January 9th, 2006

New Buddha

Three Christmas public domain DVD collections

Well, this was not the season for Christmas dollar DVDs in most of the US it seems. Last year, some found releases by genius entertainment and Brentwood, but it seems that this year only East West DVD released anything new and I think I'm one of the few that got my hands on them(Woo Hoo, The Magic Christmas Tree on DVD!).

This was the year of the public domain Christmas DVD compilation though. It seems that there were many released this year it seems, here are the three that i felt compelled to buy. This would have come out a week before Christmas day but my computer died then I immediately had to leave town on vacation. So now you get to read a much longer version complete with obsessive exact DVD chapter lengths. Lucky you!

Campy Christmas Curiosities - Passport Video

Santa In Animal Land (9:02)
Santa Claus Story (9:28)
Christmas Toyshop (9:29)
Home Movie Footage (2:29)
Jack Frost (8:24)
Christmas Rhapsody (8:41)
Howdy Doody's Christmas (8:28)
Santa Claus' Punch And Judy (8:41)
The Night Before Christmas (8:05)
Merry Christmas (8:42)
"Weird Silent Santa Footage" (2:10)
A Christmas Fantasy (4:42)

This is the one that started it all. Dr. Mark mentioned it over at popmusicpopculture, and I just had to have it. Just look at that cover! "Caution! Definately Not For The Kiddies"! A chimp dressed like Santy Claus!!! 6 bucks shipped!

Well, except for Passport video getting my money, it was all pretty much lies. The mighty Rod Lott over at Hitch Magazine was excited too, but he too was soon crushed by the dullness of it all. Except for a few , mopst of these can be forund elsewhere and with out the "Campy Christmas Curiosities" watermark burned into the bottom right corner. They even mention "Macabre Marionettes!" on the back of the case, and it ain't on the disc. I have a feeling this means that they originally meant to include "The Elf & Mr. Little"(as seen on the Treeline disc below). Don't get me started on the "Not For The Kiddies" warning either. You'd have to have some pretty wussy kids for them to be bothered by this.

BUT...I have to admit that they did an amazing job on packaging. check out these quotes:

"most bizzare"
"...an astonishing assortment of the weirdest holiday footage ever released (or did it escape?)."
"acid-trip-style vintage cartoons"
"a frog puppet that sound eerily like Eric Catman" (actually he sound more like a resident of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe)
"downright creepy"
"What kind of minds came up with these things??"

Who knows, maybe I'm just jaded.

The Christmas Collection - St. Clair Vision

Over 13 hours consisting of 11 TV Episodes, 21 Shorts, 4 Full Length Films for 5.50!

Disc 1: Classic TV Shows
Beverly Hillbillies - Turkey Day(24:57), Christmas At The Clampetts(24:58), Home For Christmas(24:58)
The Burns And Allen Show - Gracie And Relatives(29:48)
The Jack Benny Show - Christmas Shopping(25:27), New Year's Eve(26:22)
Ozzie & Harriet - Late Christmas Gift(25:56), The Christmas Tree(25:17), Piano For The Fraternity(26:00), Busy Christmas(25:58)
Liberace - The Christmas Show(26:38)
Bonus: Christmas On The Radio (A heavily compressed 5:24 minute Christmas compilation of old radio bits w/ a slide show in the background)

Disc 2: Classic TV Specials
The Little Christmas Burro (1978) (24:43)
Brightest Night (1952) (14:48)
The Little King (1934) - Christmas Night (7:34)
The Christmas Visitor (1959) (7:18)
Toys Will Be Toys (1949) (4:11)
Santa's Pocket Watch (1981) (19:43)
Ginger Nutt's Christmas Circus (6:46)
Silent Night: The Story Of The Christmas Carol (1953) (12:28)
Little Gray neck (1977) (19:21)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948) (8:41)
Santa's Surprise (1947) (8:25)
Christmas Comes But Once A Year (1936) (8:18)
Snow Foolin' (1949) (6:01)
Hector's Hectic Life (1948) (6:01)
Jack Frost (1934) (8:01)
The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives (1933) (6:46)
Somewhere in Dreamland (1936) (8:55)
The Night Before Christmas (1947) (8:10)
The Candlemaker (1956) (13:00)
The Star Of Bethlehem (1959) (11:25)
Jack Frost (1979) (47:41)
Bonus Feature: Christmas Carols With Lyrics

Disc 3: Christmas Features
Beyond Tomorrow (1940) (1:23:54)
Scrooge (1935) (1:17:31)
A Christmas Without Snow (1980)(1:35:20)
Miracle On 34th Street (1955) (45:58)
Bonus Feature: Images Of Christmas (10 minute slide show of old Christmas cards with opera music) (9:12)

Wal-mart's website shows a different cover that looks like this:

I found this at my local Wal*Mart Neighborhood Market(they still have a few copies). It's a really nice collection that uses some pretty good looking sources. The disc with four movies crammed on it does suffered from some pixelization, but the other two look great. I've noticed on this year's recent PD discs that they've used some more colorful, less faded prints not sourced from VHS especially, on some of the cartoons. The version of the Rankin-Bass TV special Jack Frost is one of the best I've seen. Mostly common stuff, but great quality overall. Obscure items include the Lorne Greene narrated "The Little Christmas Burro" and the very British "Santa's Pocket Watch".

Classic Christmas Cartoons - Treeline

The First Christmas (1992) (26:44)
Charles Dickens' The Christmas Carol Narrated by Vincent Price (1958) (24:59)
Santa and The Three Bears (1970) (45:21)
Santa and The Fairy Snow Queen (25:49)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (8:10)
Santa's Surprise (7:46)
Christmas Comes But Once A Year (7:43)
Jack Frost (8:00)
Howdy Doody's Christmas (8:12)
O Little Town Of Bethleham "Hymnalogue" (3:18)
O Come All Ye Faithful "Hymnalogue" (2:38)
Silent Night: Story of the Christmas Carol (12:31)
Santa In Animal Land (9:12)
Jingle Bells "Hymnalogue" (2:53)
The Christmas Visitor (7:19)
The Night Before Christmas (Castle Films) (8:11)
Merry Christmas (8:46)
Santa Claus Story (9:27)
The Little Lamb (8:38)
The Candle Maker (13:03)
A Christmas Dream (8:47)
Christmas Fairy Tale (11:06)
The Little King: Christmas Night (7:43)
Hectors Hectic Life (6:00)
The Shanty Where Santa Claus Lives (6:46)
Snow Foolin' (6:02)
The Elf & Mr. Little (12:29)
Hobozodhee Nytewectbne a.k.a. "A Christmas Gift" (1959) (10:35)
The Little Match Girl (8:25)
A Present For Santa (8:07)

I've also found two additional covers for this one. I've come across the square one a lot, so it may come in a CD case or more likely a cardboard sleeve. Be careful, there are more that a dozen different release with various combinations of the words classic, Christmas, and cartoons.

If you're going to get just one DVD collection of public domain Christmas footage this year, this is it. It has some obscure stuff, odd stuff, religious stuff, russian stuff...basically everything a boy would want. The much heraded "Santa Claus Story" monkey land footage is even here and this time it's with sound(The "Campy" disc had the silent version with title cards, bah!). Prints look nice, not too badly compressed, definately worth the 6 bucks(with shipping!).