Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Grand Holiday Tradition!

It's the holiday season and with it comes a plethora of holiday rituals, superstitions, and traditions.

Chicagoland's local television giant, WGN, had three great Christmas animation shorts that they ran continuously from Thanksgiving through the season.

Every kid growing up in the 50s, 60,s and 70s who’s home antenna could receive WGN-TV’s powerful signal has the content of these shorts seared into their memory.

The most powerful was this one--The Three Little Dwarves.

If you grew up in that part of the Midwest, in that time frame, you can go up to virtually anyone and sing "I'm Hardrock. I'm Coco." And it is almost impossible that the other person won't respond by singing "I'm Joe" in the deepest bass voice they can muster.

I remember teachers being totally stymied with all the "I'm Joe" laughter that would roll around with every season.

Once Christmas vacation was over, the animation went back in the film library and out of one's daily thought process. But every year, the film would reappear to every kid's delight.

I have found that if you didn't grow up in the Midwest and have access to WGN, there is a good chance you've never seen (or even heard of) this bizarre holiday classic.

The animation is quirky, jerky and the puppets look, well, weird, particularly Santa.

And so, without further ado—it’s time to visit Hardrock, Coco, and Joe!


Larry Marder said...

For the third year in a row, I'm compelled to put up this post!

As my ol' pal Steve Bissette wrote of this cartoon "a Wah Chang creation; he did HARDROCK, COCO & JOE the same year (as Suzy Snowflake)under his 'Centaur Productions' banner. Chang went on to join Projects Unlimited, creators of special effects (including stop-motion animation creations) for George Pal films and THE OUTER LIMITS, among other vintage 1960s classics, chestnuts and artifacts!"

Rodneylives said...

Nothing says Christmas quite like... yodeling?

But I still really like this. It is its own thing, completely happy to invent its own little piece of Christmas mythology instead of riffing off of some establish element such as, oh, the reindeer.

I think that the evolution of these kinds of traditions is actually slowing down. The mass media is a powerful force for establishing an "official" version of holiday mythology, and that saddens me. (The same thing has happened with classic monsters like vampires, werewolves and zombies, popular depictions of which which have been repeatedly confirmed by movies and TV.)