TV Special Tonight!: Yogi’s First Christmas

It’s December, and that means that it’s time to settle in front of the boob tube and be bombarded with the usual array of unrelenting Christmas themed TV specials. All of the classics that you know and love that the networks run every year. So to mark this occasion, today we’re going to focus on a Christmas special that ran for a couple of years in syndication and was then largely forgotten: a slice of 1980s cheese titled Yogi’s First Christmas.

Holiday cheer…we’re full of it!

Yogi’s First Christmas is a 1980 holiday-themed television film first aired on November 21, 1980, and produced by Hanna-Barbera. Throughout the 1980s it was offered to U.S. television networks broken up as a one-week strip syndicated program, generally showing the week of Christmas, one episode per day for four days, although I originally saw it in it’s full 2 hour version, again in syndication. Not to be confused with Casper’s First Christmas, which is a half hour H-B special that aired on NBC in 1979.

Wait…Casper and Hairy Scary have never heard of Christmas? When did these guys die, anyway? Yeah, they’re ghosts, but they’re not aliens. They should at least know of the holiday, even if they don’t celebrate it. OK, I’ll save that kind of nitpicking for Talkin’ Nerdy. Back to the show…

We begin with Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Augie Doggie and Doggy Daddy traveling in a snowmobile while singing the song “Comin’ Up Christmastime”(which is one of 2 songs that were previously performed on Casper’s First Christmas). They’re on their way to Jellystone Lodge (why not?) to celebrate the holiday. Yogi and Boo-Boo are usually hibernating during the Christmas season, even though both characters were wide awake to celebrate the holidays in Casper’s First Christmas just a year earlier. Contradict yourselves much? It’s probably best to just consider these H-B specials as each being in their own separate continuity, like the Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z movies. Anyway, Yogi and Boo-Boo are soon awakened by the rest of the gang, which also includes Ranger Smith, hotel manager Mr. Dingwell and Otto the chef. The gang is obsessed with keeping the lodge’s owner, one Sophie Throckmorton, happy so that she won’t close down the lodge, which has become unpopular due to activity caused by Herman the Hermit, a grumpy Christmas-hating hermit who just wants to be left alone, that is when he isn’t prospectin’ fer gold and shooing revenuers off’n his property. Mrs. Throckmorton has arrived to the lodge with her nephew Snively, a rotten brat with a voice that sounds like he’s been gargling with gravel. Seriously, who names their kid Snively? Unless his parents want him to become a horse opera villain. Snively perpetually has his shorts in a bunch because he hates all things associated with Christmas. Yeah, you get the week off from school and a pile of toys for doing nothing. Christmas sucks if you’re a kid.

Snively: Look at me! I wear long pants indoors but change into shorts when I go out in the snow because I make no sense!

Yogi and Boo Boo are put to work as employees of the lodge. Yogi is first ordered to operate the snowplow, to which he saves Mrs. Throckmorton on the road from an avalanche caused by Herman. Later, Yogi is working as a bellboy, where he is tasked by Ranger Smith to stay on Mrs. Throckmorton’s good side. Though Snively tries to embarrass Yogi with his pranks, Yogi comes out on top.

Also, during a lodge scene, Boo-Boo sings the “Hope” song, which was previously used in A Christmas Story. No, not the movie starring Peter Billingsley, but a 1972 animated special with the same title.


“Wow. And they say I’m lazy!”

In another attempt to degrade Yogi, Snively tricks him into entering a figure skating contest, which Snively is also a participant. Although Snively earns high marks, Mrs. Throckmorton covertly wishes Snively would lose in order to tame his poor attitude. Yogi, the last contestant, manages to impress the judges well enough to earn the highest marks and win. Snively is a sore loser and enraged that Yogi beat him at his own game, but his aunt Sophie says that Yogi won fair and square and losing is a lesson of life. Fed up with Snively’s antics, Yogi gets revenge on him during an ice fishing contest, with Mrs. Throckmorton agreeing that he needed to be taught a lesson. Furious, Snively runs away and meets up with Herman, and the two team up to ruin Christmas, when they proceed to sing a song about how they’re “mean, sour, nasty and cruel”, a song that would later be re-used, rewritten slightly and sung by Gargamel in an episode of Smurfs.

Snively: Yeah! Let’s go ruin Christmas!
Herman: Hang on a sec. There’s a tick in my beard and I wanna save that bad boy fer desert!

Cindy Bear also awakens from her hibernation, to help Yogi out (due to her love and concern for him). There’s a running joke within the special of Cindy trying to get Yogi under the mistletoe so that she can give him a smooch. She explains her desire to Boo-Boo and then…this happens.

Ah, there’s a little something for the furries.

Yogi's First Christmas - Cindy Bear

That bit almost cost them their G rating. Is this a Christmas special or Showgirls? If Cindy starts doing a striptease, I’m leaving.
Back to the plot.  The tag team of Herman the Hermit and Snively set out to ruin Christmas, but Yogi, through a combination of wit and dumb luck, thwarts them every time. Back at the lodge, Mrs. Throckmorton forbids her nephew Snively from attending the gang’s tree trimming party (Gee, I wonder why). Snively is distraught. (Am I supposed to be feeling sorry for this little snot right now? ‘Cause I don’t. Montana Max is cuddlier than this kid!) But instead of Snively getting the ass whuppin’ that he’s been asking for since this thing started, he instead is invited by Herman to join him outside of the lodge in the freezing cold for some vittles and roadkill (Now that’s good eatin’!).
Meanwhile, The gang is celebrating their tree trimming party where they sing “Making A Big To-Do”, the other song that was re-used from Casper’s First Christmas. You gotta love Hanna Barbera; those guys were recycling before it was fashionable.
Yogi dresses up in a Santa Claus suit and plans to surprise the lodge guests, but his plans take a surprising turn when the real Santa shows up and makes the scene before Yogi does.

“Yeah, I can’t believe I showed up for this thing either!”

Hands up. Who saw that coming?
Yogi, Santa and company spot Herman and Snively freezing outside, but instead of throwing rotten fruit at them, they instead invite the 2 of them inside to celebrate Christmas, where both of them have a profound change of heart and spirit. Santa even gives Herman a present. So, Herman has hated Christmas with a burning passion for years, possibly decades, and he changes his tune almost instantly?
“Can you say ‘plot contrivance’, boys and girls? I knew that  you could.”
Anyway, Herman would later re-join society and find some people with similar beleifs, and fashion sense.
Duck Dynasty
Oh, and Cindy gets her kiss from Yogi also, by the way.
Santa gives Yogi a basket full of food, however, Yogi has fallen asleep. Prompting Snively say “Good night, you ol’ fuzzball. You’re some terrific character.”

Shut up, Snively!

Santa then says that Yogi and Boo Boo can have the basket when they wake up in the spring. With that, the partiers return Yogi, Boo Boo and Cindy to their caves for the rest of their hibernation. Shlock a doodle doo.
So that’s Yogi’s First Christmas. It could have been better, but it could have been worse. if you want to check it out, it’s floating around on YouTube. The special is also available on DVD and VHS, although personally, I suggest renting it first. But what do others think?
“Yeah, listen, Teddy Ruxpin. Stick to swiping picnic baskets and leave the “holly-jolly” stuff to the experts! Me and Rudolph, we are Christmas! Represent!”

TV Special Tonight!: The Last Halloween

As you know (unless you’ve been living under a rock, not that we’re judging you, rent’s high, man), October is the month of Halloween. To honor the occasion, we’ll be looking at a forgotten Halloween special, a spooky, haunting outing starring a scary group of…space aliens.

“What da what??”

Yes, that’s right, space aliens. Today’s TV Special Tonight spotlights The Last Halloween, a live action/animated Halloween television special produced by Hanna-Barbera. It premiered and first aired on CBS on October 28, 1991. It received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. The visual effects and animation were provided by Industrial Light & Magic and Pacific Data Images.
Fun Trivia fact: Bill Hanna himself provided the narration for this special. Also, the special tied into a marketing campaign that candy company M&M/Mars was doing at the time, Mission from Mars.

“Money, money, moooney! MOOO-NAY!”

The plot (such as it is) a tad..clunky. Upon watching it, you’ll find yourself going “Whaaa…?” a lot.
The special is set in a town called Crystal Lake, not a camp called Crystal Lake, so no cameo by Jason Voorhees.
Four aliens – Gleep (Paul Williams), Romtu (Don Messick), Scoota (Frank Welker), and Bing (also Frank Welker) have been sent to Earth from the planet Mars (’cause it had a product tie-in with M&M/MARS. Get it? Get it??) in order to find a rare material known as “coobi” (which is later revealed to be candy). After crash landing on Earth, they wander the streets searching for “coobi,” but are mistaken for trick-or-treaters and ignored. When Scoota gets a strong reading on his “coobi meter,” the four aliens chase down two children, Jeanie (Sarah Matinek) and Michael (Will Nipper), into the woods. The children learn about the aliens’ mission and agree to help them collect candy.
“Feh. When we landed on Earth, were we befriended by nice kids? No! We got chased into a creepy house and were forced to live there. Yeah, life’s fair!”
Naturally, keeping in tune with TV and Movie Cliches 101, when the aliens patrol the streets in search of candy, they are of course mistaken for kids in costumes, despite them looking like things that fell out of the Master Controller’s nose.

If you saw these guys on your block, you wouldn’t think they were trick-or-treaters, you’d think that George Lucas was holding auditions for his next unnecessary Star Wars prequel.

One of the many little less-than-thoroughly explored subplots in this special is how Michael wigs over how his sister Jennie always wears the same costume every Halloween; the reason being that said costume was crafted by the kids’ late mother, who has apparently died of CFMDS (Convenient Fictional Mother Death Syndrome–an illness which runs rampant throughout the Disney Studio). And oh, the smarmy tacked-on sentiment that this plot point inspires: EVERY time someone mentions the dead mother, the music swells and someone delivers a sappy speech chock full of greeting card homilies such as “Mothers are more beautiful than fairies”, leading to a hee-larious scene in which our alien buddies happen upon a boy wearing a fairy costume (!) and assume him to be a mother.
There’s also another subplot involving Rhea Perlman as Mrs. Gizbourne, a creepy mad scientist lady who, along her henchman Hans (Richard “Bull” Moll), are holed up in an old Victorian style house performing experiments on insects to find the secrets of eternal youth. It is revealed that by performing these experiments they have nearly drained Crystal Lake, which is the main source of power for a candy factory in town. Mrs. Gizbourne then demands that Hans find a bug “big and strong enough to survive a nuclear meltdown.”
“Good, good.”
And oh noes! If the candy factory closes down, then this will be the last Halloween in the town. (Why? They never say.) Anyway, the special returns to the children and the aliens. They agree to split into two groups to find more candy, one group consisting of Gleep, Romtu, and Scoota and the other group consisting of Jeanie, Michael and Bing. One of the aliens, Bing (not Crosby) is mistaken by Hans to be a giant bug and is captured and taken back to Gizbourne’s house. The children learn of Mrs. Gizbourne’s plot, but are soon captured by Hans. Jeanie and Michael are quickly able to escape with Bing in tow to the lake. There they are found by Jeanie and Michael’s father, who goes on to thwart Mrs. Gizbourne’s plans. The first group of aliens then arrive at the candy factory, take all of the candy, give Michael a special skipping stone and return to Mars. Michael uses this stone and the power of wishing to revive Crystal Lake. (He could have wished for his mother to come back to life, but why waste it on something frivolous?) The candy factory is thus saved, and the townspeople end the special rejoicing.
As previously mentioned, The Last Halloween was made as a tie-in to a candy company’s Halloween campaign, which begs the question…..
…So when are the Hershey’s Boo Crew going to get their own TV special?

TV Special Tonight!: Zolar – The Extreme Sports Movie

Two things that kids like are space aliens and extreme sports (i.e., skateboarding, snowboarding, etc.). In 2004, Kids’ WB brilliantly and cynically combined these 2 elements by producing a made for TV movie about an extreme sports loving teenage space alien. Witness Zolar: The Extreme Sports Movie.

Mediocrity….TO THE XTREME!!!

Kids’ WB’s first (and only) live action movie,  Zolar tells the story of a blue-skinned teenaged extraterrestrial who possesses immense galactic power but is interested primarily in skating with his friends and reconciling his freakish exterior with the norms of society. And surviving attempts on his life by the evil interstellar overlord Hedion. That concerns him too.

Here’s the skinny: Fourteen years ago, a burst of galactic energy collided with Earth. This burst contained a blue skinned alien baby (I didn’t know energy bursts could do that). Said baby was found by a guy named Skip, who lives in a bus. Skip claimed the baby as his own and did what any human would do with an alien baby; teach it to skateboard to the max, man!

Here’s Zolar and his adoptive parent dude Skip. Skip is the one on the left.

Zolar’s  bright blue skin and the fin things for his ears are OK, but there’s something familiar about that nose…



Moving on…
Fast forward to the present day. Four meddling kids (they’re names are Keiko, Dex, Hanson, and Chelsea, but you don’t need to know their names. I’m just going to call them by their character archetypes: Leader Boy Who Gives Everything His All, Nerd Boy Who’s a Technical Whiz, Wacky Dressed Girl Who Has Kooky Colored Hair and Ca-Razy Kewl Outfits and Little Sister Who’s Out to Prove She’s Not Just a Kid, Even Though She Is) are trying to break into the extreme sports circuit, be it rollerblading, skateboarding or snowboarding. Problem is, they all suck at all of them. One fateful day, they run into Skip and Zolar. Skip offers to train them in the way of awesome skateboarding, while also giving his adopted alien freak boy a chance to make friends with some normal kids.  Zolar also has a propensity for making the following ejaculation:
“Blue no!”
Seriously. Stop trying to turn “Blue-Ya!” into a catchphrase. It’s not going to happen.
There’s also a cameo by professional skater Jason Ellis, who provides lengthy exposition and makes the startling revelation that all extreme sports athletes are actually aliens in disguise!
Silver Surfer
“That sounds ridiculous to me, and I used to work for a guy who eats planets for sustainance!”

“File this under: bull crap.”

All of the world’s extreme sports athletes are space aliens. Really, that’s like saying that all of TV’s famous cooking show stars are actually mutant Morlocks.

You always wondered. Now ya know!”


Everyone immediately becomes friends. However, the evil Hedion (C. Thomas Howell), a powerful space bad guy, seeks the power that Zolar has within him. To capture Zolar and retrieve this mojo, he dispatches some cronies to Earth, chief among them some clown named Geommer.

Geommer puts together a scheme to trick Zolar and takes him prisoner. It’s now up to Zolar’s new friends to spring their blue chum, and prevent Geommer from taking over the universe.

Thanks to for the synopsis.

On the upside, Zolar is harmless family fare. There’s no blood, death or sexual innuendos. On the downside, the movie is very, very, very stupid. The premise alone opens the door for all kinds of unanswerable questions: How does a hippie guy living in a bus manage to hide an alien for 14 years? What’s with Wild Grrl’s look?


Normally I’m all for chicks who wear wacky outfits and crazy colored hair, I actually liked the pink hair, but this chick was wearing FAR too much makeup. Seriously, no need to cake it on, sister; any more and you can officially qualify as a clown. Seriously, all she needs is a pair of big floppy shoes and a red honking nose and she’d be in the house.

“All of a sudden I’ve got somethin’ in my pocket. It’s as big as my shoe, but it feels just like a rocket!”

Where are these kids’ parents? Aren’t they concerned about their kids being chased and blasted by laser gun toting evil aliens from another planet? And how does anyone not notice a teen with blue skin and gills wearing street clothes? Yeah, sure. All you have to do is dress the space alien in a baseball cap, a plaid shirt and blue jeans and everyone thinks that he’s a normal person.

“That’s just stupid.”
“Real stupid!”
Zolar is nothing but a cynical attempt to cash in on two popular fads to make money off of gullible kids. It would be like making a movie about giant robots who know Kung-Fu. Or a movie about Wild West cowboys fighting alien invaders.

Oh, wait. That actually happened. Anyway, as evidenced by shows such as Prostars and “Hoop Squad”, arguably the single worst episode of Static Shock of all time, trying to pass off pro athletes as super heroes is always a terrible idea. I think that Chad Rocco (CR!) said it best, “Just because you can play basketball, that doesn’t make you a super hero!”

All of a sudden, the concept of extra terrestrial ducks who play hockey seems plausible.

TV Special Tonight!: Hanna-Barbera’s All-Star Comedy Ice Revue

Hello and welcome to a new segment on Twinsanity called TV Special Tonight!, where we look back at one-shot TV specials, those bonus funfests which would occasionally turn up in prime time as a treat to the kiddos at home and interrupt whatever shows their parents usually watched at that time. Today we’ll be checking out Hanna-Barbera’s All-Star Comedy Ice Revue, a 60-minute live-action/animated television special produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in association with deFaria Productions which aired on CBS on Friday, January 13, 1978 at 8:00 pm EST and was taped at the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium in Bakersfield, California in December 1977.

Into the WABAC machine….

Mr. Peabody: Greetings, friends. You are about to enter the dark and twisted era of 1970’s prime time variety. Some of what you see and hear may shock and disturb you. I humbly suggest that those of you with sensitive stomachs and weak constitutions stay behind in the safety of the present.
Sherman: Gosh, Mr. Peabody. I saw some of those shows on the Obscure Oldies Channel and I thought they were kinda funny!
Mr. Peabody: Yes, well you would, Sherman.
The year was 1978. You’ve just finished a heaping dinner of Big Macs, Screaming Yellow Zonkers and Drink Me Pop, and now you’re settling down in front of the Boob Tube for a night of good ol’ fashioned brain rot, when suddenly you find that the night’s usual programming has been pre-empted  for an hour because of this….
OK, Houston, right away we have a problem. That’s supposed to be revue, as in a musical show consisting of skits, songs, and dances, but it’s spelled review, as in a revisiting or restudying of subject matter. When the title card of your special contains a typo, you know you’re in for a rollicking night.
“Typography fails. 2 Stars.”
Anycrap, Hanna-Barbera’s All-Star Comedy Ice, um…Revue, was a celebration for Fred Flintstone on his 48th birthday (or to be more accurate, his 65,000,000, 048th birthday) featuring a bunch of otherwise unemployed actors in giant felt mascot costumes of Yogi Bear, Jabberjaw, Huckleberry Hound, Scooby-Doo, The Banana Splits, Hong Kong Phooey, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and The Hair Bear Bunch, assembled together as a celebrity roast of sorts, on a giant ice rink. Keep in mind this was the 1970’s, where ice skating rinks and swimming pools were a staple of variety shows and specials (Donny & Marie and the Brady Bunch each had swimming pools on their variety show stage sets), which were themselves a fixture of TV at the time. Don’t ask me why so many 70’s variety shows contained water as a fixture, I guess it was a side effect of it being the Age of Aquarius.
The show was hosted by Hee-Haw country crooner Roy Clark and Bonnie Franklin, who played divorced mom Ann Romano on CBS’s One Day at a Time, ’cause whenever I think of the funtastic world of Hanna-Barbera, the first 2 names that always pop into my mind are Roy Clark and Bonnie Franklin. The special guest stars were The Sylvers (a 70’s knockoff band who usually got all the gigs that the Jackson 5ive turned down) and featuring Course & Young (a comedy duo whom you’ve never heard of), the Fentons, Sashi Kuchiki, the Ice Capettes and a special appearance by The Skatebirds. (The latter group wasn’t hard to round up since they also had a Saturday morning series on the same network at the time.)
As if all that weren’t spectacular enough, we were also saddled with a plot, sort of: it turns out that the guest of honor, ol’ Fredso himself, isn’t at the gala, but rather just chillaxing at home in front of the tube in Bedrock. Fred was under the misunderstanding that the special was scheduled for the following night, and so he and Barney Rubble have to get up from watching the special on their Stone-A-Vision to scramble to get to the studio in time (“Get Him to the Geek!”). They spend the bulk of this telecast just trying to get there, all the while watching the events unfold via a portable TV that they bring along with them.
Wait, what?
OK. Riddle me this…….
….how is any of this possible? How are Fred and Barney even watching a TV broadcast from millions of years in the future? And how are they supposed to drive to the present?? For that matter, how are Roy, Bonnie and the gang able to hold a TV special for someone who existed 65 million years previous? Is there a time/space vortex somewhere in the middle of Interstate 25? Does Fred know a guy with a TARDIS?
“Actually, I’d say it’s more of a TARPIT: Time And Relative Plotholes In Television.”
OK, enough nitpicking. This isn’t Talkin’ Nerdy. It’s probably best to just write this all off as a product of Hollywood, Land of No Reality and move on.
Anyshtick, with Fred M.I.A., the hosts are forced to stall for time until the guest of honor arrives. Meanwhile, it would appear that hours before shooting started, someone must have conked the dude in the Jabberjaw costume on the head hard, knocking him barely conscious, and as he was coming to, convinced him that he was Rowdy Roddy Piper and that Fred was Hulk Hogan. Ol’ Jaws spends much of the special drunk on Haterade, snarking on Fred and loudly suggesting that with the cave guy in absentia, that HE should be the guest of honor. Some examples of Jabber’s “wit”:
  • Jabber presents a gift he’s bought for Fred, a baseball bat with a hole in it. When asked why there’s a hole in the bat, Jabber replies “It matches the hole in Fred’s head!”


  • When Roy informs Jabber that they’re not honoring him because unlike Fred, it’s not his birthday and he’s not loved by all, Jabber eats him SNL Land Shark style, prompting Roy to add, “Plus, you’ve got really bad breath!”
  • Later, Jabber admits that he’s having a lot of fun at Fred’s roast, “‘Cause he’s not here!”
U MAD, BRO’???
  • Roy Clark even laments that they’re stuck with “a shark who thinks he’s Don Rickles!”
It’s never explained why Jabberjaw has this mad-on for Fred, he just does. After the 3rd of 4th shticky put-down, I half expected the hosts to ask, “Seriously, dude, what’s your damage?! Did Fred key the side of your underwater car? Did he sell you out to some whalers? What??” Perhaps Jabberjaw was lashing out because Fred had his then current voice actor, Henry Corden, while Jabber had to be voiced by Don Messick instead of his usual voice actor, Frank Welker. Maybe Mr. Welker got a gander of the script and quit.

Among this special other “highlights”:
  • A bizarre comedy bit by the aforementioned Coarse and Young, involving one of them attempting to sing a song while the other, playing a janitor, constantly disrupts his performance by hitting him with a mop, biting him on the leg and eventually blowing him up. Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Bonnie dons a polar bear’s skin (which must’ve thrilled the poor bear!) and sings “You Are My Lucky Star” while the Ice Capettes skate around the rink while signing “We’re in the Money” Huh?
  • The Sylvers perform “Disco Showdown” while the assorted dancers and costumed mascots shake their collective groove thangs on the rink.
  • Roy sings a song from Love Story while strumming on the guitar. Kids, this might be a good time to go to the bathroom.
  • Sasha Kuchiki juggles flaming torches shirtless.
  • Your parents get an eyeful of what they missed by not waking up early to watch The Skatebirds on SatAM, as the titular birds performed some live-action comedy bits. For those who don’t know, The Skatebirds were the bastard cousins of the Banana Splits, 3 guys in giant bird costumes on roller skates (Knock-Knock the woodpecker, Satchel the pelican and Scooter the penguin, respectively) whose shtick largely consisted of them being chased around by someone in a cat costume on roller skates (Scat Cat, voiced by Scatman Crothers). Their show also featured cartoon segments, the most notable of which being a show starring animated versions of the Three Stooges as robotic superheroes, a legendary must-see.
Finally, after some more bits (including one involving 4 identical Wally Gators skating around while Bubi Bear of the Hair Bear Bunch chases after them with a fly swatter–what did these guys use to stir their coffee back then?), a large cake is brought onto the stage and at long last, Fred finally arrives, just in time to see the credits roll.

Comedy routine or hookah-induced trip? You decide.


He’s finally here! So what happened to Barney??

So, uh, Fred’s a costumed character now? So, is it only live-action inside the studio? If Bonnie or Roy stepped outside of the studio, would they be cartoons too?? This special just went from ‘Huh?’ to ‘Whaaaaaaat?’
Some people have said that Hanna-Barbera’s All-Star Comedy Ice Revue is H-B’s equivalent to George Lucas’ Star Wars Holiday Special. That’s debatable, but at least the Star Wars special had Jefferson Starship performing “Light the Sky on Fire”, while this one gave us rollerskating dudes in bird costumes, skating on ice.
I can’t sum it up any better than one of the great philosophers of our time, Mr. Yakko Warner:
“If you can’t say anything nice, you’re probably at the Ice Capades!”