Sunday, 5 December 2010

Fifth Day of Advent

- December 5th -

When I was a little kiddie, The Christmas Raccoons cartoon was always on, every single year, without fail.

In fact, back in the early 80s The Christmas Raccoons was synonymous with Christmas every bit as much as the Queen’s speech, The Snowman or The Wizard of Oz.

The odd thing was that although this was the first of four specials, which would later spin off into a 60 episode series that ran from 1985-92, I never actually saw any episode other than this Christmas special. Not one.

The cartoon itself is a very strange thing to behold, much like many of the speedily produced cartoon shows to emerge from Canada and the U.S between 1960-90s. I haven’t sat down and watched this cartoon properly in such a long time, but the bits I do see from time to time have that sinister, slightly off-kilter animation and somewhat creepy voice characterisations - much like watching episodes of The Flintstones nowadays. There’s something quite ‘wrong’ about them, something that you can‘t quite put your finger on.

The story takes place in Evergreen Forest, a place that is located “slightly a ways North”, and concerns the cruel business tactics of lumber tycoon Cyril Sneer and his son Cedric - strange, bent-nosed creatures - who are terrorising the forest where the raccoons of the title live, leaving them cold and homeless in the run-up to Christmas. Teaming up with two children and the animals of the woods, they set about trying to save their forest from total destruction at the hands of Sneer’s lumber company.

I won’t lie to you, I used to love this as a kid, and Christmas wasn’t Christmas until it’d been shown on ITV. Nowadays, I find it just plain freaky, and much of the charm that it had when I was a child is lost on me now.

Perhpas not unsurprisingly, the cartoon itself has vanished into relative obscurity, having not been broadcast on terrestrial television for a good twenty years. It’s probably for the best, however, as it isn’t really the classic cartoon that I seemed to remember it being from my childhood. Which is a pity, I suppose.

And I still don’t know what animals Cyril Sneer and his son Cedric are supposed to be. If anyone happens to know could they let me know, please. Cheers.
The Christmas Raccoons - 1980

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