This challenge idea was inspired by my love of Rankin/Bass holiday specials. Here are a few of my favorites:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The special that started it all, this movie starts with the birth of Rudolph, a reindeer with a mutated nose that randomly glows. Rudolph meets up with Hermey, an elf who wants more than anything to become a dentist, and they both immediately bond over the fact that nobody likes either of them (even Santa comes down hard on the young Rudolph). They both get chased around the North Pole by a hairy, white Abominable Snowman, who hates everything about Christmas. Along the way, they team up with a prospector named Yukon Cornelius and visit the Island of Misfit Toys, which is ruled by a flying lion that goes by the handle King Moonracer. There's also this love story brewing between Rudolph and a thrill-seeking doe named Clarice, who thinks Rudolph is cute (both with and without a shiny red nose). Santa Claus, who is very grouchy throughout the entire special, cancels Christmas at one point because of a horrible snow storm, but then changes his mind as a result of Rudolph's red nose. In the end, everyone is happy, except maybe the kid who ended up with a Charlie-in-the-Box.
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
I mentioned Santa was pretty cranky, and maybe some of his attitude is explained in this special. After all, it quickly reveals that Santa was an orphaned child left at the doorstep of a grumpy, old Mayor Burgermeister Meisterburger--who then orders the orphaned baby to be sent to the baby asylum. Some strange wind saves Baby Claus from the asylum and lands him with a toy making family of elves who go by the name Kringle. They re-name Baby Claus as Kris Kringle, but eventually he's on the run from the law (because old Burgermeister Meisterburger outlaws toys) and changes his name to Santa Claus. He also marries a school teacher named Miss Jessica and befriends a Winter Warlock, who loses his magical abilities after Santa melts his heart with the gift of a toy.
Rudolph's Shiny New Year
Rudolph is called back into action on the same night as when he helped Santa deliver toys. Funny thing is, Rudolph, who had grown into a young buck in the original show, reverts back to his child size in this (and all other) specials. Anywho, Rudolph is asked to find a renegade New Year Baby named Happy, who's hit the road after people laugh at his ginormous ears. Rudolph, who had to suffer taunting himself, is the perfect person to help Happy--not because of his previous experience with taunting but--because he has a shiny red nose. After all, that crazy winter storm is still raging. The antagonist in this special is 999-year-old buzzard named Eon, who will die if he turns 1,000 years old, so the stakes are high. So is the weirdness, since Rudolph runs into several clock-based characters and wanders an a set of islands that each represent a specific year. Somehow, everything works out in the end, and there's a catchy Happy New Year song in this special that I often start singing spontaneously--often against my will.
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
In this one, Frosty and his family face possible death, because of a renegade reindeer who dupes Rudolph into stealing money from a circus for him.
Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
Yeah, right. I'll leave this one to your imagination.
The Year Without a Santa Claus
This features those crazy Miser brothers, Heat Miser and Snow Miser. Some good songs, some wacky plot lines, and another possibly canceled Christmas. But everything ends with an upbeat song.
So, okay, those are some of the Christmas specials. What is this whole challenge thing about?
I'm challenging anyone and everyone to come up with a crazy holiday special storyline that rivals the weirdness of the Rankin/Bass specials. Whoever concocts what I judge to be the best storyline will receive a special prize from me (possibly a Rankin/Bass movie or toy or something along those lines). So, there will be a prize, but I think more than that, there will be the satisfaction of developing a crazy holiday special (even if only in your own mind).
Here are the guidelines:
- All storylines should be summarized in 500 words or less. In other words, just hit the major plot points. Don't worry about writing dialogue or too much characterization--unless you can do it in less than 500 words.
- Storylines should be pasted into the comments of this post. I will not accept or consider storylines sent via e-mail or that are posted in the comments of other posts on my blog. Make it easy on myself and you by posting your awesome storyline here.
- This is a Holiday Special challenge, even though it's inspired by Christmas specials. So if you have a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa (or other holiday) special in mind, go for it. Just make sure it's obvious in your storyline.
- Deadline is 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia, time) on Christmas Eve (12/24/2010). Why Christmas Eve? Because that's how I roll.
- Winner will be announced on Christmas Day--unless I'm physically unable to judge all the entries and post on that day. You never know, or at least, I never know. But yeah, look for the winner on Christmas (12/25/10).
- Winner will receive a prize of some sort. At the moment, I'm leaning toward sending the winner a Rankin/Bass special, but I may come up with an even better prize this month. I'll probably give the winner a few options.
- There is NO entry fee. That's right. This is a free contest.
- More than one entry per participant will be considered. However, the more attention you give to your storyline and crazy plot points, probably the better chance you have of wow-ing me with your greatness!
Now, start coming up with some crazy stories!
Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer
If you don't have the Original Christmas Classics set, you should really check it out. The version I have includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town!, The Little Drummer Boy, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Cricket on the Hearth, and Frosty Returns.
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