Posts Tagged ‘Flintstones


The Christmas Special Day 11: A Flintstones Christmas (1977)

Flintstone Christmas CollectionDirector: Charles A. Nichols

Writers: Duane Poole & Dick Robbins

Cast: Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc, Gay Hartwig, Lucille Bills, Virginia Gregg, Hal Smith,  John Stephenson

Plot: It’s Christmas Eve in Bedrock and the Flintstones and Rubbles are finishing up their preparations. Wilma (Jean Vander Pyl) and Betty (Gay Hartwig) try to persuade Fred (Henry Corden, taking over the role seamlessly from the late Alan Reed) to play Santa at the orphanage’s Christmas party that night, but Fred refuses and heads to work. When he arrives his boss, Mr. Slate (John Stephenson) informs him that his wife wants Fred to play Santa for the same party. This time, to protect his job, Fred agrees. At home, Fred and Barney (Mel Blanc) prepare for the party, but hear a thumping from the roof. They find Santa Claus (great voice actor Hal Smith, who played Santa in no less than five different cartoon series over the years) in the snow. Although Fred is skeptical at first, Barney finds the sleigh and reindeer, proving they’ve got the real Santa in the Flintstone house.  Santa sprained his ankle on Fred’s roof, and Barney suggests Fred as a substitute while he heals. Santa gives them a dose of magic and sends them on their way.

Things go relatively smoothly for Fred and Barney’s first few deliveries, but some turbulence knocks the sack of presents out of the sleigh. Barney calls Santa on the sleigh’s CB radio (it was the 70s, people), and Santa tells them to go back to the North Pole for another load. As they wait for the sleigh to be reloaded, Fred and Barney take a tour of Santa’s high-tech operation and pitch in making some toys. They get back in the air and speed up their deliveries, realizing Fred is still scheduled to play Santa for the orphans. Back in Bedrock, the children are starting to get upset – almost as upset as Mr. Slate. Fortunately, Fred and Barney finally arrive, spilling in through the chimney with such a spectacular entrance Mr. Slate forgives their tardiness… until Fred realizes they’ve given out all the presents already. With a little of Santa’s Christmas magic, Fred produces more, and the children are overjoyed. As they open their gifts, the boys return home to send Santa on his way. Wilma and Betty return home, angry at their husbands for rushing out of the party, and Santa ducks out before they see him. Although the girls don’t believe Fred and Barney’s story about filling in for Santa, they forgive them and begin trading gifts. Fred is horrified to realize, in all the commotion, he didn’t get Wilma a present, but Santa saves the day one last time, slipping one down the chimney. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm spot Santa flying away, and their fathers join them at the window, waving goodbye, while the girls just chuckle at the four kids looking up at the skies over Bedrock.

Thoughts: Like Fat Albert, this 1977 special takes characters from a popular cartoon show and gives them a Christmas adventure, although unlike Fat Albert, by 1977 the original run of The Flintstones had been over for several years. Fortunately, with animation, it’s easier to do a reunion special without worrying about actors getting older or passing away or refusing to reprise their role – in almost every case, a new voice artist is always a possibility. This special managed to get most of the original voices back, but one wonders if Mel Blanc felt a little confused that he was remaking a cartoon he’d done 13 years prior.

A Flintstones Christmas borrows much of its plot from the 1964 episode of the TV show, “Christmas Flintstone” (brilliantly clever with titles, these Hanna-Barbera folks), specifically the story of Fred filling in for Santa Claus after he injures himself. This special adds in more and different music and ages the children – Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are elementary school age, whereas they were still babies in the original. They also trade out B-plots – in the original, Fred was working as a department store Santa for extra money, whereas here he’s dealing with Mr. Slate and playing Santa for orphans. The B-plot is used to give urgency to the A-plot as well, while in the original Fred was pretty much done with his gig when he stumbles into the real Santa and is called upon to fill in. Still, if one were to sit down for a marathon of the assorted Flintstones Christmas specials and episodes throughout the years (something a guy like me is honestly very likely to do), you’d be a bit shocked when you essentially saw the same show twice.

Having dealt with that particular elephant in the room (I’m going to ignore the one about characters celebrating Christmas before the birth of Christ), let’s talk about the story for what it is. The notion of Fred filling in for Santa is a wonderfully natural one – the heart of the character is that of a sort of good-natured lummox. For all the times throughout the years where Fred gets short-tempered or angry, at the core of the character is a deep, abiding love for his wife and friends, the sort of thing that lends itself perfectly to playing Santa. The actual mechanism for getting him into the suit was pretty clever for the time, although it seems that Disney picked at this cartoon when they made Tim Allen’s more morbid The Santa Clause.

Although there was music in the original version of this, this version has much more of it, almost making it into a full-blown musical as both Fred and Barney break into song about how much they love Christmas at assorted points in the show. While none of the music has broken out and become of particular note, it’s perfectly passable and a nice addition to the cartoon. The animation style is really indicative of the sort of thing we got from Hanna-Barbera, up to and including a nice little Rube Goldberg-style montage sequence in Santa’s workshop, where Fred and Barney spill out onto the conveyer belts and get temporarily caught up in the mechanisms of the toymaking machines. We saw this sort of thing a lot in the old Hanna-Barbera cartons, second only to the “hall of doors” chase scenes they did so often, particularly in Scooby Doo.

In terms of sheer volume, the good folks at Hanna-Barbera may have been second only to Rankin and Bass for producing great Christmas cartoons. However, there aren’t a lot of ‘em I could use for this project, as so many of them are feature film length, regular episodes of assorted TV shows or, saddest of all, not available on DVD. Maybe next year. But for now we’re not quite done with the Hanna-Barbera characters… not yet.

Don’t forget, The Christmas Special is the third Reel to Reel movie study. The first, Mutants, Monsters and Madmen, is now available as a $2.99 eBook in the Amazon Kindle store and bookstore. And you can find links to all of my novels, collections, and short stories, in their assorted print, eBook and audio forms, at the Now Available page!


What I’m Watching in 2012

Just like yesterday’s post about books, I also keep a running list of the movies I watch each year. You know you do it to. Okay, some of you. Three of you? Harvey?

Anyway, for those who are interested, here’s the tally thus far. As with the books, if I happen to write a review of any of these films, I’ll throw up a link. And, should I happen to watch a movie as it’s being riffed by the likes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, or Incognito Cinema Warriors XP, I’ll provide a separate “grade” for the riff.

1. Tucker and Dale Versus Evil (2011), A
2. Little Shop of Horrors (1960), D; RiffTrax, B+
3. Eurotrip (2004), B-
4. Barely Legal (2011), D
5. TransFormers: Dark of the Moon (2011), B
6. Lady Frankenstein (1971), D; ICWXP, B+
7. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), B+
8. Serenity (2005), A
9. Bloody Pit of Horror (1965), F; ICWXP, B
10. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (1961), F; ICWXP, B+
11. Cedar Rapids (2011), B
12. Pontypool (2009), B+
13. Atlas Shrugged Part I (2011), B
14. Ghosthouse (1988), F; RiffTrax,  B+
15. The Slime People (1963), D; MST3K, C+
16. The Crucible (1996), B+
17. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011), B+
18. Chronicle (2012), A-
19. Justice League: Doom (2012), A-
20. Timer (2009), B+
21. Tree of Life (2011), D
22. Another Earth (2011), B+
23. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), A-
24. Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension (2011), A
25. Real Steel (2011), B
26. In Time (2011), C-
27. John Carter (2012), A-
28. My Week With Marilyn (2011), A-
29. The Adjustment Bureau (2011), B+
30. The Help (2011), A
31. Forrest Gump (1994), A
32. The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones (1987), B
33. The Flintstones (1994), C
34. The Hunger Games (2012), A-
35. Hereafter (2010), C+
36. The Task (2010), B
37. Cabin in the Woods (2012), A
38. The Adventures of Tintin (2011), B
39. Win Win (2011), B+
40. Millennium (1989), C
41. Immortals (2011), B
42. Iron Man (2008), A
43. Being Elmo (2011), A
44. Incredible Hulk (2008), B
45. Iron Man 2 (2010), B+
46. Apollo 18 (2011), C+
47. Reefer Madness (1936), D; RiffTrax, B+
48. Them Idiots Whirled Tour (2012), B
49. Thor (2011), B+
50. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), A
51. The Avengers (2012), A+
52. The Muppets (2011), A
53. The Goonies (1985), A
54. Spaceballs (1987), B+
55. Airplane (1980), A
56. Men in Black 3 (2012), B+
57. The Descendants (2011), A
58. Insidious (2011), D-
59. Muppets From Space (1999), B
60. Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011), A-
61. The Swing Parade of 1946 (1946), D; RiffTrax, B
62. Lucky (2011), B+
63. Exporting Raymond (2010), A
64. Alien (1979), A+
65. Aliens (1986), A
66. Prometheus (2012), B
67. I Want Candy (2007), B-
68. Sirens (1993), C
69. Superman Vs. the Elite (2012), A-
70. Drive (2011), C
71. The Wizard of Oz (1939), A
72. Blade Runner (1982), B+
73. Total Recall (1990), B+
74. Rock of Ages (2012), D
75. The People Vs. George Lucas (2010), A-
76. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (2012), C-
77. Brave (2012), A
78. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), A
79. Media Malpractice (2009)
80. Batman Begins (2005), A
81. The Dark Knight (2008), A+
82. The Dark Knight Rises (2012), A
83. Troll 2 (1990), F
84. Silent House (2012), B-
85. 50/50 (2011), A
86. Total Recall (2012), C+
87. The Darkest Hour (2011), C
88. Moneyball (2011), A-
89. The Expendables (2010), B
90. The Expendables 2 (2012), B+
91. Red Tails (2012), B
92. Walkabout (1971), C
93. Finding Nemo (2003), A
94. The Woman in Black (2012), C-
95. The Incredibles (2004), A
96. The Boys (2010), A
97. In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger (2004), A-
98. In the Mouth of Madness (1994), B
99. Act of Valor (2012), B
100. Project X (2012), C+
101. Tales of Terror (1962), B
102. The Birds (1963), B+
103. Hellraiser (1987), B+
104. Child’s Play (1988), C+
105. Looper (2012), B
106. Cinderella (1950), A
107. The Ghost Breakers (1940), B+
108. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), A+
109. Young Frankenstein (1974), A
110. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978), C-
111. An American Werewolf in London (1981), B+
112. Ghostbusters (1984), A+
113. The Toxic Avenger (1984), C
114. Beetlejuice (1988), A-
115. Arachnophobia (1990), B-
116. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), C+
117. Army of Darkness (1992), B+
118. Bride of Chucky (1998), C
119. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), A-
120. Eight Legged Freaks (2002), B-
121. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006), A
122. Slither (2006), A-
123. The Evil Dead (1981), B-
124. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987), A-
125. Trick ‘r Treat (2007), A
126. Zombieland (2009), A
127. 2016: Obamas America (2012), B
128. The Lorax (2012), B
129. The Pirates! Band of Misifts (2012), A-
130. The Room (2003), F
131. Skyfall (2012), A-
132. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), A
133. Home Alone (1990), B+
134. Finding Mrs. Claus (2012), C+
135. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009), B
136. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), B+
137. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), D; MST3K, B
139. Santa Claus (1959), F; MST3K, B+
140. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972), F-; RiffTrax, A
141. Magic Christmas Tree (1964), D-; RiffTrax, B+
142. Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), B
143. Arthur Christmas (2011), A-
144. A Christmas Story 2 (2012), C+
145. Trading Places (1983), B+
146. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), A
147. Nativity! (2009), B
148. A Christmas Story (1983), A
149. Love Actually (2003), A
150. Scrooged (1988), A
151. Die Hard 2 (1990), B
152. Django Unchained (2012), A-
153. Les Miserables (2012), A

–Updated January 5, 2013.


What I’m Watching: The Flintstone Christmas Collection

I love the Warner Bros Archive Collection. I’ve you aren’t familiar with this vendor, it’s where Warner Bros sells DVDs of movies and TV shows they know have an audience, but probably not a big enough audience to mass-produce and sell in stores. With DVD-on-demand technology being what it is today, they can burn and package DVDs to order at a much smaller financial risk and sell them exclusively online, on theor own site and on Amazon. I’ve found some old favorites on this site — things like the Rankin and Bass Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, the Chuck Jones version of The Phantom Tollbooth, and the so-bad-you-must-watch-it Legend of the Superheroes special which featured Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles from Batman alongside a host of DC superheroes.

But today, I want to talk about The Flintstone Christmas Collection. Now don’t mistake this for The Flintstones Christmas Carol — also a fine cartoon, but it’s been readily available on DVD for years. (By the way, Warner Brothers, can we please agree on pluralization? Why is it sometimes “Flintstone” and sometimes “Flintstones?” Let’s pick one.) This Archive DVD contains two other Flintstones Christmas specials, beginning with 1977’s A Flintstone Christmas. In this special, Fred is summoned to play Santa Claus both by Wilma and by his boss, Mr. Slate. He runs into trouble, however, when the real Santa Claus takes a tumble, gets hurt, and Fred and Barney have to step up and take his place. I really like this cartoon, but I’m almost positive it’s a 60-minute remake of an old episode of the original TV series. I got the complete series on DVD last Christmas (thanks, Mom and Dad), so I suppose I could check, but I’ve got a week of school left before the semester ends and these kids are starting to whine about wanting to “know what they made on the last three tests” or something.

The second special, A Flintstone Family Christmas, is from 1993, and is perhaps the last thing made in the chronology of the original series. This actually follows up two made-for-TV movies from the early 90s in which an adult Pebbles and Bamm Bamm got married and had twins. In the new special, their family (who lives in Hollyrock) is coming home for the holidays, and new grandpas Fred and Barney couldn’t be happier. But things go awry when Wilma convinces them to take in a street kid named Stony who seems to be a bit of a troublemaker. If only he had a father figure in his life to set him straight.

If you know where this is going, it’s because you saw the same thing playing out in the now-infamous Leonardo DiCaprio arc on Growing Pains. And like The Cosby Show‘s Raven-Simone before him and the Simpsons‘ Poochie after him, Stony seems to be a rather blatant attempt to inject a new character in the franchise. Which is odd, as there was no Flintstones TV show on the air at that point. I dunno, maybe they hoped that this special would jump start things and get them back on the air. It didn’t, though, and to the best of my knowledge they stopped going forward in the Flintstones’ personal timeline after this and returned to Pebbles and Bamm Bamm’s years in diapers the very next Christmas, for 1994’s Flintstones Christmas Carol.

The second special is kind of trite, but it’s okay. The first one is classic. And if you’re looking for old Christmas cartoons and movies, hunt around the Archive collection. There’s a lot there to choose from, including a lot of things you’ve probably forgotten.


My Saturday Morning Shuffle

A little while ago, chatting with Erin and Mark on Facebook, we call came to the conclusion that there just aren’t any good shows on Saturday mornings anymore. Certainly no decent cartoons. And I decided that the only way to remedy this, at least until I take over television programming, is to get an enormous DVD player capable of holding dozens of discs and placing the episodes on random shuffle. So I looked at my DVD collection to decide what I would put on that shuffle if I could do so right now…

  • Animaniacs Volume 1 (I so gotta find the rest of these)
  • Challenge of the Super-Friends Vol. 1, 2
  • Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers Vol. 1
  • Count Duckula Season 1
  • DC Super-Heroes: The Filmation Adventures
  • Danger Mouse Seasons 1 and 2
  • Darkwing Duck Vol. 1
  • Ducktales Vol. 1-3
  • Dungeons and Dragons: The Beginning
  • Exosquad Season 1
  • Flintstones: The Complete Series
  • Galaxy High Vol. 1
  • Garfield and Friends Vol. 1-5
  • Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1-3
  • Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection Vol. 1-2 (I desperately need the rest of these)
  • Max Fleischer’s Superman
  • The Muppet Show Seasons 1-3 (Not a cartoon, but I dare you to tell me these don’t deserve to be here)
  • Peanuts 1960s Collection, 1970s Collection Vol. 1-2
  • Pinky and the Brain Vol. 2 (Still need more!)
  • The Pixar Short Films Collection (Because they’re cool)
  • The Real Ghostbusters Vol. 1
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle Season 1
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Star Wars Animated: Droids & Ewoks
  • Superman: The Animated Series Vol. 2
  • Tiny Toon Adventures Season 1 Vol. 2
  • TransFormers: The Complete First Season Vol. 1
  • Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White; Silly Symphonies Vol. 1; Oswald the Lucky Rabbit; The Chronological Donald Vol. 2; The Complete Goofy

Looking at this list, my collection seems woefully inadequate. Why have I never finished the Looney Tunes collections? Or Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, or Pinky and the Brain? Why don’t I have the Batman cartoons, Batman Beyond, or the Justice League? (Why has Warner Brothers not yet released a complete set of Static Shock?)


Someday, my friends. Some. Day.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 202: A Christmas Coda

It’s time for a last dose of Christmas cheer as Blake, flying solo, gives his thoughts on this year’s Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special, discusses his own Christmas haul, and then announces the winners of the voting in this year’s best of 2010! Plus, listener e-mails! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by the Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 202: A Christmas Coda


EBI Classic #195: Is Santa Claus a Superhero?

With December upon us, the Christmas Party is in full swing. That includes both this week’s new and classic EBI columns. First off, the new — this week I dig into Santa Claus’s mailbag to find out what some of our favorite superheroes are asking for this Christmas:

Everything But Imaginary #376: What Does Superman Want From Santa?

Then, in the classic EBI, I’m going back to one of my all-time favorites. From December 20, 2006, let’s answer the eternal question…

Everything But Imaginary #195: Is Santa Claus a Superhero?

As fans of Fables know, Bill Willingham has promised that this week’s issue #56 is going to answer a long-pondered question: is Santa Claus a Fable? For those of you who aren’t reading Fables (and shame on you, if you’re one of them), here’s the basic premise of the series: characters from fairy tales and folklore such as Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf are, in fact, real, and have escaped an invasion of their homeworld to live in the “mundane” world. These Fables are powered and kept alive virtually forever by virtue of how much humans (or “mundys”) know and love their stories. So then there’s Santa Claus. Is he a Fable or not?

I’m going to leave it to the inimitable Mr. Willingham to answer that question. I’ve got a better question, one that’s really weighing on my mind.

Is Santa Claus a superhero?

To begin with, let’s define what, exactly, a superhero is. I personally like the Joe Casey definition, which (to paraphrase), is any character with a distinctive look or uniform who has great adventures battling evil. Now by this definition, “superhero” is a pretty broad term. James Bond, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter… heck, even Scrooge McDuck could all be labeled superheroes with easy justification. Squeezing Santa Claus in wouldn’t be any problem at all. So let’s look at him in terms that we comic geeks would find a bit more stringent. What’s the first question? Let’s look at this Official Handbook-style.

Powers and Abilities: The first and most obvious superhuman ability of the man we call “Santa Claus” is apparent immortality, or at the very least, extremely long life. By most accounts, Santa Claus was born under the name Nicholas in the 3rd century, eventually becoming the Bishop of Myra before faking his own death and beginning his centuries-long mission of gift-giving, making him at least 1700 years old, without having shown any signs of aging since his mid-60s. Furthermore, he is far more energetic than a man even of his apparent age. Santa also is apparently gifted with super-speed far exceeding even that of the Flash, having the ability to transport gifts from his Arctic Headquarters to families all over the world in a mere three nights every year. (See “Modus Opperandi”.) This ability to travel apparently extends to interdimensional transport, having been spotted interacting with heroes from multiple Earths including (but not limited to) Earth-1 (Superman), Earth-616 (She-Hulk), Earth-Walt (Scrooge McDuck), Earth-STAR (Gordon Shumway), Frosty the Snowman (Earth-Rankin/Bass) and Earth-Archie (Forsythe P. “Jughead” Jones). Santa is also evidently possessed of either shapeshifting or phasing abilities, or both, having the abilities to enter homes through even the narrowest of chimneys or, perhaps, no apparent entryways whatsoever. Santa also appears in various forms depending on the customs of the land he is visiting – in some countries he appears as a full-grown man, often drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola. In others he is a “right jolly old elf,” and in still others he appears in a female form and uses the name “La Befana.” (See “Secret Identity.”) Santa also has the ability to devour seemingly endless quantities of milk and cookies and the telepathic ability to keep track of who has been naughty and who has been nice.

Weapons and Paraphernalia: Santa’s most well-known paraphernalia includes his miniature sleigh and indeterminate number of reindeer. Santa Claus’s sleigh and the reindeer that pull it have the ability to fly, sharing his super-speed (perhaps the same way Flash Wally West had the ability to share his link with the Speed Force to other individuals). The number of reindeer is usually placed at eight, but on occasion a ninth reindeer identified as Rudolph is also employed for his extranormal ability to cause his nose to glow with such intensity that it serves to light Santa’s route through the night sky even in the densest fog or harshest weather conditions. Santa and his companions are also expert toymakers, with the ability to craft the highest quality toys, dolls, sporting equipment and games in quantities unheard of by any other terrestrial manufacturer. Often those toys have often been shown to be effective offensive weaponry on those instances when Christmas was threatened. (See “Feats.”) Santa has further developed an incoming mail system incomparable to any other on Earth, with the ability to receive and catalogue letters from children all over the world, even if those letters have no postage applied and, in fact, are never placed in a mailbox.

Uniform: Santa is usually depicted in North America wearing a red uniform with white fringe originally designed by painter Haddon Sundblom and first displayed to the public in a series of Coca-Cola advertisements in the 1930s. He does, however, appear in different robes of various styles and colors depending on the individual customs of the country he is visiting at the time.

Headquarters: Santa Claus makes his base of operations in a top-secret complex in the North Pole. There are varying reports as to how this base was established. According to The Autobiography of Santa Claus (as told to Jeff Guinn), the North Pole complex was designed by Leonardo DaVinci to solve the problem of having hidden toy factories across the United States and Europe. Other depictions of the story show Santa arriving there after being lost in a snowstorm and found by elves or fleeing there with the Kringle family that raised him to escape the clutches of the Bergermeister Meisterberger. The exact origin of the Arctic base remains in question, but most reliable sources agree on the general location.

Secret Identity and Modus Opperandi: The question of Santa Claus’s identity has been compromised over the years by the appearance of hundreds, if not thousands, of Santa Clauses throughout the shopping malls of North America, either greeting children, ringing bells for charity or attempting to sell electric razor blades. In truth, none of these are the true Santa Claus, and few are even associated with him. His birth name, as said before, was Nicholas of Myra, but as Nicholas decided his mission with his apparently eternal life was to deliver toys (and with them, hope) to the children of the world, he made the decision to adopt the legend of each land so as to be welcomed into as many homes as possible. As such, he is known by myriad names across the globe, including Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Sinterklauss, Befana, Kris Kringle, Nick St. Christopher (for undercover work) and countless others. In addition, Santa performs his good deeds on the date that is customary in each country as well, despite the belief of many in North America that he makes his annual rounds all in one night. In many countries, Santa makes his visits on Christmas Eve, but in others he makes his visits on the eve of St. Nicholas’s Day (December 6) and in still others he delivers his gifts on the eve of Epiphany, or “Twelfth Night” (January 6).

Group Affiliation: Santa is the head of a large organization headquartered at the North Pole. According to some reports (the aforementioned Autobiography of Santa Claus) the group also includes such notaries as Leonardo DaVinci, Benjamin Franklin, St. Francis of Assisi, King Arthur and Attila the Hun. Other accounts place him as the head of a group of hard-working elves with names such as “Jingles,” or “Hermie” (who abandoned his toy-making duties to become the North Pole’s first dentist) and fairies like Sugarplum. Almost all accounts include Santa’s wife, whose name varies from one account to another but whose firm but gentle hand helps keep him in line when he reaches for more cookies. Santa is also often depicted as being part of a coalition of holiday icons such as the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Cupid, the Great Pumpkin, Harry the Hanukah Goblin, Kwanzabot and Donald Trump.

Feats: Like all superheroes, the true measure of Santa Claus’s worth is in his individual feats of heroism. Aside from his yearly gifts to the children of Earth, Santa Claus’s adventures have frequently involved great danger. Among them: saving Superman from an attack by the Terrible Toyman and subsequently joining the man of steel in thwarting his enemy (DC Comics Presents #67), aiding the She-Hulk in capturing a serial killer (Sensational She-Hulk #8), transforming members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into action figures to aid the X-Men (Marvel Holiday Special 1991), saving the planet Earth from an alien invasion (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians), restoring peace between estranged friends Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble (Fruity Pebbles commercial), saving Christmas from the toy-hating Bergermeister Meisterberger (Here Comes Santa Claus), bringing peace to warring stepbrothers Heatmiser and Snowmiser and bringing a white Christmas to South Town (The Year Without a Santa Claus) and otherwise saving Christmas on 1,972 separate documented occasions throughout multiple dimensions. Santa has, on occasion, also had to summon others for help, including enlisting Gordon “Alf” Shumway to help him deliver his toys when his reindeer contracted Lyme Disease (ALF Holiday Special #1), turning to the Shadowpact when he feared a terrorist organization was taking aim at his North Pole operation (DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1), turning to the retired superhero named Lightning to help slow down the rotation of the Earth after an infestation of Soul Wraiths sapped his powers (Lonely Miracle), and requesting video store clerk Randall Graves supply his elves with much-needed video entertainment to keep their spirits up (Clerks Holiday Special #1). In addition, Santa’s associates have also been known to aid him in saving Christmas, or sometimes save it on their own, including Rudolph (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), his daughter Jingle Belle (in several Jingle Belle mini-series and specials by Paul Dini) and his wife, Layla (How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn).

Conclusion: So to wrap up, does Santa Claus meet the requirements of being a superhero? Yes, Virginia, he most certainly does. Santa is a being of incredible power who frequently has to do battle with the forces of evil to protect the innocent. Even when not actively fighting evil, he continues his good works by making toys to deliver to all of the children of the world. His associates have joined him in saving Christmas innumerable times, and he has a perfect 1,972-0 win/loss record, a feat unparalleled by any other superhero in any dimension. Santa Claus is not only a superhero, but is arguably the most effective superhero of all, maintaining not only the safety of Christmas itself, but the hopes and dreams of children and adults alike all over the world. A world without a Santa Claus may truly be the saddest world of all.

From all of us here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters – have a very Merry Christmas, and we’ll see you next week to run down some of the best and worst in comics for 2006!

Favorite of the Week:

If you’re sick of Santa Claus, go away, because I’m not done with him yet. Back in the 90s, Jeff Guinn wrote a magnificent book called The Autobiography of Santa Claus, in which he wove the factual story of Nicholas of Myra and other Santa Claus legends from around the world into a single, cohesive life story. The book became one of my favorites, and I read it again every December. Last year he followed it up with How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, telling the story of how Layla saved Christmas from a Puritan reformation led by Oliver Cromwell in the 1640s, again mixing in historical fact with his fantasy. This year a third novel came out, The Great Santa Search, for the first time taking his story to the present day. Santa finds himself threatened when a reality TV show producer decides to make his newest show a competition to select the new “official” Santa Claus. The real Santa reluctantly decides the only way to preserve his secrecy and still prevent tragedy is to enter the competition himself – and win it. No, it’s not a comic book this week, but it was still absolutely fantastic. Go read it.

But if you really need a comic book pick, go grab Tales of the Unexpected #3. David Lapham is writing one of the best Spectre stories I’ve ever read, focusing on the character of Crispus Allen and how his mission is affecting him. This is a unique mystery, where you aren’t trying to figure out who the guilty party is (that’s known from the beginning), but Allen instead has to solve what the crime was so he can mete out just punishment. It’s an amazing series and this was a great issue.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.



Christmas Party: Commercials we actually LIKE

We stand now, friends, upon the true beginning of the Christmas season. We’ve only one page left in our November page-a-day calendars, Santa is making a list, and television stations have been showing Christmas-related advertising since Halloween — except now we’ve reached the point where I look forward to it instead of finding it irritating. Some people hate commercials, but not me. A good commercial can be just as entertaining as any short film or cartoon, and I’ll admit it, if I like a commercial I’m more likely to seek out the product or service advertised therein. A good commercial that does its job will sell to me. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The best thing about commercialization at Christmas is that there are some ads we look forward to seeing every year. Let’s look for a moment at some of the classic commercials of Christmases Past…

Who can forget the classic Hershey Kisses “Bell” commercial?

Or the time Red and Yellow, our favorite M&Ms, met Santa Claus?

Then there was the time Barney Rubble decided to dress up as Santa Claus to try to get his hands on Fred’s Pebbles Cereal. This was back in those dark days when people were allowed to market children’s cereals to — y’know — children.

Coca-Cola has practically turned Christmas into a cottage industry, with classic advertising bits like the trucks…

And, of course, their polar bears and penguins…

And as Erin taught me, in the Pittsburgh area it just isn’t Christmas until you see this sweet, simple commercial from Eat ‘n Park:

Then a year or two ago, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart began to run this joint musical ad which, I’ll admit, I find pretty damn catchy.

Of course, not every Christmas commercial is great. If I never hear that painful Old Navy rap from last year again, I’ll be blissfully happy. And there are some commercials that are just plain scary — for example anything featuring the Burger King…

Or the absolutely terrifying ad Snickers showed this Halloween…

Now, has the Christmas season yet created anything so disturbing? No. But I fear they’re taking steps in this direction. For example, the new ad Planters is showing this year, featuring a fancier, stop motion Mr. Peanut voiced by Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr…

If you’re not sure just why this commercial is disturbing, I want you to put this into perspective: Mr. Peanut’s party has been invaded by a Nutcracker. A Nutcracker that has previously attempted to crack his shell, and clearly intends to do so again. And yet, it’s all good. Let him walk in. This is the equivalent of calling up a starving vampire that tried to bite you last week and asking him if he wants to come down for the skin cutting party you’re holding for all your Goth friends. This is a bad idea.

So I make this plea to the advertising industry. This Christmas, more ads like this one:

And less that give us the screaming heebie-jeebies.

Thank you.


Halloween Party: Bumpy Things in the Night or Something

Time Travel Tuesdays are not immune to the Think About It Central Halloween Party, friends! Back in the bygone days of my newspaper career, I would have to write my columns somewhat ahead of time to have them appear in Saturday’s paper — no later than Thursday morning, in most cases. This made it difficult to discuss what I did on Halloween when it occurred on a Friday. So let’s head back to November 1, 2003, the dark days B.E. (before Erin) when I pre-capped my Halloween for the readers of Everything But Imaginary…

Nov. 1, 2003

Bumpy things in the night or something

Well friends, another Halloween has come and gone. You adults out there are all tired and recovering from last night’s festivities. You kids are gathering up all the teeth that fell out of your mouth after eating your entire haul of Halloween candy 12 minutes after you got home last night. Everyone had a good time.
I’ve always loved Halloween, myself. The chance to cast yourself in a role utterly unlike yourself for a few hours, to take on an entirely different persona, to mold and transform into a ghoul or a beast, a phantasm or a wailing banshee — it’s simply too great to resist!

This year, of course, I was Fred Flintstone.

I’d love to tell you how great my Halloween was, folks, but it’s a sad fact of the publishing world that I had to write this column long before any of the actual Halloween festivities, by which I mean the party thrown by my friend Jenny and her sister Katie, had taken place. I’m certain I had a good time, though. In fact, if the party was as good as one would expect, knowing Jenny’s fiance Chase as I do, I’m probably still sleeping under a pile of carpet remnants somewhere as you read this. Nevertheless, I know Chase and Jenny well enough to explain to you how I fully expect the party will go. So here, for your reading edification, is Blake’s Halloween 2003: The Pre-cap.

• 4 p.m. I meet up with my buddy Chase at BSI Comics in Metairie. Chase attempts to convince me to change into our Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble costumes right there in the parking lot. I decline.

• 5 p.m. After purchasing this week’s comics (and getting into a brief spat with the manager after I explain to him I’m buying less because, now that I’m writing reviews at, I’m getting a lot of these comics free now), I follow Chase to Jenny and Katie’s apartment.

• 6 p.m. Chase and I change into our costumes. Jenny and Katie are already in their “Pirates of the Carribean” outfits. I say a brief word of thanks that Jenny managed to talk Chase out of his original costume choice: pirate wench. Halloween is supposed to be scary, sure, but not that scary.

• 6:30 p.m. Jenny suggests we take a trip through a nearby Haunted House before the party really gets into gear. She and Katie come out giggling and commenting on the cheesy effects, I come out trembling like Jell-O in a hurricane and Chase comes out swearing he’ll never drink again.

• 6:45 p.m. Chase opens his first beer.

• 7 p.m. A group of Trick-or-Treaters come to the door. Chase, enjoying his Barney Rubble costume, makes a joke about attempting to “steal their Pebbles.”

• 7:30 p.m. Jenny and I, having pooled all available cash, bail Chase out of jail and swear to appear before the judge next week to testify that he was just acting out a part and should certainly not be added to yet another federal database.

• 8 p.m. The other guests begin arriving at the party. Many of them, I notice, are attractive, single-type females. I decide I will use this evening to charm them with my rapier wit, my sly, confident demeanor, and my undeniably appealing presence.

• 8:01 p.m. I trip over the hem of my Fred Flintstone costume and fall face-first into the bean dip.

• 9 p.m. Someone shows up in what we all declare is the most original costume of the night: the Cubs fan that snagged that fly ball and screwed up the game against the Marlins.

• 9:15 p.m. Katie figures out that person is, in fact, the Cubs fan that screwed up the game and has been fleeing ever since from a pack of rabid baseball-lovers, players and Fox Sports executives, and is actually only passing through New Orleans in an effort to make it to Miami and claim political asylum.

• 10 p.m. Chase, on his third beer by now, grabs someone in a green ogre costume, starts calling him “The Great Gazoo” and demands that he grant his wish to create a giant chocolate pudding wrestling ring in the middle of the living room.

• 11 p.m. Someone reaches the precise point of inebriation where it becomes funny to start shouting, “Cheese it! It’s the cops!” every 15 seconds. Chase challenges him to a pudding wrestling match.

• 12 a.m. Determined to redeem myself, I begin attempting to prove to all present that Fred Flintstone is, in fact, a dancing machine. I get my tie caught in the CD player.

• 1 a.m. Having abandoned all pretense of dignity, I begin speaking to random women and make jokes like, “So Wilma’s out of town tonight, heh-heh…”

• 1:01 a.m. I begin looking for a pile of carpet remnants to hide under.

Blake M. Petit thinks, next year, he’ll wear a dog costume. Women love dogs, right? Contact him with comments, suggestions or some of those new Stainmaster swatches at


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 149: The Christmas Special Special

With the clock ticking up to the big day, Blake sits down with his sister Heather for a conversation about their favorite Christmas specials, TV shows, and movies. Fueled by your comments, the sibs talk about the classics of their youth, the new specials that have hit in recent years, and cross their fingers for future specials. Rankin and Bass, Disney classics, Hanna Barbera, Bob Clark, Charles Dickens and of course, Bruce Willis are all right here. In the picks, Heather simply questions the wisdom of people who have never seen A Christmas Story, while Blake recommends the indie comic Jill Chill and the Christmas Star from Cool Yule Comics. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 149: The Christmas Special Special
Inside This Episode:


What I’m Watching: 2009 Edition

As I sit here in the New Orleans Airport, waiting to head off to Nashville for a conference on “redesigning ninth grade,” I thought I’d take advantage of the time to post the movie list for the year thus far. Like the reading list I posted yesterday, I’m adding this to the links on the right-hand side of the page for the sake of anyone who’s actually interested in that sort of thing. Now when you feel like asking, “Hey Blake! Have you seen Wanted yet?” you can just click on the sidebar. Ain’t that cool?

Also, like for the books, I’ll include a link for those movies I’ve reviewed.

  1. DuckTales the Movie: Legend of the Lost Lamp; 1990-B
  2. Futurama: Bender’s Game; 2008-B
  3. 24: Redemption; 2008-B+
  4. Death to the Tinman; 2007-B+
  5. Rated R: Republican in Hollywood; 2004-C+
  6. Batman Vs. Dracula; 2005-C
  7. Hamlet; 1960-D (Movie); B+ (MST3K Riff)
  8. Confessions of a Superhero; 2007-B
  9. Storytelling; 2001-C+
  10. You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown; 1975-B+
  11. You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown; 1979-B-
  12. The Black Cauldron; 1985-B+
  13. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown; 1975-A
  14. A Charlie Brown Valentine; 2002-B
  15. You’re In Love, Charlie Brown; 1967-B+
  16. It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown; 1977-C-
  17. Howard the Duck; 1986-D+
  18. Quarantine; 2008-B
  19. Coraline; 2009-A
  20. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder; 2009-B
  21. Friday the 13th; 2009-C+
  22. The Karate Kid; 1984-B+
  23. Wonder Woman; 2009-A-
  24. Watchmen; 2009-B-
  25. Wanted; 2008-D
  26. This is Spinal Tap; 1984-B+
  27. Judge Dredd; 1995-D
  28. The Gamers: Dorkness Rising; 2008-B+
  29. Primer; 2004-B+
  30. Sheena; 1984-C
  31. Persepolis; 2007-B
  32. Surf’s Up; 2007-B-
  33. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown; 1974, B-
  34. It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown; 1976, B+
  35. Vampirella; 1996-D
  36. Tales of the Black Freighter; 2009-A
  37. Under the Hood; 2009-B
  38. The Norman Rockwell Code; 2006-B
  39. Monsters Vs. Aliens; 2009-A
  40. Once Upon a Girl; 1976-C
  41. Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird; 1985-A
  42. Snoopy’s Reunion; 1991-B-
  43. It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown; 1984-B-
  44. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet; 1997, C
  45. X-Men Origins: Wolverine; 2009, C+
  46. Star Trek; 2009, A
  47. The Phantom; 1996, C
  48. Vantage Point; 2008, B+
  49. National Lampoon’s European Vacaction; 1985, B
  50. Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest; 2007, B-
  51. The Odyssey; 1997 (miniseries), B
  52. O Brother, Where Art Thou?; 2000, A
  53. The Terminator; 1984, B
  54. Terminator 2: Judgment Day; 1991, A+
  55. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; 2003, C+
  56. Terminator: Salvation; 2009, A-
  57. Nightmare Circus; 1974, F
  58. Day of the Dead; 1985, B+
  59. The Call of Cthulhu; 2005, B
  60. The Running Man; 1987, C
  61. Grindhouse Presents Death Proof; 2007, C-
  62. Partly Cloudy; 2009, B+
  63. Up; 2009, A
  64. Across the Universe; 2007, C
  65. Tropic Thunder; 2008, B
  66. Good Luck Chuck; 2007, C+
  67. The Hangover; 2009, B+
  68. TransFormers; 2007, B
  69. TransFormers: Revenge of the Fallen; 2009, B-
  70. My Cousin Vinnie; 1992, A
  71. 1776; 1972, A+
  72. The Rocketeer; 1993, A-
  73. Independence Day; 1996, B+
  74. Short Cuts; 1993, D
  75. Comic Book Villains; 2002, B
  76. Riding the Bullet; 2004, B
  77. Fanboys; 2008, B+
  78. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; 2005, B+
  79. Chalk; 2006, A-
  80. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; 2009, B+
  81. Push; 2009, C+
  82. Donald in Mathmagic Land; 1959, A
  83. He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown; 1968, B+
  84. It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown; 1969, B
  85. Charlie Brown’s All Stars; 1966, A
  86. Green Lantern: First Flight; 2009, A
  87. The Dark Half; 1993, B-
  88. Cashback; 2006, B+
  89. Flight of the Navigator; 1986, B-
  90. Justice League: A New Frontier; 2008, A
  91. Ghostbusters II; 1989, B
  92. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; 2009, F
  93. District 9; 2004, A
  94. Ghostbusters; 1984, A
  95. Inglorious Basterds; 2009, A-
  96. Halloween II; 2009, C-
  97. Severance; 2006, B
  98. Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters; 1988, C+
  99. Countdown to Wednesday; 2004, B
  100. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; 1988, B+
  101. Murder Party; 2007, B
  102. Hulk Vs.; 2009, B-
  103. Graveyard Shift; 1990, C+
  104. Saw V; 2008, C
  105. 9; 2009, B+
  106. Zombie Strippers; 2008, F
  107. Return of the Living Dead 3; 1993, C
  108. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies; 2009, B
  109. Zombieland; 2009, B+
  110. Toy Story; 1995, A
  111. Toy Story 2; 1999, A+
  112. Frankenstein; 1931, A
  113. Bride of Frankenstein; 1935, B+
  114. Son of Frankenstein; 1939, A
  115. Ghost of Frankenstein; 1942, C+
  116. House of Frankenstein; 1944, C
  117. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein; 1948, A+
  118. Trick ‘r Treat; 2007, A-
  119. Hobgoblins; 1988, F (movie), A (MST3K Riff)
  120. The Men Who Stare at Goats; 2009, B+
  121. The Time Machine; 2002, B-
  122. Animal Farm; 1999, B
  123. Planet 51; 2009, B
  124. Play it Again, Charlie Brown; 1971, B+*
  125. You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown: 1972, B*
  126. There’s No Time For Love, Charlie Brown; 1973, B-*
  127. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; 1973, A*
  128. It’s a Mystery, Charlie Brown; 1974, B*
  129. Garfield’s Thanksgiving; 1989, A-
  130. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians; 1964, F (movie), B (MSK3K Riff)
  131. A Christmas Carol; 2009, B+
  132. A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa; 2008, B+*
  133. A Chipmunk Christmas; 1981, B*
  134. A Flintstones Christmas Carol; 1994, B+
  135. A Muppets Christmas Carol; 1992, A-
  136. Mickey’s Christmas Carol; 1983, A*
  137. The Small One; 1978, A*
  138. Pluto’s Christmas Tree; 1953, A*
  139. Santa’s Workshop; 1932, A*
  140. Prep and Landing; 2009, A-*
  141. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland; 1976, B+*
  142. Cranberry Christmas; 2009, B-*
  143. Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July; 1979, B-
  144. A Charlie Brown Christmas; 1965, A+*
  145. It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown; 1992, B*
  146. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales; 2002, B-*
  147. I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown; 2003, B+*
  148. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown; 1985, A-*
  149. The Princess and the Frog; 2009, A
  150. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; 1964, A*
  151. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; 1989, A+
  152. Hogfather; 2006, B+
  153. Home Alone; 1990, B
  154. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; 1974, B+*
  155. Elf; 2003, B
  156. A Christmas Story; 1983, A+
  157. Avatar; 2009, D+
  158. Night of the Creeps; 1986, C
  159. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys; 2005, B
  160. Sherlock Holmes; 2009, B

Last Updated on December 31, 2009

Blake’s Twitter Feed

March 2023

Blog Stats

  • 318,956 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.