Premiered December 6, 1986.
On Christmas Eve, a toy tiger named Rugby (Dave Goelz) remembers last Christmas.
He was the favorite toy of a little girl named Jamie (Marsha Moreau). He recalls how excited she was when she opened a present to find Rugby inside. He presumes that will happen again and tries to get from the playroom down to the living room, aided by Mew (Steve Whitmire) the catnip mouse, who belongs to the family cat.
|Jamie meets Rugby for the first time the preceding Christmas|
|Belmot the Rocking Horse (Richard Hunt), Balthazar the Teddy Bear (Jerry Nelson) and Apple the Doll get ready to welcome new toys to the playroom.|
|When toys are caught out of place, they are "frozen forever".|
|Rugby hides in some laundry so he isn't found out of place|
|Meteora, Queen of the Asteroids! Conqueror of the living room.|
Apple and a couple of the other toys from the playroom decide to mount a rescue mission for their missing comrades.
|Did someone wake up and hear them?|
This under-appreciated special features cute, beautiful puppets from the Henson workshop and an entertaining storyline. The plot bears a similarity to a certain Pixar movie that was made a few years later, but the two are not carbon copies and there is certainly room for both stories!
|Rugby and Apple underneath the Christmas tree trying to figure out how to return Meteora to her gift box.|
If there is anything to criticize, I think it is Meteora herself -- we are not really given much of a chance to get to know her, but then again, it isn't really her story. There is also an element of darkness to the tale what with the impiled "death" of toys who are caught out of place, but without tension, we do not have much plot and there is a happy ending (of course) which keeps this from being too scary.
This is a charming special from the Henson workshop and is definitely well worth seeking out. There is a version of it that is available on DVD, but be aware that it is a bit edited.
3 and a half candy canes.
J.A. Morris says:
The Christmas Toy is another good holiday special from Henson's crew.
|Baltazar tells the toys that more toys will joining them at Christmas.|
Dave Goelz (best known for performing Gonzo) does a nice job as the "lead" Muppet in this special. Other regular Muppet performers like Nelson, Mullen, Whitmire and Hunt are good as usual.
RigbyMel mentioned the acceptance subplot. We also get a good scene where Rugby mourns a friend who has been frozen. Rugby regrets that he never told his friend how much he loved him. This can serve as a lesson to viewers of all ages to make sure that we tell people how we feel about them.
|Mew convincingly imitates the cat's meow!|
The DVD that's currently available is different than the version that aired on TV and VHS. In its original form, The Christmas Toy was introduced by Kermit the frog (Henson) and Kermit made an appearance at the end where he joined the toys to sing "Together At Christmas." Kermit is currently owned by Disney, while the rest of the characters in the special are still owned by the Henson company.
|Kermit sings & dances with Rugby & friends.|
J.A. Morris' rating:
3 and a half candy canes.