My Christmas Gift To You: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (w/ VIDEO)
When you work in media for a living, how do you properly thank thousands of people that you can't see or don't know personally? The thousands of people (we hope) who listen to your show, read your blog, follow you on Twitter, what's an appropriate show of gratitude?
It's a Christmas miracle!
Sure, a general tweet of thanks is a kind gesture, but it comes and goes and gets lost in a sea of despondent fantasy football tweets and twit pics of Christmas cakes.
And while I'd love to buy you each a gift, the fact that I write for a blog and have a radio show inherently means that I've chosen a life with a ceiling of moderate income. (It's what us starving artists do....graffiti painters, indy musical acts, Pendergast. We are all one and the same.)
So while I can't afford to send each of you an iTunes gift card, I can embed Christmas video that is
possibly illegally uploaded until YouTube, Disney, or the ghost of Jim Henson decide to take it down.
That doesn't cost me anything!
To that end, I give you the greatest Christmas special of all-time, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas...
1. Hardly anybody knows it exists
If you tell people that your favorite Christmas special of all time is EOJC, literally 95 percent of those people will say "What?" That's because, for some reason, EOJC never really found its way into the mainstream rotation on CBS or any of the networks (although it did debut on ABC in 1980). The networks continue to allow Rudolph, Frosty, and Burgermeister Meisterburger to hold down their network TV oligopoly which dates back to the 60's. I'm fairly certain if EOJC wanted a spot in the regular network rotation, they'd have to kick up to Rudolph and Frosty like they would a mob boss. (And if EOJC didn't pay, you know Yukon Cornelius would gouge their eyes out with his pick axe.)
In actuality, the scarcity of EOJC in rotation is part of what makes it great. It's never been allowed to reach "mainstream" or "overplayed" status. Pre-iTunes and pre-YouTube, you had to search it out to find it. Seriously, do you really trust anyone who says their favorite Christmas special is Rudolph or Frosty? No, it's like trusting someone who says they're a Cowboys or Yankees fan. I just can't do it.
2. There are Muppets!
I'm a firm believer that Jim Henson is one of the greatest geniuses of my era of television watching. Forget about the fact that most everyone between the ages of 30 and 50 learned how to read thanks to Sesame Street, Jim Henson was actually able to use lifelike puppets to subliminally convince (or at least, attempt to convince) the world that gluttony (Cookie Monster), hyperactivity (Grover), sloth (Oscar), and two young boys living together in some sort of weird "affection ambiguity" (Ernie and Bert) were all okay. You have to admire conviction like that! So now here comes EOJC with its own social commentary disguised as a glorified puppet show. Henson!
3. Oh, about the social commentary, we get lots of it in EOJC...
As you first time viewers will see, EOJC is a Christmas special that manages to get across the following powerful social messages:
- Bullying is not okay! (River Bottom Nightmare Band)
- Single mothers rule! (Emmet's mom working multiple menial jobs to support her son)
- Everything happens for a reason! (Doc Bullfrog noticing the gang singing outside his restaurant and hiring them)
- Kermit rules!
4. Yes, there's a Kermit the Frog sighting!
Think about how much crossover run Kermit would get back in the day -- regular character on Sesame Street, hosting The Muppet Show, and hosting different Muppet-like feature films like EOJC. Kermit was like the amphibian puppet version of Ryan Seacrest.
5. Also, there are characters named Stanley Weasel, Harvey Beaver, Howard Snake, Fred Lizard, "Pop-Eyed" Catfish, Wendell Porcupine, and Gretchen Fox.
Yeah, for a Christmas special, there are a lot of potential porn names. Hell, one of the actual people behind the Muppets in the show is named "Richard Hunt." It's weird, can't make this stuff up.
So there you go. Social commentary, puppets, and porn names. (Sounds like the title of a Jim Croce box set.) What more do you need? If you haven't seen EOJC, enjoy it. If you have seen it, watch it again.
a possibly illegally uploaded embedded Christmas video! My gift to you! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Starting January 3, 2014, listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.