tek's rating: sub-meh

Pinocchio's Christmas, on ABC
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This came out in 1980, but I don't think I'd ever heard of it until 2016, when I bought a DVD set of ten Christmas specials, including this one. Apparently it's loosely based on the original book "The Adventures of Pinocchio," which I've never read. I have seen the Disney version, at some point in my childhood, but it's been a long time, so I don't remember it well. I can say this seemed rather different, at least as far as Pinocchio's origin story is concerned, though this special actually seems to come closer to the original book than the Disney movie did, I guess. Still, I really did not care much for this special. Parts of it I found really painful to watch, because the writing was just so bad. Especially the songs. But there were a few bits I found mildly amusing. And I did like the ditzy cat (though that was largely because her voice kind of reminded me of Harley Quinn, except sort of grandmotherly).

Anyway... it starts out with Pinocchio seeing snow for the first time, and being confused by what it was. So Papa Geppetto tells him about snow, and about Christmas, which at that point is a week away. And... well, lots of stuff happens, all of it kind of weird. There's an ongoing subplot about Fox and Cat, whom Pinocchio thinks are his friends, but really they're not. They want to sell him to someone. Meanwhile, Pinocchio wants to earn money to buy a Christmas present for Geppetto, and that leads him to work as a living marionette, for a puppeteer named Maestro Fire-Eater (who as far as I can tell never actually eats fire). While performing in the show, Pinocchio develops feelings for a marionette named Julietta, although she's not alive like he is. And he doesn't like Maestro's plans for her, so... he steals her, and hides in the Forest of Enchantment. (It's then that we learn his origin story.) And various other things happen, as the various plot threads start to tie together. But I don't want to reveal any more of the plot. I'll just say I'm amazed I managed to get through the whole special.

specials index
The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

stop-motion specials: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer * Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town * The Year Without a Santa Claus * Rudolph's Shiny New Year *
Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey * Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July * Pinocchio's Christmas * The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold * The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus

animated specials: Frosty the Snowman * 'Twas the Night Before Christmas * Frosty's Winter Wonderland * The Hobbit * The Stingiest Man in Town

TV series: The New Adventures of Pinocchio * Tales of the Wizard of Oz * ThunderCats * SilverHawks

Movies: Mad Monster Party? * The Flight of Dragons * The Last Unicorn