Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Aflac, Christmas, Miser Brothers, Rankin/Bass
After a very busy week that included writing a research paper, multiple doctor’s appointments, babysitting one of my adorable nephews, and attending a Christmas pub crawl, I’m a bit behind schedule. So please forgive me for my delay in postings for the week!
At the aforementioned pub crawl, a few friends did offer some helpful suggestions about this week’s blog and Rankin/Bass characters in general. My friend Paul mourned the post about Hermey, stating that “people never remember the seven years he spent in ‘Dentists without Borders.’ ” And my friend Derek strongly suggested that the strange and frightening Rankin/Bass manifestation that is “Baby New Year” should be more closely examined.
I’ll certainly take these under advisement. But for now, I just thought you’d enjoy seeing how some of my favorite characters sold themselves out last year, when they filmed a commercial for Aflac insurance. Note that Hermey appears because it was prior to his cyberstalking charges; Dolly is absent because her term in the New Mexico state mental hospital had begun years prior; and Heat and Snow Miser were busy in contract negotiations with ABC Family channel for their upcoming special, A Miser Brothers’ Christmas, which will be broadcast on December 13.
Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Decepticons, Dolly, King Moonracer, Misfit Toys, Rankin/Bass, Santa, Skeletor
Name: Dolly, the Misfit Toy
Also known as: A dolly for Sue
Hobbies: says “how do you do” ; one night stands; guns; tattoo artistry
Home: Her last known address was at a home in suburban Cleveland, Ohio
Marital status: Never married
Secret crush: Chucky from Child’s Play. He is her inspiration.
Car: After multiple DUIs Dolly no longer has a license. She takes public transportation, or hitchhikes.
Favorite film: Taxi Driver. She likes Scorcese’s nuanced appraisal of vigilante justice.
Little known fact: Since her rise to fame, Dolly has been constantly plagued by questions about why she was on the Island of Misfit Toys in the first place, as she had no visible defects or oddities. While she has never publicly answered the question, key sources have suggested that Dolly’s problems were deeply psychological, and linked to her rejection by her first owner, a girl named Sue.
Last public appearance: Dolly appeared on the Today Show in a controversial 1998 interview with Katie Couric prior to a highly publicized trial for first degree murder. In the interview, Dolly accused former ruler of the Island of the Misfit Toys, King Moonracer, of sexual harassment offenses against both her and the Ostrich-Riding Cowboy. The Cowboy could not be reached for comment about or confirmation of her allegations.
Where she is now: After Rudolph’s Great Liberation of 1964 (so called by the playthings inhabiting the Island of Misfit Toys at the time), Dolly was dropped down the chimney of a young girl in Cleveland, Ohio, as a Christmas present from Santa. Upon receiving Dolly, the little girl threw a tantrum and demanded a Barbie instead. Dolly was subsequently imprisoned in a storage box for years, and developed troubling psychoses as a result.
When the contents of her storage box was finally donated to a local charity in the mid 70s, Dolly was granted to a local hospital clinic’s children’s playroom, and was soon passed hand-to-hand and used by all and sundry. She blocked out the faces of the young children as they abused her, pulled her hair, ran her over with trucks, sat on her. During this difficult time, Dolly slept around with whatever toys passed through the playroom. A one-armed GI Joe. Raggedy Andy (she was somewhat surprised by his adventurousness in the sack.) Tigger (he didn’t live up to his reputation of rubber and springs and other “wonderful things.”) Ernie from Sesame Street (he was still unsure about his sexuality.) And James T. Kirk (who accepted her advances with “OK, I’ll set my phaser to stun.”)
In 1983, after a petty theft-prone patient visited the clinic and snuck her out under his jacket, Dolly ended up in the home of this young sadist in the making, who stuck her with needles, burned her, put her on a stretching device, dragged her around on a string behind his big wheel up and down the street. Strangely, she found herself enjoying it. This boy liked her. He payed attention to her. That was enough.
After the boy grew tired of her, she fell in with a rough crowd in the boy’s toy chest, and joined an evil posse led by Skeletor who dominated the chest throughout the early 80s. She even had a brief fling with Evil-Lyn, Skeletor’s chief of staff, but the affair ended after only a few weeks. When the Transformers moved into the chest during Christmas of 1985, she began training with the Decepticons, learning important lessons about disguise, stealth, and weaponry training.
In 1989, she found her inspiration when she happened to see Chucky in Child’s Play for the first time on VHS. After she had hidden the tape from the family so they could not return it to the video rental store, she chose opportune times to watch the movie repeatedly, almost obsessively, gradually forming a mission in her mind: that she would find her original owner, Sue, and exact revenge on her for the abandonment.
In 1992, she escaped her captivity in Cleveland to search out her obsession. She hitchhiked her way to a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her former owner Sue had lived. Unfortunately, when Dolly arrived she found the family had moved. Undaunted, she enlisted the help of a savvy pal, Teddy Ruxpin, and began a public records search for the family. Much to her frustration, it took several years to find them, as Sue had since changed her name and left the state.
By 1997, still without an answer, Dolly shaved her hair à la G.I. Jane, and began an intense boot camp workout regimen to ready herself for the mission. She also began dabbling in tattoo arts, designing and inscribing the name “Sue” with a skull and crossbones beneath it on her right shoulder, and the word “vindication” across the knuckles of both hands. (Or at least the area where knuckles should be.) Finally, a year later, she hit paydirt: Teddy Ruxpin had found Sue and her family near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Upon arriving in the city, Dolly went immediately to Sue’s house and started doing recognizance work in the neighborhood. At that time, police had multiple reports from local residents about a demonic doll that appeared in their windows at night. After a few initial interviews, the police abandoned the case as a prank.
Later that month, as former owner Sue was unpacking the groceries from a trip to the supermarket, she opened a kitchen cabinet to find Dolly pointing a gun at her head. Dolly expressed all of her frustration and anger about her ruined life that had been a result of Sue’s thoughtlessness. Sue, now in her late 40s, expressed extreme confusion about Dolly’s identity, claiming that she didn’t know Dolly; she didn’t remember having a toy like Dolly. Dolly must have made some kind of mistake. Sue only recalled playing with Barbies.
Dolly shot Sue on the spot.
When the police arrived, they found Dolly mourning over the body of her lost owner, hugging herself and singing “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year” over and over again. Charged with murder in the first degree, Dolly was successful in using the insanity defense, but was sentenced to life in a state mental institution.
Dolly can now be found in the Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where she has been a patient/inmate since 1999.
Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Abominable Snow Monster, Bumble, Chupacabra, Dalai Lama, Loch Ness Monster, Moth Man, Rankin/Bass, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Sasquatch, the Beatles, Yukon Cornelius
Also known as: Abominable Snow Monster
Hobbies: Reading Deepak Chopra; Tai Chi; aromatology; fasting; and placing stars on the top of Christmas trees (yes, he still has a soft spot in his heart for Christians). Of late he has also become an avid listener of 2008 American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, whose sound is so transportive it allows him to achieve a higher plane of consciousness. Bumble has written of the teen singer that “his corporeal body may be 18, but his voice echoes across the millennia.”
Home: His home is the earth in its great and full expanse. Given our transience, what one of us is egotistical enough to think that we can own a place? Can our souls have mortgages?
Marital status: Bumble has taken vows of celibacy and dedicated himself to a life of the spirit. He walks alone. (Also, mythical creatures do not have marital rights under United States law.)
Secret crush: Bumble no longer has cravings of the flesh. He loves all creatures, everywhere.
Car: He has disavowed all earthly belongings.
Favorite film: Star Wars. It was the only film in which a great, hairy creature achieved something like equal rights, and was perceived as an intelligent being with great technical capability and common sense. He was very hopeful for a time that things might be changing for he and his kind; but then he saw Harry and the Hendersons a decade later and fell into a deep depression. The world was not yet ready.
Little known fact: While Bumble has disavowed all earthly belongings, he did bring a major lawsuit against the Rankin/Bass Corporation for injuries incurred during the filming of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 1964. (All of his teeth were actually removed by the amateur and unlicensed “dentist” elf Hermey. Bumble has subsequently suffered from debilitating bouts of TMJ for decades.) As a mythical creature, he wasn’t covered in the “mistreatment of animals” statute that governs film production in the U.S. and Canada. However, despite the great evidence stacked against them, the court found in Rankin/Bass’s favor—in their estimation, Bumble did not have defined legal rights under human law. Therefore his case was moot.
Last public appearance: In 2008, a team of Japanese adventurers discovered his footprints on Dhaulagiri IV, one of the peaks in the Himalayan Mountain Range. Bumble had been on a pilgrimage to visit the Dalai Lama at the time.
Where he is now: Following his well-publicized capture by Yukon Cornelius in the North Pole in 1964, he and Cornelius spent several years exploring the counterculture of 1960s America, with its emphasis on free love and drug use. Bumble remembers those years as a time when his spirituality crystallized and his purpose in life became clear. He became a devotee of guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and began to practice transcendental meditation, even traveling to India to study with the guru during 1968. (Cornelius has no recollection of the year 1968, hence the discrepancy in their accounts.)
While under the guru’s tutelage in Rishikesh, Bumble met the Beatles and formed a firm friendship with John Lennon. His bond with the group actually inspired the cover of their “White” album—largely because of his albino coat and inability to speak. Like John, Paul, George and Ringo, he left India abruptly after learning of a rumor that the Maharishi had made advances on Mia Farrow during a meditation session. He was crushed.
But despite his disillusionment with his guru, his mind was resolved. He returned to the U.S. with a vision of what was meant to be, and soon met up with his former captor, who had never realized he was gone in the first place. While they were attending the Woodstock festival in 1969, Bumble declared his solemn intentions about following a meditative and purposeful life to Yukon Cornelius, who kept spinning in circles, pointing up at the sky, and singing songs about peanut butter.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Bumble traveled the world, consulting with mystics and spiritual leaders. He then carried the knowledge he had gathered back to his people, forming his own spiritual haven in the wild peaks of Denali National Park, and training them to be missionaries of his word and practice. They all readily espoused his teachings, which explains their solitary nature and dislike of being seen and caught on camera.
In the late 1990s, and inspired by his poor treatment at Rankin/Bass, Bumble began a quiet campaign to gain civil rights for the mystical creatures of the world. He met with Chupacabra, Moth Man, Nessie (Loch Ness monster), his cousin Sasquatch, and the Giant Squid (who has since been outed.) Together they began to put together a strategic plan to improve their public image and, subsequently, to introduce themselves formally to the world.
After September 11, however, the creatures’ plans were in disarray after the World Trade Center attacks and the subsequent climate of fear, distrust, and recrimination that swept the world. They have put their ideas on hold indefinitely, although they do take great hope in the current trend of vampire popularity, especially among teenage girls. Chupacabra has been especially excited, and is just waiting for the time when goat-sucking is made sexy and acceptable.
Bumble counts among his human friends (who have all been sworn to secrecy) Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Gary Weil, Madonna, and New York Yankees Third Baseman A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez.)
His great dream is that someday he will become a spiritual advisor to Oprah.
Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Bumble, Christmas, Rankin/Bass, Theater, Yukon Cornelius
Name: Yukon Cornelius
Often mistaken for: Kevin Youkilis, First Baseman for the Boston Red Sox
Hobbies: prospecting for gold and silver; Pilates; big game hunting; raising prize orchids; fantasy football; pedicures; Guitar Hero; eating peanut butter.
Home: Has no known address, but does have a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands.
Marital status: Has had a very secret, long-term relationship with Florida Governor Charlie Crist. They have no immediate plans for a commitment ceremony.
Secret crush: Todd Palin. Isn’t it obvious?
Car: Classic ’74 Chevy Camaro. He does not have a driver’s license, so the car is pulled by sled dogs.
Favorite film: Red Dawn. Because it reminds us that Cuba could invade the Midwest at any time. And Patrick Swayze’s performance is superlative.
Little known fact: He has been to Ireland over 100 times in the past 7 years. He first went looking for gold (read: looking for leprechauns—yes, leprechauns) back in 2001. He figured, he’d found one mythical creature (Bumble the abominable snow monster), why not another? After a few unsuccessful attempts, he gave up and went to a pub. Now he goes to Ireland for the Guinness. Guinness, fresh from the tap, only days from when it was kegged. And when you pair it with a bowl of fish chowder from Monk’s Pub in Ballyvaughan…it’s the shizzle. Plus it almost tastes like gold when licked off the end of a pick axe.
Last public appearance: In October, 2007, he played Jason in the musical version of the Greek classic, Medea (by Euripedes) in Worthing, South Dakota’s Olde Town Dinner Theatre. It earned rave reviews, as did the Surf ’n Turf on the menu that month.
Where he is now: Following his well-publicized capture of the abominable snow monster in the North Pole in 1964, he and Bumble spent several years exploring the counterculture of 1960s America, with its emphasis on free love and drug use. Cornelius remembers those years as a floating, hazy, happy time. While attending the Woodstock festival in 1969, Cornelius lost his yeti-like companion somewhere in the crowds when he had a bad acid trip, and started seeing giant white furry creatures around him everywhere.
Lost and adrift, Cornelius found himself in post-Stonewall San Francisco in the early 70s, where he discovered the marvels of disco, community theatre, and the ability to wear a hat and earmuffs at any time of the year without being stared at or mocked. But it was the stage that really captured his fancy; and he was soon studying under legendary acting coach Jean Shelton, and appearing in the vibrant Bay Area theater scene with such talents as Sam Shepard, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kathy Baker. During these important formative years as an actor, he is most proud of his performances in such iconic roles as Othello, Tiny Tim, and lead chorus in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
After being beaten for the role of Grizzly Adams in the NBC hit show of the same name (Dan Haggerty was ultimately chosen), Cornelius, his heart broken, turned his back on film and television and returned to theater work. He has since crisscrossed the country in the past several decades expanding and perfecting his acting skills, alternating between dramatic, comedic, and musical roles. Some of his favorites include starring in Bertold Brecht’s The Mother in Miami Beach, Florida in 1987 (where he met Charlie Crist); reprising his role as Lady Bracknell in Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in Juneau, Alaska’s Perseverence Theatre in 1990; and his funky fresh stylings in Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk in the Wichita Community Theater in 2000. In 2003, he also garnered strong reviews for his demanding dance solos in “Creekdance,” an American revisionist version of “Riverdance” featuring cloggers and banjo players, at Tennessee’s Cumberland County Playhouse.
He is next slated to appear in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot: The Musical! in Akron, Ohio’s famous Carousel Dinner Theater in March of 2009. He reminds you that chicken pot pie night sells out early, so be sure to get your tickets soon!
Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Christmas, Rankin/Bass, Snow Miser
Name: Snow Miser
Also known as: Mr. White Christmas, Mr. Snow, Mr. Icycle, Mr. 10 below
Talents: can turn objects into snow; accomplished dancer & singer; world Parcheesi champion, 1986
Home: Ice castle located in the Laplands of Finland (in foreclosure)
Marital status: Currently estranged from his 3rd wife, Annika Duckmark (former Miss Sweden, 1996)
Secret crush: Sarah Palin. She should be so wrong, but she just seems so right.
Favorite film: The Day After Tomorrow, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid. Because watching New York freeze over was awesome.
Car: SmartCar Electric
Little known fact: Has had multiple facial surgeries to remove icycle-like protuberances from the end of his nose. Unfortunately, doctors have told him, the growths will continue to recur without some drastic interventional measures. He is currently considering radical nose replacement surgery, à la Michael Jackson.
Last public appearance: A Japanese commercial for Yamadai company’s frozen Okazu in 2002. For reasons he still does not understand, he now has a large fan base of Japanese lesbians.
Where he is now: Following the brief snowstorm event in Southtown, U.S.A. in 1974 and aberrant springlike weather in the North Pole, Miser grew disillusioned with the world climate order. He briefly joined an Eskimo colony in Barrow, Alaska, where he met and married his first wife Kanguyak (Inuit for “Daisy”), but left shortly after whaling season when Kanguyak refused to live in the split-level igloo he had built her.
After spending two years as a member of Greenpeace’s “Rainbow Warrior” crew, protesting whale and seal hunting in the North Atlantic, he returned to school in the early 80s, earning a degree in environmental engineering from the University of Stavanger in Norway. He subsequently went to work for a deep-sea marine fisheries operation, where he specialized in developing flash-freezing techniques. He patented one of his inventions, which earned him significant enough royalties that he was able to retire in 1990, and pursue pet projects such as collecting ice core samples from the poles. He met his second wife, Trudy, at the Halley Research Station in Antarctica, where they married in a very small ceremony the winter of 1991, as neither of their families could attend due to weather complications. They divorced shortly after leaving the station in 1992, when Trudy remembered there were actually many more men in the world and she grew tired of her husband’s repetitive sexual advances using his “Mr. Icycle” persona.
During his retirement, Miser heavily invested his profits in Icelandic fishing interests, which were reaping impressive profits until 2007. When the bottom fell out of the Icelandic economy in October 2008, Miser lost everything, and had to declare bankruptcy. His most recent wife, former Swedish beauty queen Annika Duckmark, left shortly afterwards.
After the dissolution of his last marriage, Miser has, according to reports, been sleeping on his good friend Ed Begley Jr.’s couch. He has been drowning his sorrows in Begley’s home brew, which Begley makes using a solar-powered boiling pot, organic hops grown on his roof garden, and water recycled from his own urine.
Miser has since retracted his statement that he is “too much.”
Check out Snow Miser’s “big number” in A Year without a Santa Claus:
Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Christmas, Heat Miser, Rankin/Bass
Name: Heat Miser
Also known as: Mr. Green Christmas, Mr. Sun, Mr. Heat Blister, Mr. 101°
Hobbies: can melt objects with a single touch; accomplished dancer and singer; wine connoisseur; self-professed devotee of hip-hop artist Ludacris
Homes: Southern California, St. Barts, and an undisclosed volcano somewhere in the “Ring of Fire” of the South Pacific
Marital status: Confirmed bachelor
Secret crush: Sarah Palin. He likes hot women from cold places. So sue him.
Car: tricked out insulated HUM-V limo
Little known fact: He and his brother were part of a controversial cloning experiment back in the early 70s, which resulted in dozens of singing and dancing mini-misers. While he initially enjoyed having them as minions and back-up performers, he lost track of the little guys after they left to explore the rapidly exploding punk scene in the U.K. later in the decade. He hasn’t seen them since, but recently has heard rumors that they are the regular back-up vocalists for David Hasselhoff during his German concert tours.
Last public appearance: Crawford, Texas. He was one of the few close friends invited to the wedding of President Bush’s daughter, Jenna. Was reported to have drunkenly sung the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” repeatedly until he was removed by the Secret Service.
Where he is now: Following his highly successful “spring in the North Pole” campaign of 1974, Miser became infatuated by the idea of shrinking the polar ice caps. During the subsequent energy crisis under the Carter Administration, he quietly invested in several major oil companies, reaping large dividends in the ensuing decades. He has been the mastermind behind the explosion of Chinese coal use for the past twenty years, and was a confirmed contributor to the robocall campaign of bomb threats during the 2005 Kyoto Protocol meeting in Montreal.
Known for his blistering temper and unwillingness to compromise, Miser has been a close friend of Dick Cheney for some years now. He was one of the several secret delegates who were privy to Cheney’s clandestine Energy Policy meeting early in the Bush Administration. He is the founder of “Global Warming: YES!” Foundation, which provides underprivileged individuals with gas guzzling cars and other fossil fuel based technologies, as well as sponsors clear-cutting and brush-burning parties for indigenous Amazonian tribes. There has been some speculation that the Foundation might be linked to a series of fiery dung bomb incidents at the home of former Vice President Al Gore (often accompanied by flyers stating “how’s this for an inconvenient truth?”) but the matter is still under inquiry.
Now a resident of Southern California, Miser claims to feel quite welcome by the climate there. He has been declared a “person of suspicion” multiple times in the investigation of rampant area fires outside of L.A., but has never been indicted due to lack of evidence.
His romantic life as a confirmed bachelor has found him linked to many famous women over the past several decades, from Charro, to Florence Henderson, to Carrie Fisher (during the Star Wars years), to Yoko Ono, to Joan Collins, to Catherine Bach (formerly “Daisy Duke”), to Janet Reno (the affair was never acknowledged publicly), to Courtney Love. He is currently speculated to be dating actress Evan Rachel Wood following her recent break-up with goth rocker Marilyn Manson.
His controversial tell-all autobiography, Hunk of Burning Love, is slated for publication in 2010, and is already rumored to be topping Oprah’s book club picks for the year.
Take a walk down memory lane with his iconic appearance on A Year without a Santa Claus:
Filed under: Rankin/Bass Christmas Characters | Tags: Christmas, Rankin/Bass
So now that Thanksgiving is over, let the Christmas season begin! And nothing has ever said Christmas to me in quite the same way as the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. Do you remember sitting in front of the TV as a kid, watching that technicolor word “SPECIAL” spiral around the screen and getting incredibly excited? I think I have such a Pavlovian response to it, that even now, decades later, I’d probably start jumping up and down uncontrollably. While looking for my feetie pajamas.
This week, I’ll take a look at six of my favorites. But because it’s been so many years since these guys were last on TV, I’ll be putting a little spin on it: “where are they now?” Sort of like an E! True Hollywood Story, but for claymation characters.
But what’s important this week–and what I’d REALLY love–is to hear your ideas about where these characters might be now, or alternate Rankin/Bass characters that are your favorites, etc. I’ll list your ideas in the “comments” section and I’ll pull the best out for separate posts!
And please…if you like the posts, pass them on to friends!