth (Season 3, Episode 4)Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (Season 4, Episode 2)The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (Season 4, Episode 9)“The Stingiest Man in Town” © 1978 Rankin/Bass Productions.Commercial Break: Glad Trash Bags Commercial starring Tom Bosley, 1981.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
51 minutes | 6 months ago
The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold
Sail back to 1981 with us as we dig up Rankin/Bass’s penultimate and possibly most obscure stop-motion Christmas special ever, “The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold,” which may or may not only exist because they had the rights to “Christmas in Killarney” and needed someplace to put it.On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), tiny but prolific cobbler who only makes shoes in primary colors.Michael DiGiovanni (@theatomicgeeks), who insists on hiding his life savings in a magic cave, from the Classic Film Jerks, Pop Culture Retrofit, and the Atomic Geeks podcasts.Michael May (@michaelmaycomix), the Lord of the Leprechauns, of his Adventure Blog and the Sleigh Bell Cinema, Mystery Movie Night, and AfterLUNCH podcasts.Topics and TangentsKen Jennings (the voice of Dinty Doyle, not the “Jeopardy!” guy) in the short-lived Epcot Center attraction, “The Astuter Computer Revue.”Mag the Hag’s entrance reminds me of Rita Repulsa in the opening of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”Blarney Kilakilarney and his wife are a poster Irish couple and the reason everyone’s advice at your wedding is: “Never go to bed angry.”This special keeps adding new rules about how both banshees and rainbows work, like they’re Mogwai.The Leprechauns’ “phantom island of Tralee” shares a name with an actual mainland town in Ireland, but is closer to Dursey Island, population (as of 2016): 4.The only thing many remember about this special is its Nightmare Face reveal that a beautiful woman Dinty finds washed ashore is the banshee in disguise.According to the Christmas Specials Wiki, Arthur Rankin said a promotion was planned involving prizes buried in random places around the United States for children to dig up, but was abandoned for safety concerns.“Jack O’Lantern,” from Rankin/Bass’s “Festival of Family Classics” TV series, featuring a leprechaun disguised as a pumpkin.Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedFrosty the Snowman (Season 1, Episode 1)The First Easter Rabbit (Season 1, Bonus)The Star Wars Holiday Special (Season 2, Episode 2)The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (Season 3, Episode 5)Pinocchio’s Christmas (Season 3, Episode 2)Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Season 3, Episode 12)“The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold” © 1981 Rankin/Bass Productions.Commercial Break: “Gremlins” Gizmo Plush Pet, 1984.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
52 minutes | 6 months ago
Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Koopa Klaus / Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush
Hey, paisanos! We warp back to 1989 for a double dose of Christmas segments from “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show” — the live-action “Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush,” featuring Santa losing his “transportation” in Brooklyn; and the animated “Koopa Klaus,” featuring a plot to… freeze the North Pole.On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), tiny selfish mushroom baby.Adam Pope (@hojukoolander), another fun guy, fresh out of Retro Detention, from Retro-Daze and The Retro Network.Topics and TangentsNintendo Power’s Preview of “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show,” as tweeted by Adam, and preserved on the Internet Archive (for now) (it’s on page 93).I didn’t realize till recently the music in the “Back to the Future” Nintendo game is a sped up version of “The Power of Love.”“King Koopa’s Kool Kartoons,” a live-in-studio spinoff show local to Los Angeles and hosted by King Koopa, performed at one point by Christopher Collins, the voice of Cobra Commander.Captain Lou Albano’s Wrestling Hotline 1-900 number.We map out where Mario and Luigi lived in Brooklyn.“Stunt Dawgs,” an obscure 1992 cartoon featuring Harvey Atkin playing another character with the same King Koopa voice.A brief discussion on the term “teeter-totter,” used by Mario here, versus “see-saw.”How tall is Mario? Captain Lou was 5-foot-10, though other sources range from 5-foot-1 to 3-foot-8.Preview of Super Nintendo World, coming to Universal theme parks.Finally, I get to talk at length about The Legend of Zelda!Adam’s SequelQuest episode on the “Super Mario Bros.” movie, featuring a parody of the Super Show theme song.Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedFrosty the Snowman (Season 1, Episode 1)Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (Season 2, Episode 19)“The Super Mario Bros. Super Show,” “Koopa Klaus,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush” © 1989 DiC Entertainment.“Super Mario Bros.” © Nintendo Co. Ltd.Commercial Break:Pepsi Nintendo Holiday Game Commercial, 1989, preserved by Dinosaur Dracula.Nintendo Power Commercial, 1990, preserved by RobertDigitalGames.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
48 minutes | 6 months ago
The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t
It’s the 13th of July, so it’s time for the Advent Calendar House to unearth one of our favorite Halloween haunts, 1979’s “The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t,” starring an exceptionally great Judd Hirsch as Count Dracula.On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), Transylvanian mother who apparently needs two whole days apply my kids’ costume makeup.Tom Coombs (@ClassicTomedy), creature tap-dancing with someone else’s feet, from TPIF: Thank Pod It’s Funny.Topics and TangentsThis was renamed for its VHS release as “The Night Dracula Saved the World,” except no, he doesn’t.Lyndhurst Mansion plays the role of both Dracula’s castle and the Witch’s castle. It’s located in New York state, not far from Sleepy Hollow.The opening music, Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor,” was never in a Dracula movie. Its first uses in sound film were in 1931’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and 1934’s “The Black Cat,” starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.My association of the music to Dracula probably stems from its use on Castle Dracula, a haunted boat ride on the Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk that burned down in 2002.Jack Riley (Warren the Werewolf) was also the voice of Stu Pickles on “Rugrats,” and did a bunch of Country Crock spread commercials.Either it’s a small film goof, or it takes Igor a good minute and a half to realize he’s holding the Witch’s broom.Do local Transylvania kids just know where this Witch lives, like a Hollywood celebrity homes tour?Judd Hirsch as Dracula exaggeratedly disco dancing in a white “Saturday Night Fever” jumpsuit is the greatest way to end anything ever.Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedWitch’s Night Out (Season 1, Bonus)The Star Wars Holiday Special (Season 2, Episode 2)Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (Season 2, Bonus)“The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t” © 1979 Concepts Unlimited.Commercial Break: McDonald’s “Scared Silly” Halloween commercial, starring Ronald McDonald and the Chicken McNuggets.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
57 minutes | 6 months ago
Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas
Go-go Gadget podcast! It’s time to spring back to 1992 to take “Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas” in for questioning.On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), toy ninja pig that’s somehow defective despite sounding awesome.Chad Young (@horrormoviebbq), a sentient doll with extra arms, from the Horror Movie BBQ.Topics and TangentsNick Knacks, a YouTube series covering a show-by-show history of Nickelodeon.1992 was the Halloween of white kids dressing like Steve Urkel.Inspector Gadget’s run on Nickelodeon got me into “Get Smart” on Nick at Nite.The time Chad got an crew jacket from the set of the “Inspector Gadget” movie.The action figure that revealed Dr. Claw’s goofy face.The Inspector Gadget Super Nintendo game, featuring the same alternate theme song as this special.The Mount Rushmore of Frank Welker Voices.Maurice LaMarche subbing for Don Adams for Gadget’s weird version of the 12 Days of Christmas is similar to Jim Cummings finishing “Be Prepared” for Jeremy Irons in “The Lion King.”Where’s the camera Penny’s Not Apple Watch uses to see Brain?Jerry “The King” Lawler entering the 1997 Royal Rumble Match in the middle of saying something, then finishing the sentence after being eliminated in 4 seconds.“Disney’s Christmas All-Time Favorites.”Previous Podcast Episodes MentionedFrosty the Snowman (Season 1, Episode 1)The Real Ghostbusters: Xmas Marks the Spot (Season 4, Episode 3)Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls (Season 4, Episode 5)“Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas” © 1992 DiC Entertainment.Commercial Break: Cookie Crisp Cereal Christmas Commercial, 1992.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
43 minutes | 6 months ago
Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls
We’re slowly slinking sideways back to 1983 to celebrate the time someone literally threw an idea at the wall to see if it would stick. It’s “Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls,” an animated Christmas special about Wacky WallWalkers. But first, we need to talk about the man behind the WallWalkers, Dr. Fad.On This EpisodeMike Westfall (@fallwestmike), grown man who’ll gladly pay a child $200 to trim the top of a giant pine tree.Joey O. (@ImGonnaDJ24), celestial cephalopod who can’t stop getting his feet stuck to things, from Y-Not Radio and Words With Nerds.Topics and Tangents“The Dr. Fad Show.”Eight ’80s Xmas Specials You Might’ve Forgotten, from Dinosaur Dracula.X-Entertainment’s preserved 2003 tribute to the Wacky WallWalker.This isn’t the right Apple Jacks commercial, but I can’t not mention young Julia Stiles scoffing that it doesn’t taste like apples.Writer Mark Evanier’s blog. Evanier was also the lead writer on “Garfield and Friends,” and author of the Jacky Kirby biography “Kirby: King of Comics.”The WallWalkers’ home planet looks like an M.C. Escher painting.Darryl is voiced by Scott Menville, best known now as Robin in “Teen Titans,” in one of his earliest roles.Darryl’s friend, Kenzo, is named after one of Dr. Fad’s sons. His other son is married to comedian and “Tuca and Bertie” co-star and executive producer Ali Wong.The most expensive things we’ve asked for from our parents for Christmas, which pale in comparison to a $1,000 toy car — which, of course, we then look up its adjustment for inflation.Waxing nostalgic about popcorn garland on Christmas trees.Previous Podcast Episodes Mentioned’Twas the Night Before Christmas (Season 2, Episode 3)Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration (Season 2, Episode 7)He-Man/She-Ra: A Christmas Special (Season 2, Episode 18)“Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls” © 1983 NBC Productions.“The Dr. Fad Show” © 1988 Tradex Corp.Commercial Break: Corn Pops Cereal with free Wacky WallWalker inside, 1984.The Advent Calendar House is on the web at adventcalendar.house, on Twitter @adventcalhouse, and part of the Christmas Podcast Network.
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