Questions nobody asks but should: What’s your favorite holiday movie?
Of course the answer to this is usually going to be a Christmas movie. How many other holidays have movies? Especially ones that aren’t of the mad slasher genre? The answer is, practically none.
For me the answer is not exactly a movie, but a one-hour Christmas special featuring non-canonical muppets and a story by the great Russell Hoban, music by the underappreciated Paul Williams, and performed by Marilyn Sokol and the extraordinary Jerry Nelson (the only man on earth who can sing a song as a baby frog and make you cry.) I’m talking of course about Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.
For my birthday, my wife found me a copy of the out-of-print book that inspired the special, and as luck would have it, it’s a first edition. It’s amazing how much of the special really does come from the book–blocks of dialogue from the text, scenes clearly based carefully on illustrations.
In lieu of a good trailer, here is a blooper reel from the special that shows puppeteers getting punchy as a scene goes into the upteens of takes. Happy holidays!