Christmas in Tattertown!

Guess who messed up their calendar and thought today was the 23rd? Moi! So, a quick review of another Christmas special before I post some Filmation Christmas episodes later.

This is an interesting special from the manic mind of Ralph Bakshi, who I was pleasantly surprised to find out is still alive. Tattertown is a secret world where toys and junk are sucked into. The characters we follow into it are little girl Debbie, her doll Muffet, who quickly goes missing, and her toy dog. When they get there, Muffet is trying to get away from Debbie, who is trying to retrieve her, and sets herself up as a gangster in place of regular lead hoodlum Sidney, as spider.

While trying to retrieve Muffet, Debbie meets the other inhabitants of Tattertown, like Harvey, a toy bear/thing who comes apart at the seams with ease. Good casting in the show, as they get a kid to play him who wouldn’t sound out of place in a Peanuts special with his husky, world-weary voice. We’ve also got Jennifer Darling as Muffet, who plays one “tough dame”. Arthur Burghardt is the sleeper hit of the show as an Irish policeman and Santa Claus himself, among others.

Debbie is going to show the people of Tattertown what Christmas is about whether they like it or not, recruiting an anthropomorphic tree and wreath as well as some of Muffet’s spies who light up the tree as decorations and the star on top. This leads to an aerial assault led by Muffet to take over Tattertown, but it goes wrong when the toy planes misunderstand her instructions and start flying into and destroying each other. Muffet ends up in jail and everyone (bar her) gets to enjoy Christmas with a scratchy Bing Crosby record playing in the background and fake snow being poured from the skies.

So many different touches to this that make it a lot of fun. Keith David is the chorus as an anthropomorphic saxophone, Jennifer Darling goes way over the top in her nastiness as Muffet, screaming “I ain’t ya friend! I ain’t nothing to you!” at Debbie and eating pies full of cigarettes, which you definitely wouldn’t get away with today. Very much a neighbour of a show or half-sibling to Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse from the same year.

The Bottom Line: Total fun, but not necessarily strange that something so strange isn’t as big as it could be.