This weekend, I posed the question on WRRV “What is your favorite holiday special?” We got a few responses from people. One person said:

"Charlie Brown Christmas"

You can't beat some Charlie Brown this time of year! I have a number of Peanuts specials on DVD that I pull out each year. Back in middle school, we did a rendition of Charlie Brown Christmas and I played Linus! Fun times! Another person wrote:

“Garfield Christmas”

If it comes with the lasagna, count me in! Another person took it in another direction:

“2 for 1 all night long at the bar.”

Hey, that is technically a holiday special. Not exactly what I meant, but I guess it works. But then, someone left this comment:

“Godzilla VS Bambi !”

I thought that was a funny response. Imagine the King of the Monsters going up against the sweet Disney cartoon deer. Wouldn’t that be a sight! For the fun of it, I decided to Google it. Wouldn’t you know, it is a thing! Bambi Meets Godzilla is a 1969 short student film created by Marv Newland. 

To my surprise, this 1:30 short film is quite a cult classic. In 1973, Bambi Meets Godzilla was paired with Thank You Mask Man and was released widely under the title The King of Hearts and His Loyal Subjects. The program ran in repertory theatres across the United States for several years. The short film spawned multiple sequels with 1976’s Bambi’s Revenge, and 1999’s Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla. In 2013, animator Coda Gardner made a frame-by-frame recreation of the original film by tracing the frames and editing them digitally. It was even included in the VHS home video release of Godzilla 1985.

Craziest yet, according to Turner Publishing’s The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals (1994), Bambi Meets Godzilla was ranked #38! The short film shared the pages with the ranks of seventeen Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons: number one being the classic Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd short, What’s Opera, Doc? 

Marv Newland, the creator of this spectacle, is an American-Canadian filmmaker who specializes in animation. He would go on to found the company International Rocketship Limited, which holds the title of producing more animated short films in Canada than any other Canadian animation studio, according to an article from the University of Toronto. The company produced TV commercials, promos, and network ID’s for the likes of MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Lifetime, HA! Comedy TV Network, and many more. 

Why this WRRV listener considers this as a holiday special, I am not entirely sure; however; it certainly holds a strong place in animation history, and what an interesting rabbit hole this one comment brought me down! I love the things that I can learn from our community.

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