Christmas At Home – A DVD Review

Christmas At Home (2007, Vintage Home Entertainment)

I picked up this low-budget collection of public domain Christmas cartoons last year for a whopping $2 at Walgreens. Honestly, I don’t even remember buying it, but I’m guessing I did it after Christmas because it was still wrapped in plastic. Certainly if it was purchased before Christmas I would have watched it. I hope I got a nice discount on it and didn’t pay the full price!

Clocking in at FOUR HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES, for $2, this is actually a really great deal if you’re into Christmas and old cartoons. Though these cartoons have all fallen into the public domain, most come from well-known animation studios: Warner Bros., Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios/Paramount, Rankin Bass and even Jam Handy! Then there’s a handful offerings from National Telefilms Association and Cathedral Films. I don’t recognize those names. There’s a Russian cartoon as well, I can’t tell you who produced it though because it’s all Greek to me! Also, it is cool to note that a number of these ‘toons were directed by Max and Dave Fleischer!

A few cartoons have no credits, you can tell they were chopped off but that’s the nature of the beast for public domain. These cartoons span the decades. I think “The Shanty Where Santa Claus Lives” (1933) is the oldest and “Santa’s Pocket Watch” (1978) is the most recent. Also, in the nature of public domain, the quality varies. The picture can be shaky on some shorts, while the sound also is not so great. There’s even one cartoon that is downright blinding. It’s so bright, you can’t even make out the credits, so why bother putting it on the disc?

The highlight of the disc is the inclusion of Rankin Bass’ 1979 classic Jack Frost. I fell in love with this stop-animation special when I saw it on ABC Family a long time ago. It’s definitely the best non-Rudolph/Frosty/Santa Rankin Bass special. It’s pretty cool to see it show up here even though it’s been given numerous low-budget DVD releases and Warner Bros. has given it a proper “Special Edition” release in 2008 (since they own half the Rankin Bass rights anyway I guess they figured they might as well).

CD Universe lists this DVD as no longer available, but I know my local Walgreens still has quite a few copies this year. If you pine for simpler times and really goofy cartoons, you should pick up a copy should you ever see one. You’re definitely going to get your few dollars’ worth.

Here’s the list of cartoons:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1948)
Santa’s Surprise (1947)
Ginger Nutt’s Christmas Circus (1949)
Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)
The Shanty Where Santa Claus Lives (1933)
Hector’s Hectic Life (1948)
Snow Foolin’ (1949)
Gift Wrapped (1952)
Santa’s Pocket Watch (1980)
Somewhere in Dreamland (1936)
Santa and the Three Bears (1970)
Jack Frost (1979)
The Little Christmas Burro (1978)
The Star of Bethlehem (1956)
The Candlemaker (1957)
Christmas Visit (1959)
Toys Will Be Toys (1949)

How many have you seen and remember?

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