|The Toy That Saved Christmas|
October 19, 1996
The Toy That Saved Christmas is the sixth episode of VeggieTales and the first holiday special of the series.
Grandpa George (In a role similar to S.D. Kluger from Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town) tells a 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
- Mike Asparagus
- Lisa Asparagus
- Laura Carrot
- Lenny Carrot
- Mr. Nezzer
- Mr. Lunt
- Percy Pea
- Baby Lou
- Mom Carrot
- Dad Carrot
- Mom Pea
- Dad Pea
- Lil' Pea
- Buzz Saw Louie
- The penguins
- The French Peas (voiceover only; original 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.
- 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, Laura, Lenny's mother and brother, and Buzz-Saw Louie.
- The first episode to not show countertop. The silly song doesn't count.
- The first episode where they use arms and legs.
- The episode to have different animations.
- The first episode not to have the VeggieTales theme.
- The first episode to be reanimated. It was reanimated in 1998 prior to the airing of the VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular!.
- 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.
- 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.
- All of the Buzz Saw Louie's in their boxes are just still images.
- 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.
- The Lyrick Studios releases of the episode would either contain the original or 1998 version.
- 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?
- The TV in Junior's house turns on by itself to play the Buzz-Saw Louie commercial.
- 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.
- 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!
- The single, yard-long fence holds up pretty well as Mr. Nezzer crashes right through it and is left alone racing towards the collapsed bridge.
- Louie's furniture is all toy-sized and as such it's purpose is negated.
- Some white on Annie's mouth can be seen when she turns her head on the pillow. This could be from the pillow phasing through her mouth.
- One shot shows Lenny without his mouth.
- As Laura and her family are watching the protagonists' broadcast about the true meaning of Christmas, Laura's mom blinks, but loses half of her eyeliner in the process.
- There are knots on the rope, but when the rope is thrown, there are no knots.
- A few references from Rack, Shack and Benny were used here:
- Mr. Lunt mentions about Nebby K. and his chocolate factory.
- George narrating the story.
- Mr. Nezzer trying to get rid of the main protagonists, but later redeeming himself.
- When the gang first come upon Mr. Nezzer's television studio, you'll notice pictures of the "Forgive-o-Matic" skit from the second episode and the couch from "I Love My Lips."
- 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.
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.
- 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!.
Shows: The Toy That Saved Christmas | The Star of Christmas | Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving
Specials: VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular!