|Christmas Card opening by Xtencio|
"From All of Us to All of You" is a very popular Christmas special that was shown for the first time on December 19, 1958 as a holiday treat on the "Wonderful World of Color". As usual Walt Disney was the host introducing the show although a chirpy Jiminy Cricket took over those chores quickly as the segment moved into animation.
Mickey Mouse, brought to life with wonderfully expressive character animation provided by Les Clark started the musical ball rolling with Tinkerbell applying just the right amount of pixiedust to open the curtain. We were led through memorable sequences from many of the Disney classics from "Snow White" to "Lady and the Tramp" presented as Christmas cards with new animation bridging with the vintage clips.
|More of X's wonderful artwork|
Over the years as this special repeated, it would include new footage of films and projects that were upcoming from the Disney Studio. It was directed by a good friend of mine, former animation teacher and First Dean of the Character Animation Program at CalArts, Jack Hannah who directed most of those classic shows that featured Walt introducing the episodes from his "office". That "office" by the way was a near perfect re-creation, yes re-creation of Walt's office which was about a 10 minute walk from the soundstage and up 3 floors in the corner overlooking the backlot. It was easier to do that than disrupt the operation and privacy of Walt's real office which was also brimming with confidential memos, notes from meetings and project ideas not the least of which were future attraction suggestions for Disneyland which had recently opened a bit over 2 years earlier.
|Hazel "Gil" George Walt's nurse and songwriter|
Over time, the special "gained weight" (don't we all? sigh) as they expanded it from the original 60 minutes in 1983 to 90 minutes and retitled it to "A Disney Channel Christmas". Unfortunately we don't see this special in this country for some reason as often as they do in the Nordic Countries of Sweden, Finland and Norway. In fact almost half the entire population of Sweden enjoys this holiday treat which is broadcast every Christmas Eve as their most popular and most watched show of the year.
Over yonder in that land known for meatballs, IKEA, and Ingrid Bergman, they call it "Kalle Anka och hans vanner God Jul" which is Swedish for "Donald Duck and his Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas!" Kinda roles off the tongue like lingonberry jelly doesn't it? And imagine, Donald getting top billing over Mickey! This delightful delicacy is still not available on DVD but here's wishing the Disney Studio will release it, the original 1958 version please, someday as part of a Holiday Collection so that new generations can enjoy what we have these many years.
So from All of Us to All of You, a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!