When I was growing up, nothing felt more like Christmas than when the TV Specials Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas aired. Unlike today, you only had one chance to watch it and if you missed that special viewing night, you were out of luck. That was until VHS and DVD players came along.
To get the Christmas spirit kicked off, this week’s episode is about five of those classic TV Christmas specials. And to make things even more fun, this episode has two segments! In the first segment, I’ll be talking about five animated Christmas television specials. Whether you were born fifteen years ago or fifty, these specials transcend time.
In the second segment, it’s Christmas movie quotes trivia! I’ll give you five quotes from popular Christmas movies and you have to guess who said the quote and which movie the quote is from.
You’ll learn lots of fun facts in this episode. Find out how one man in the midst of grief wrote a Christmas story we won’t soon forget. Find out which television special’s stop motion puppets recently hit the auction block and the amazing price they sold for. I’ll tell you what the producer and the director of A Charlie Brown Christmas thought after they viewed the special for the first time. (It wasn’t a good thing) And in our Christmas movie quotes segment, find out which star of one of the most popular Christmas movies caused the original director to quit after he treated him like dirt.
Plus, as promised from the episode, here’s the picture of Macaulay Culkin, star of the hit Christmas movie Home Alone and his Twitter post that made everyone laugh this year during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I hope you really enjoy this Christmas episode. There will be more Christmas episodes to come. Here’s a hint about the next episode…Think “You smell like beef and cheese!” So what is your favorite Christmas special? Visit our Instagram page and share your thoughts there!
Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! The background Christmas Music heard on the episode is by JuliusH from Pixabay
Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.
Trivia Rewind Episode – Christmas TV Specials + Christmas Movie Quotes
Debi Jenkins 0:05
Hey there Trivia Rewind listeners. I’m Debi Jenkins your host. I’m kicking off the holiday season with this episode. This week, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and talking about five animated Christmas television specials. Whether you were born 15 years ago or 50 these specials transcend time. Did you grow up loving the Rankin-Bass specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, or were you more about How the Grinch Stole Christmas fan? Those are two of the shows I’ll be talking about. Also starting new this week, instead of two episodes, I will give you one jam packed episode with the 10 trivia questions plus five quotes. So here’s how this episode will work. Since I’ll be talking about five Christmas specials, I’ll give you two trivia questions for each of the five shows. Then I’ll give you five quotes from Christmas movies. After I ask you the questions I’ll go back and give you the answers as well as some fun facts.
Debi Jenkins 1:11
Find out how one man in the midst of grief wrote a Christmas story we won’t soon forget. Find out which television special’s stop motion puppets recently hit the auction block and the amazing price they sold for. And in our Christmas movie quote segment find out which star of one of the most popular Christmas movies caused the original director to quit after he treated him like dirt? These and so many more fun facts await you in this episode of Trivia Rewind. So grab your hot chocolate and let’s play.
Debi Jenkins 1:46
Question one. In the 1964 special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, what is the name of the narrator who is also the voice of Sam the Snowman?
Debi Jenkins 2:01
Question two. When Rudolph runs away, what is the name of the prospector that he encounters?
Debi Jenkins 2:11
Question three. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, who goes with Charlie Brown to pick out a Christmas tree at the Christmas tree lot?
Debi Jenkins 2:22
Question four. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, what Christmas carol do the kids sing at the end of the show?
Debi Jenkins 2:32
Question five. What was the name of the drummer boy in the 1968 special The Little Drummer Boy?
Debi Jenkins 2:43
Question six. In the Little Drummer Boy, what is the name of the lamb, the little boy’s animal friend?
Debi Jenkins 2:52
Question seven. In Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what is the name of the little girl that sees the Grinch stealing her family’s Christmas tree?
Debi Jenkins 3:05
Question eight. In the 1966 animated TV special Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what is the name of the Grinch’s dog?
Debi Jenkins 3:16
Question nine. In the 1969 animated special Frosty the Snowman, what is the name of the magician’s rabbit?
Debi Jenkins 3:27
And question 10. In the animated special Frosty the Snowman, what is the name of the little girl that names the snowman Frosty and hopes to get him to the North Pole?
Debi Jenkins 3:41
Well, those are our 10 questions. Let’s go back and get the answers and fun facts. Question one. In the 1964 special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, what is the name of the narrator who is also the voice of Sam the Snowman? Well, that person is Burl Ives. Burl Ives was the only non-Canadian to voice a character in this special. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer first aired on December 6, 1964 on the NBC network. According to Smithsonian magazine, the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer special is the longest running Christmas special in history. Have you ever wondered how the actual story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer came about? Well, in 1938, Robert May, a copywriter for the Chicago based in Montgomery Ward department store was given the task to write a holiday story that Montgomery Ward could distribute to their shoppers during the next Christmas season. Let me mention here that Robert May grew up in a secular Jewish family and his wife was Jewish. Here he was writing what would become one of the most loved Christmas stories for children. While writing this story May’s wife was suffering from cancer and near death. Life was quite hard for him at that time, but somehow he was able to write this magical story. His young daughter loved the deer that she saw at the Lincoln Park Zoo and that helped give him inspiration for his story. While working on his story, he also thought back to some of his childhood memories of being extremely shy. All of Santa’s reindeer were already named, thanks to an 1820s poem titled, A Visit from St. Nicholas. The poem listed the names of eight reindeer. Well, Robert May came up with reindeer number nine and named him Rudolph. In a 1963 interview, he said Rudolph rolled off the tongue nicely. He even got the idea for the shiny red nose when looking out his window over Chicago’s Lake Michigan and seeing all the fog. It then came to him how Santa could get through the fog, a red nose for Rudolph it would be. In 1939 Montgomery Ward printed the story and gave out over two million copies of it for free. After Robert May’s wife died, he struggled as he had piles of medical bills to pay and he took on the role of single father. Life was difficult to say the least. However, in 1947, Montgomery Ward unexpectedly gave Robert Mae the copyrights for his story. What a gift this would turn out to be. It just so happened that Robert May’s brother-in-law was Johnny Marks, a songwriter, and he went on to write the song that went along with May’s Rudolph story. As the song made its way around to singers, Gene Autry’s wife convinced him to take on the song and by Christmas of 1949, Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy released the song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, where it went all the way up the charts and hit number one, the week of Christmas. Robert May’s story led to the song which then set the course for the beloved television special. Robert May’s story about Rudolph set him up financially for the rest of his life. Hearing the background on this story really makes me appreciate it all the more.
Debi Jenkins 7:24
Question two. When Rudolph runs away, what is the name of the prospector that he encounters? That prospector’s name was Yukon Cornelius. Larry Mann was the voice of Yukon Cornelius. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was a Rankin-Bass production. Rankin-Bass were known for their stop motion animated Christmas specials where they used puppet like characters. Well guess who was neighbors with Rankin and Bass? Johnny Marks, the writer of the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer song. Arthur Rankin Jr. approached his neighbor about turning the song into a TV special and the rest is history.
Debi Jenkins 8:07
So how about those memorable Rudolph and Santa stop motion puppets they used in the special. The auction house called Profiles in History recently auctioned off the six inch tall Rudolph and 11 inch tall Santa that were used to bring this television special to life. When the auction took place on November 13, the set sold for $368,000. The puppets were made by a Japanese puppet maker. They are the faces of many Christmas television memories. Not everyone was able to view this colorful television special on a color television, something we tend to take for granted. In a 1964 Baltimore Sun article, writer Donald Kirkley reviewed the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer special. He said, “The movie is a splendid gift from the General Electric Company to the television audience. It will be treasured even more in years to come when more people are able to watch it in color.” In a WYRK.com article it noted that in 1964, only about 3 percent of households owned a color TV. It took until 1972 for color TV sales to surpass that of black and white. Imagine watching this television special in black and white. No red nose for Rudolph. No red Santa suit. Let that sink in for a minute.
Debi Jenkins 9:39
Question three. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, who goes with Charlie Brown to pick out a Christmas tree at the Christmas tree lot? That was Linus. The Charlie Brown Christmas special first aired on December 9, 1965 and out of those watching TV that night 45 percent were watching this special. It was the first animated television special with the Peanuts characters. At first, the network rejected the idea of having the proposed animated special air during prime time. When they finally agreed to it, they gave the team only six months to complete the task. Coca Cola was the sponsor. When it was done, the producer Lee Mendelson and the director Bill Melendez, they watched the final product together. In Charles Solomon’s, The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation: Celebrating 50 Years of Television Specials, Mendelson remembers Melendez turning to him and saying, “I think we’ve ruined Charlie Brown.” However, they were able to change a few things in the little time they had before it was to air. The network thought this special would be a disaster but their predictions were far from correct. The show won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award and since its debut, it has aired like clockwork every year on network television. That is until this year, when Apple TV+ acquired the rights. Apple TV+ will make this special available for free only during a three day time period. So mark your calendars for December 11th through the 13th of 2020 where you can watch the special on Apple TV+ for free. As I mentioned in our It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown podcast episode, the thought of the Peanuts specials not being on network TV takes a little of the nostalgia away. And here’s some breaking news. After all the backlash, It was announced a few days ago that Apple TV+ has decided to partner with PBS and PBS Kids to allow them to broadcast it commercial free on a special one night event taking place December 13th at 6:30pm central time.
Debi Jenkins 12:00
Question four. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, what Christmas carol do the kids sing at the end of the show? That song was Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The kids that you hear singing that song are members of the children’s choir of St. Paul Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California. Supposedly the children were paid $5 each for their participation. So when someone says the words Charlie Brown Christmas tree, what do you picture in your mind? If you watched the show, you probably picture a little sprig of pine tree that looks pretty sad. The Charlie Brown Christmas special made that simple Christmas tree a popular item. Even today you can find models of the tree for sale around Christmas being marketed as “The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.”
Debi Jenkins 12:52
Question five. What was the name of the drummer boy in the 1968 special The Little Drummer Boy? The drummer boy’s name was Aaron and child actor Teddy Eccles provided the character’s voice. On December 19, 1968 Rankin-Bass released this stop motion animated Christmas special on NBC. The special was narrated by Academy Award winning actress Greer Garson. The TV special is based on the popular song The Little Drummer Boy by Katherine Davis. The song was originally titled Carol of the Drum and based on a traditional Czech song.
Debi Jenkins 13:34
Question six. In The Little Drummer Boy, what is the name of the lamb, the little boy’s animal friend? The lamb’s name was Baba. Remember the Von Trapp family singers portrayed in the movie The Sound of Music? Well, the real life Trapp family singers were the first to have recorded the Little Drummer Boy song back in 1951. Since then, it has been recorded numerous times by other artists. In this television special, the Vienna Boys Choir sings the title song.
Debi Jenkins 14:09
Question seven. In Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what is the name of the little girl that sees the Grinch stealing her family’s Christmas tree? That little girl was Cindy Lou Who. The television special first aired on the CBS network on December 18, 1966 and was based on the Dr. Seuss book by the same name. The book was first published in 1957. This TV special had quite the budget. The budget for this show was $300,000. To compare, the Charlie Brown Christmas special only had a budget of $96,000. Voice actress June Foray was the voice of Cindy Lou Who. June Foray was known as the first lady of voice actors. In an Animation World magazine article, it says, “It was not uncommon for people to refer to her as the female Mel Blanc. That prompted her friend and frequent employer Chuck Jones to correct folks. ‘June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.'” She was highly respected in the world of animation.
Debi Jenkins 15:23
Question eight. In the 1966 animated TV special Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what is the name of the Grinch’s dog? His dog’s name was Max. Do you know who sang the You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch song? It was Thurl Ravenscroft, the same guy who did the Tony the Tiger, “They’rrreeee Grrreat” voice in the Frosted Flakes commercials from 1952 to 2005. He was mistakenly left out of the credits in this TV special. Because he was not credited there was often speculation that Boris Karloff or Tennessee Ernie Ford was the person singing the Mr. Grinch song. Supposedly the producer Ted Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss) felt so bad about this he did all he could to get the story of Ravenscroft’s roll into trade papers. He apologized to Ravenscroft profusely. The soundtrack for Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Album for Children.
Debi Jenkins 16:33
Question nine. In the 1969 animated special Frosty the Snowman, what is the name of the magician’s rabbit? The rabbit’s name was Hocus Pocus. This magical Christmas special was another Rankin-Bass production and it first aired on December 7, 1969 on the CBS network. Actor Jimmy Durante was the narrator of the Frosty the Snowman special and this was his last film performance. Sadly, he suffered a stroke in 1972 and died in 1980. The television special was based on the song Frosty the Snowman, which was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County boys in 1950. The previous year, Gene Autry had a hit when he recorded Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Debi Jenkins 17:26
And question ten. In the animated special Frosty the Snowman, what is the name of the little girl that names the snowman Frosty and hopes to get him to the North Pole? Her name was Karen. June Foray was the voice of Karen in Frosty the Snowman. However, after its first year of airing, Suzanne Davidson replaced her. In the book titled The Enchanted World of Rankin-Bass, June Foray is quoted as saying, “I was called in to voice the little girl Karen. I was disappointed to learn later that my work for the Karen character was replaced by another actress. To this day, I am unsure of the reason, but I still enjoy the special.” In July of this year, it was announced by Warner Brothers and Stampede Pictures that a live action movie is in the works starring Jason Mamoa as the voice of a CGI Frosty the Snowman in what’s being called a hybrid CG/live action film. It will be interesting to see a new version of Frosty the Snowman.
Debi Jenkins 18:32
And now for our Christmas movie quotes segment. Before we start, I’d like to take a quick moment and ask that if you’re enjoying this episode that you please subscribe to Trivia Rewind and leave a five star review. If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts or another podcast app that allows comments, I’d love it if you would leave a positive comment about this podcast. And the best compliment is to tell a friend about Trivia Rewind. Thanks for your continued support of this podcast. I enjoy bringing you TV and film trivia each week. Now back to our Christmas quotes segment where I’ll give you five quotes, the answers and fun facts.
Debi Jenkins 19:14
Here’s quote one. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
Debi Jenkins 19:23
Quote two. “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.”
Debi Jenkins 19:28
Quote three. “Would it be indecent to ask the grandparents to stay at a hotel?”
Debi Jenkins 19:35
Quote four. “I made my family disappear.”
Debi Jenkins 19:40
And quote five. “Who gave you permission to tell Charlie there was no Santa Claus? I think if we’re going to destroy our son’s delusions, I should be part of it.”
Debi Jenkins 19:51
Those were our questions, let’s go back and get the answers and fun facts.
Debi Jenkins 19:56
Quote one. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” This line is said by Buddy the elf in the 2003 movie Elf. Will Ferrell plays Buddy the elf and this is just one of many great quotes that came out of this movie. The movie is often listed as one of the top Christmas movies of all time. Will Ferrell wasn’t the first pick for the Buddy the elf role. Jim Carrey was initially chosen for the role. It took 10 years to get this movie off the ground so during that time, Jim Carrey moved on and took on other projects. Director Jon Favreau has a cameo role in this movie. He plays the doctor that gives buddy the DNA test. Favreau’s voice also plays a big part in this movie as the narwhal saying, “Bye Buddy. Hope you find your dad.” When making the movie, the goal was not to have a CGI created movie, but make it more like the nostalgic stop motion Rankin-Bass productions that gave us the TV specials like Frosty and Rudolph. The only CGI you find in this movie is the snow over the opening credits and the snowballs in Buddy’s snowball fight scene. One might assume the movie was only filmed in New York City. Some of the movie was shot in Vancouver, Canada. In a Rolling Stone magazine article, Director Jon Favreau mentions how they used an empty field at a mental hospital to double as Central Park when shooting parts of the ending scene of the movie.
Debi Jenkins 21:37
Quote two. “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” This line is said by Santa Claus played by actor Jeff Gillen in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. Santa Claus is talking to the character Ralphie. Ralphie, the main character in this movie was played by a child actor Peter Billingsley. Would you believe that the Director Bob Clark auditioned 8000 kids for the Ralphie role? Peter Billingsley was the first child to audition and after seeing those 8000 other kids, Bob Clark came back to Billingsley. Peter Billingsley went on to have a successful career in Hollywood and people still quote the line, “you’ll shoot your eye out” to him. After the film Billingsley got to keep some of the memorable prop items such as the Red Ryder BB gun and the pink bunny suit. Peter Billingsley appeared in another popular Christmas movie. He had an uncredited cameo as Ming the elf in the 2003 movie Elf. Look for Ming the next time you watch Elf. One unforgettable scene from this movie was when the character Flick gets his tongue stuck to a frozen pole. How did they film this scene without actually sticking his tongue to an icy pole? Well, they used a hidden suction tube and a piece of plastic that slid over the pole. The exterior shots of A Christmas Story were filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, there was no snow in Cleveland that winter. They had to take matters into their own hands and go hundreds of miles away to bring in snow from ski areas. They even had to go as far as using potato flakes to simulate falling snow and they even had to resort to using firefighter’s foam that looked like snow. Remember the scene where Ralphie is wearing the rhinestone shirt and dreams of using a Red Ryder BB gun? In the scene he spits out some tobacco. Well, it was actually the real thing. Redman Chaw to be exact. That small amount had enough effect on actor Peter Billingsley that they had to shut the set down for an hour while he laid down and sweated it off. I don’t imagine that happening with a child actor on a film set today.
Debi Jenkins 24:02
Quote three. “Would it be indecent to ask the grandparents to stay at a hotel?” This was said by Audrey Griswold in the 1989 movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Actress Juliette Lewis plays Audrey Griswold, the cranky teenager. This was Juliette Lewis’ first major film role. The movie was written and directed by John Hughes and was based on a story Hughes wrote called Christmas 59 that was published in the National Lampoon magazine in December of 1980. The movie was originally supposed to be directed by Chris Columbus, known today as the King of family films. But in a Chicago article, he is quoted as saying, “To be completely honest, Chevy (meaning Chevy Chase) treated me like dirt.” So Columbus left the movie and several weeks later, Hughes gave him a different Christmas movie to direct, Home Alone. Have you ever wondered where they shot some of the scenes for the movie? The movie was set in suburban Chicago, but that’s not where it was filmed. Some of the exterior locations were shot in the cities of Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Frisco, Colorado. The Griswold family home is located on the Warner Brothers ranch facility in Burbank, California. And here’s something interesting to think about. Have you ever realized that while this movie is about Christmas, the movie ends on Christmas Eve and we don’t even get to experience Christmas Day at the Griswolds.
Debi Jenkins 25:48
Quote four. “I made my family disappear.” This line is said by Kevin in the 1990 movie Home Alone. Actor Macaulay Culkin had the role of Kevin. When John Hughes wrote the script he had Macaulay Culkin in mind to play Kevin. Hughes had previously worked with Culkin in the movie Uncle Buck. Director Chris Columbus auditioned 200 other kids before going ahead and giving Culkin the role. This role made Macaulay Culkin a household name. In a Guardian article, Columbus admits he learned a big lesson about child actors when working on Home Alone. He mentions that when you’re hiring a child actor, in a way you’re hiring their family as well. The article quotes him as saying, “I was casting a kid who truly had a troubled family life.” In an Entertainment Weekly article, Chris Columbus says the famous scene where Macaulay Culkin puts cologne on his face, screams and then holds his hands to his face was somewhat improvised by Culkin. He thought Culkin would just touch the cologne to his face and scream but Culkin held his hands there in what is now an iconic movie scene. Culkin made fans everywhere laugh during the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic when he posted a selfie of himself wearing a mask with a picture that featured that very Home Alone scene. I will post a photo on the Trivia Rewind website.
Debi Jenkins 27:22
And quote five. “Who gave you permission to tell Charlie there was no Santa Claus? I think if we’re going to destroy our son’s delusions, I should be a part of it.” That line is said by Scott Calvin in the 1994 movie The Santa Clause. Scott Calvin was played by actor Tim Allen. In 1994 Tim Allen had quite the trifecta. During one week in November, his movie, the Santa Clause was number one at the box office, his show Home Improvement was the number one rated television show and his book titled, Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man was number one on the New York Times list of bestsellers. The Santa Clause movie went on to have two sequels.
Debi Jenkins 28:11
Well, that’s our show for this week. I’d love to hear what your favorite Christmas special is. Visit triviarewind.com and share your thoughts. And while there, you’ll find links to our Twitter and Instagram pages. Please subscribe and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you so much for listening. And I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai