Saturday, December 17, 2011

Howdy Doody's Christmas (1957?)

This eight minute short came as part of a DVD collection I bought cheap on Amazon, but apparently it's easy to find on Youtube, too. Come to think of it, just about everything in that collection appears to be on Youtube.

At any rate, this has to be one of the strangest artifacts we've come across. I've never actually seen an episode of Howdy Doody before, though of course I know what it is. Or at least I thought I knew: now, I'm not so sure.

First off, let's talk about the horror.

See, every character in this thing, with the exception of Buffalo Bob, is outright creepy. Imagine Chucky but not as cute: that's Howdy Doody. And remember the clown from It? yeah, apparently his older brother's name was Clarabell, and he's in this. Then there's Ugly Sam. I guess he wasn't scary, just weird.

This thing starts a few minutes before midnight, with most of the above characters decorating a tree. They hide at midnight, so Santa won't see them (it's apparently an important detail that the fat man shows up at midnight, on the dot, which is even harder than hitting every house on Earth in one night). Well, 12:00 AM passes with no Claus, leading the characters to the unmistakable conclusion that something's wrong.

They're right - Santa's been captured by Ugly Sam, who mistakes him for an escaped convict. I'm... not going to expand on this. The others run to their spaceship and fly to the North Pole to rescue Saint Nick and save Christmas.

Wait - Howdy Doody owns a spaceship?

I'm pretty sure the spaceship "effects" are entirely done with stock footage from old serials, including the landing sequence. North Pole, my ass: that's an alien world.

At any rate, the short ends with Howdy Doody saving Christmas and destroying my brain. If you're a masochist, I'm embedding one of the versions on YouTube below.

2 comments :

  1. Dammit! I just watched this on youtube last night (yes, I am a Christmas masochist). Anyhoo, it was so bizarre my first thought was "I HAVE to suggest this one to Erin & Lindsay." I should have known you guys would be one step ahead of me. Oh well. Someday I'll get you.

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