|The Toy That Saved Christmas|
October 19, 1996
The Toy That Saved Christmas is the sixth episode of VeggieTales and the first Christmas special of the series.
Grandpa George (In a role similar to S.D. Kluger from Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town) finishes up a bedtime story for his granddaughter Annie. She asks for another one, but he tells her that she needs to get some sleep, otherwise she'll be too exhausted the next day. However, after all the begging, he tells a Christmas bedtime story to his granddaughter Annie. In the story, Mr. Nezzer is the owner of a toy company who, via television commercial, is spreading the word of his newest toyline, "Buzz-Saw Louie," with a working buzz saw built into his right arm and a trigger in his nose that makes him tell kids to get more toys (though delivery isn't available in Puggslyville due to the collapse of the bridge linking the paths of the factory and village). After seeing the commercial, the kids of Dinkletown (the town George claims he used to deliver mail to) begin begging their parents for more toys. As Buzz-Saw Louie dolls roll off the production line, one of them inexplicably comes to life and escapes the factory to search for the true meaning of Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, Larry, Bob, and Junior go sledding. They happen upon the escaped Louie, who asks the Veggies for help. Bob suggests that they go see Grandpa George who reads the Nativity of Jesus from Luke and explains that the true meaning of Christmas is to give, not get. The kids are heartened by the news and plan a way to tell the rest of the people about the true meaning of Christmas before Christmas Day. Larry, Bob, Junior, and Louie sneak into Mr. Nezzer's factory and succeed in avoiding his security guards and broadcast a message using his TV studio's equipment. Shortly after, Mr. Nezzer discovers the group and decides to get rid of them by tying them to a sled and sending them away, though is interrupted by the families of Dinkletown, who intervene. Realizing the error of his ways, Mr. Nezzer repents after being given a teddy bear as a gift. However, Mr. Nezzer inadvertently presses a button and sends the sled with Bob, Larry, Junior, and Louie down through the restricted Puggslyville tube. Panicking, Mr. Nezzer and several of his penguin workers get on their own sleds and give chase in an attempt to save the four. However, Louie saves the Veggies by diverting the sled's course, leaving Mr. Nezzer alone racing toward the broken bridge. Louie and the penguins are able to save Mr. Nezzer just as he is about to fall down the ravine. The story concludes with everybody in Dinkletown, including Mr. Nezzer, getting together to celebrate a Christmas party.
- Junior Asparagus
- Laura Carrot
- Lenny Carrot
- Percy Pea
- Lil' Pea
- Buzz Saw Louie
- Mr. Nezzer
- Mr. Lunt
- Mike Asparagus
- Lisa Asparagus
- Baby Lou
- Mom Carrot
- Dad Carrot
- Mom Pea
- Dad Pea
- The penguins
- The French Peas (voiceover only; original version)
- Can't Believe It's Christmas
- Grumpy Kids
- Oh, Santa
- He is Born the Holy Child (Original Version)
- Away in a Manger (Reanimated Version)
- Can't Believe It's Christmas (Reprise/End Credits Version)
- "Billy has more toys than you!"
- The Buzz-Saw Louie toy
The episode was said to be a very special episode mainly because it proved to be a big challenge to Big Idea. It was made with the same number of people who worked on the previous episode but it was very hard to make. The episode was made around September of 1996 and at that time, the air conditioning at Big Idea's then headquarters had been shut off and was being replaced. Suddenly, a heat wave had just hit Chicago and the employees pushed themselves to get the episode out in time since they couldn't ship out the Christmas special late.
As soon as everything was done, Phil Vischer began to suffer major chest pains from a bacteria eating at his heart. He had to stay in bed for the next month. He felt better afterwards.
It was first released October 19, 1996 by Word Entertainment. In October 1998, Word Entertainment and Lyrick Studios reprinted it. In 1999, they reprinted it a second time in promotion of Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed. In 2000, they reprinted it a third time in promotion of Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen. In 2001, Word Entertainment reprinted it a fourth time. In 2002, Warner Home Video reprinted it on DVD and VHS as part of the VeggieTales Classics line.
- Christmas is about giving, not receiving.
- Don't believe everything you hear on TV, especially commercials.
- This episode was the first for several things:
- The first Christmas episode.
- The first episode Luis Contreras worked on.
- The first appearance of Annie, Percy Pea and his brother Lil' Pea, Lenny's mother and brother, and Buzz-Saw Louie.
- The first episode not to have Larry-Boy,Qwerty,The What Have We Learned song and Goliath since their debut appearances.
- The first episode to not have the countertop, with the exception of the Silly Song.
- The first episode where they use arms and legs.
- The first episode to have multiple variations (not counting the original 1993 version of Where's God When I'm S-Scared?). It was reanimated in 1998 prior to the airing of the VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular!.
- The first episode not to have the VeggieTales theme.
- The TV Commercials were rendered with Field
- Several differences exist between the original version and the 1998 version:
- The camera pans straight to George's house without any music. In the 1998 version, music was added and the camera now pans down a little longer.
- "Can't Believe It's Christmas" was redone in the 1998 version and features re-recorded voices (especially George's "Oy, my spinely!" line).
- George's pickup truck is light blue and appears to slide down into Dinkletown, which is a further distance away. In the 1998 version, George's truck was redesigned with a brown color and given a moving animation when heading into Dinkletown, which is also more detailed and less distance away.
- The window Laura looks out has no reflection. It is given a reflection in the 1998 version.
- The scene where the head falls off of the snowman was reanimated.
- The package lands straight on the roof of the house without a bounce. In the 1998 version, it bounces before it settles.
- The scene where Laura and Lenny are seen begging for Buzz-Saw Louies takes place in a bare room with almost nothing in it. In the 1998 version, the room was given a carpet, some toys, and a coat hanger as accessories as well as the window on the door being redesigned. Also, the camera pans down to show their full bodies.
- The glass in the windows also does not show the outside of the house until the 1998 version.
- The music for "Grumpy Kids" starts just as George finishes saying "...he was doing some thinking." In the 1998 version, the music starts just as Louie begins to sing.
- On a similar note, the song was also reorchestrated as well as the scene reanimated.
- The scene in which Louie attempts to make out to the penguin guard that he's not alive was reanimated.
- As Louie rolls down the hill in a snowball after tripping on the stairs, no particles form as the snowball gets bigger. In the 1998 version, the snowball forms particles. Phil states this was due to them not having enough money to make particles at the time of the episode's initial release.
- As Bob, Larry and Junior are sledding, still shots of the trees are shown before the scene shifts to them sledding. In the 1998 version, the camera slowly pans as they brush trees and sled past the camera before this scene is shown.
- The scene where Larry asks Louie "Well, then what is it about?" was reanimated.
- The scene in which George invites the group into his house was reanimated.
- Like the scene with Laura and Lenny, the group stands in a bare room with almost nothing except a table and a bookshelf as George is reading the Nativity of Jesus to them. In the 1998 version, the room was given a fireplace as well as other accessories, and the group even gets hot chocolate (though there's no steam as it's stated in the commentary it was too expensive). Also, Bob and Larry have taken off their winter garb, except Junior.
- The shot where Junior tells the group the factory is the only way to solve the problem was reanimated in that the group was featured in the shot as well and looking at Junior.
- The scene where the group run past the TV studio and then Junior turns around and says "That's it!" was reanimated.
- The scene where the group enters the TV studio is simply still shots as everything turns on. In the 1998 version, the camera moves around (supposedly from the group's point of view) to look at the studio.
- The group is only heard yelling as they are captured upon being discovered in Mr. Nezzer's TV studio due to the shot only focusing on Laura's family. In the 1998 version, a camera pan was added which shows the television during the group's capturing.
- As Mr. Nezzer threatens to send the group away in the sled and is interrupted by the families of Dinkletown, the score for the scene is different between versions.
- When Laura says "Merry Christmas!" to Mr. Nezzer, she's standing next to the present. In the 1998 version, she gives the present to Mr. Nezzer in a close-up shot.
- The shot in which Louie responds "That'd be me!" when no one else has hands was given the sled motion of the other shots compared to the original static in the 1998 version.
- The shot in which Louie yells "Whoaaaaaaaa!" while riding on the penguin's sled features his eyes open in the original version, whereas they're closed in the 1998 version.
- The scene where Grandpa George pulls up with Bob, Larry, and Junior to see Mr. Nezzer hanging from the bridge was reanimated, likely due to the redesign of George's pickup truck.
- Louie and everything else inside the house can be seen in the 1998 version, whereas in the original version they cannot be seen. There is also more furniture outside in the 1998 version.
- Sawdust also flies outside the house in the 1998 version.
- This is also true for the house the Veggies are depicted as having their party in. In the 1998 version, Lisa is seen inviting other guests (the parent Peas, who had just left their house next door) inside for the party as Mr. Nezzer and Bob are seen chatting with Dad Carrot inside as well.
- The episode ends with the Peas singing "He Is Born, The Holy Child" from the A Very Veggie Christmas CD. The 1998 version, however, instead ends with "Away in a Manger," sung by Junior, from the same CD.
- The footage used for the television broadcast is in a different frame rate than the rest of the episode. Mike states that they did this so it makes it look like a home video.
- The pajamas Annie is wearing have the same pattern as the background Qwerty uses for the verses.
- This is Larry's second appearance without his tooth. The title card in the episode's silly song tells us about it.
- There is a picture in George's house of George in a sailor's uniform in the reanimated version. It is possible he may have been a Navy veteran at some point.
- The episode features the debut of Buzz-Saw Louie who, like several other main/title characters in later VeggieTales episodes (e.g. Esther in Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen, and Little Nicky from Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving), doesn't return in later episodes.
- Tom Danen, Mike Nawrocki, Chris Olsen and Ron Smith were shocked to see that Robert Ellis was animating in a bathing suit.
- This episode is based on Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch does not understand the true meaning of Christmas until the end.
- Out of all the first 16 episodes of the show, this is the only episode that was not included in any of the Bob and Larry's Favorite Stories! VHS compilations.
- This is the last episode (until Lyle the Kindly Viking) known to be dubbed in Latin Spanish for home video.
- According to the commentary, Mr. Nezzer's chair moves up and down like an elevator as a character hopping up and down stairs would be difficult to animate.
- Phil states that due to Mr. Nezzer turning into a good guy, it'd be impossible for him to return to being an antagonist. As such, the decision was made for him to come back as his own brother with a bigger nose.
- The Arabic, Slovenian, and 1st Spanish dubs' credits use an instrumental version of "Can't Believe it's Christmas".
- Foreign dubs change references to Mouse Trap to other games.
- The Brazilian dubs change it to dominoes.
- The Slovenian and 1st Spanish dubs change it to Monopoly.
- The 2nd Spanish dub changes it to hide and seek.
- The kids state they have been waiting for Christmas for a million hours. A million hours is actually 41,667 days, and equates to a total of 114 years. It's possible that they were just using an exaggerated figure of speech showing they have been impatiently waiting several days or about a month for Christmas.
- The sledding package somehow lifts the kids straight up in the air instead of just crashing into them.
- The package, though short in width and height, is long in length, but when the kids open it up, it's a standard-sized package with the top facing upward.
- The 1998 Lyrick Studios releases of the episode would either contain the original or 1998 version and both contain trailers for "Where's God When I'm S-Scared?", "Are You My Neighbor?", "Rack, Shack, and Benny", and "Dave and The Giant Pickle".
- The 1998 Word Entertainment Release of the episode would only contain the 1998 Version with the "What's The Big Idea?" promo.
- In the 1998 version, George's pickup truck is full of wrapped packages as he's driving, but when he delivers the only package addressed to Dinkletown, it's nearly empty. On that note, why is that package not wrapped in Christmas paper like all the others?
- In the original Latin Spanish dub, when Junior screams "Mom! Mom! I need more toys!" and when Lisa comes up from the kitchen, more of Junior's living room can be seen when the camera pans over to Percy's house, which was never seen in the English version.
- Commercials coming from Mr. Nezzer's TV studio air in that all nearby TVs turn on by themselves to broadcast them.
- It's unknown how Louie ever managed to come to life, let alone be able to talk, despite being a toy.
- All of the Buzz Saw Louie's in their boxes (except the one coming to life) are just pictures in most of the shots.
- Despite being a toy, Louie stays alive in the snow even as it could've melted and water could've gotten into him.
- Only a single, yard-long fence with a skull head 'Danger' sign is being used to protect bypassers from the collapsed bridge.
- Somehow, the protagonists were able to climb up the steep mountaintops without any proper mountain-climbing equipment.
- Mr. Nezzer leaves no locks for his TV studio's doors, likely to show the convenience of being able to tell everyone.
- The scene with the protagonists listening to George's story segues into Annie's bedroom without a wall, yet when the scene shifts to George telling her the story isn't over yet, there is indeed a wall.
- Upon seeing the protagonists 'borrowing' his TV studio, Mr. Nezzer is much more concerned about someone ruining "his" Christmas than the toy he made inexplicably coming to life.
- The protagonists are tied up in such a way they could easily hop off the sled if they wanted to. Strangely enough, they somehow manage to stay ON the sled (even after Louie cuts the rope apart) despite the fact it's cruising through the tube and down the mountaintops at incredibly fast speeds!
- If the buzzsaws on the Buzz-Saw Louies could actually cut through wood, the toy as a whole would be recalled later for containing a choking hazard as well as a safety hazard and never be sold in real life.
- The single, yard-long fence holds up pretty well as Mr. Nezzer crashes right through it.
- The collapsed bridge is flat when Larry is looking at it from the fence, but when Mr. Nezzer flies off of it, it's warped upward.
- Depending on how long George took to even reach Mr. Nezzer, Louie and the penguins, it would be unlikely that they could actually hold on for hours.
- Louie's furniture is all toy-sized and as such it's purpose is negated.
- It's unknown if Annie went to sleep after George told the whole story.
- Annie's pillow case is blue when the camera pans to the outside of the window, but when the scene shifts to the inside of her bedroom, her pillow case is yellow.
- Annie's hair can be seen clipping into the pillow on several occasions.
- In the shot where George attempts to remind Annie that her mom might be mad at her if she doesn't get sleep but is interrupted by Annie, his mustache appears to be split in half.
- Some white on Annie's mouth can be seen when she turns her head on the pillow. This could be from the pillow clipping through her mouth.
- In the original version, as George is heading down the hill into Dinkletown, his mustache turns white before returning to its grey color upon his arrival. Though this was fixed in the 1998 version, a goof was introduced which sees George clipping into his seat during the shot.
- On a similar note, George's grille guard, as well as his Fib ornament, flickers as he stops his pickup truck. This doesn't happen in the 1998 version, likely due to the redesigned truck.
- Percy clips through the door frame as he jumps out the front door.
- In the original version, while Percy sings in his house, both he and Lil' Pea's mouths move. This was corrected in that Lil' Pea's mouth no longer moves and only Percy's does.
- Both of the Peas' mouths move at the same time only one of them is singing while standing on the package.
- As the children are singing "Ya, hey, we're glad to say that Christmas time is here!", George's mustache turns white (again if you're watching the original version).
- Lenny is missing his mouth in one shot.
- After Laura and Lenny beg for Buzz-Saw Louies, their parents disappear and Baby Lou appears beside them as the scene pans outside their window.
- The original version also features all the glass on the windows changing colors as the scene pans outside the front window. This doesn't happen in the 1998 version, likely due to the windows now revealing the outside of the house.
- In the original version, the interior of Louie's toy box changes colors between shots. This doesn't happen in the 1998 version.
- When Laura and Lenny bonk towards each other while screaming for Buzz-Saw Louie, their mouths are missing.
- When Louie pushes himself off the shelf in his toy box, he's placed towards the exit due to falling off the second set of shelves, but he's in the middle of the room when he starts running towards it.
- The box also disappears.
- In the original version, Bob is missing in the shot where the snow and the sled fly from the impact of the sled crashing into the fence, after which he magically appears upside-down in the snow. This was corrected in the 1998 version by having Bob flip in the air and then land upside-down.
- As Bob, Larry, and Junior exclaim "Ooh!" upon Louie stating his intent to find out the true meaning of Christmas, Bob's eyes are detached from his nose.
- In the original version, when Junior asks the group to follow him, Larry's scarf is seen clipping into his body as he follows Junior. Though this was fixed in the 1998 version, in both versions Bob twitches while following Junior.
- As Louie states to Junior why he doesn't want to go back in the factory, he and Bob are floating on a still/blurred background that doesn't move.
- Junior clips through the frame of the door when he opens it.
- As Laura and her family are watching the protagonists' broadcast about the true meaning of Christmas, Laura's mom is clipping through the end of the couch until she begins sitting.
- On a similar note, she manages to lose half of her eyeliner in a single blink but gains it back in her next shot.
- In the original version, Mr. Nezzer's tie is missing in the scene in which he's marching down to his TV studio to capture the group. He regains it in the 1998 version.
- In the 1998 version, as the group are discovered and captured, Baby Lou clips into his dad as the camera pans to show the television.
- As Mr. Nezzer says "...and I intend to keep it that way!", his belt (as well as his tie in the original version) clips into his suit.
- In the original version, as Mr. Lunt says "Right away boss!", his teeth are closed. They're open in the 1998 version.
- As Laura brings in the present from behind her, it can be seen clipping through her dad.
- There is caution tape (which is broken due to the group's sled going through it) over the route to Puggslyville as Mr. Nezzer heads down in his own sled. When the penguins head down, however, there is no caution tape.
- When the rope is first seen, there are knots on the rope, but when the rope is thrown, there are no knots.
- On the shot where Buzzsaw Louie starts up his buzzsaw; despite being on a penguin's sled, the background stays static as if the penguin was not moving.
- As Mr. Nezzer is about to reach the collapsed bridge, the penguins' sleds turn red, then suddenly return to being their grey color.
- In the original version, the sky background flickers as Mr. Nezzer is caught by Louie and the penguins. This doesn't happen in the 1998 version.
- A few references from Rack, Shack and Benny were used here:
- Mr. Nezzer asks if he's "more wily than his brother," to which Mr. Lunt assumes he's talking about Nebby K., whose chocolate factory he used to work in.
- George narrating the story.
- Mr. Nezzer trying to get rid of the main protagonists, but later redeeming himself.
- Bob, Larry, and Junior being the main protagonists.
- When the gang first enter Mr. Nezzer's television studio, you'll notice one of the frames from the "Forgive-o-Matic" skit, depending on the version, from the second episode and the couch from "I Love My Lips."
- The original version features the knives, whereas the 1998 version uses one of the more cartoony sketches from the skit instead.
- When George delivers the presents to Dinkletown, there is a shot which shows Christmas presents. One of the presents features wrapping paper covered with various VeggieTales characters. It's only featured in the newly animated version after the initial 1996 release.
- As the protagonists sneak by one of the penguin crew members as he is doing dishes, "Feliz Navidad" from A Very Veggie Christmas can be heard if you listen closely. The original version also features, towards the end, the Peas singing "He Is Born, The Holy Child" from the same CD. This was changed to Junior singing "Away in a Manger" in the reanimated version.
Real World References
- George's truck and job is a nod towards S.D. Kluger from Rankin-Bass' "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town".
- Mouse Trap is a board game where to goal is to play against each other by getting the other player trapped in one of the Rube Goldberg-like mouse traps.
- There's a later episode where they spoof It's a Wonderful Life.
- Bumblyburg later became the city where Larry-Boy resides.
- Bob would later say his famous words in a later Christmas special.
- Mr. Nezzer with a teddy bear would be a reference in Robin Good, where his character sleeps with one.
- The skull head logo would be used as the first logo on Pa Grape's pirate hat in The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything and as the dead-end zone which is actually the entrance to the Larry-cave used in Larry-Boy! and the Fib from Outer Space!.
- George's pickup truck in both the original and 1998 versions features a metallic ornament of the Fib on the nose, which would later appear in life form in Larry-Boy! and the Fib from Outer Space!.
Shows: The Toy That Saved Christmas | The Star of Christmas | Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving
Specials: VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular!