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Fun Facts

The 50th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

December 18, 2016 will mark the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! television special that first aired on CBS and instantly became a Christmas classic.

The Grinch Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The narrator with the signature baritone voice, Boris Karloff, was an honourary Canadian. In the early 1900s Karloff was acting in Saskatchewan and British Columbia before heading to Hollywood, where he found fame as Frankenstein’s Monster and the voice of the Grinch.

To celebrate The 50th Anniversary of  Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, here are our Top Five Grinchy moments:

Max The Dog
Dog’s are a man’s best friend but Max proves they can be a Grinch’s best friend too! He is loyal to the end, and always good for a laugh!

The Grinch Song
We love the montage of the Grinch taking all of the pop guns, pampoonas, pantookas and drums in Whoville throughout Youre a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.  How many times can one Grinch get stuck in a chimney?

Whoville Musical Instruments
Even though they make a lot of noise, noise, noise, noise, you’ve got to admit that their Floo-Floobers, Tah-Tinkers, Who-Hoobers, Gah-Ginkers, Trum-Tookers, Sloo-Slonkers, Blum-Blookers, and Who-Wonkers look pretty darn cool!

The Grinch Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoville Feast
After the Grinch rode into Whoville to give bring back the toys to the Who girls and boys, they all sat down to a feast. And he himself, The Grinch, carved the roast beast. We always thought the Whoville Christmas feast looked very neat with their windy table, tall candelabras and corn on the cob.

The Great Grinchy Smile!
Words cannot explain, so here is a GIF! Look if you dare!

Retro Festive  offers lots of Grinchy products such as ornaments, mugs, stockings, and plush toys for every Who in Whoville.

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I Heart XMAS with Linda Olsen

Welcome to the I Heart XMAS Q&A, where Retro Festive asks notable Canadians about their own Christmas traditions and what they would like to find under the tree!

Linda Olsen
@Linda_Olsen
Anchor of the Early News at 5 and co-anchor of  Calgary’s News Hour at 6

Linda Olsen

What is your favourite Christmas movie or TV special? 

Elf!  I think it’s so cute and has a great message about the Christmas spirit.

 

 

Does your family have a special or quirky Christmas tradition?
We have a few traditions coming from our Danish heritage.

We would hold hands and sing Christmas songs and walk around the tree.  Also, we would put a whole almond in the desserts, citronfromage and risalamande.  The person who gets the whole almond in their serving has to keep it secret, hidden in their mouths, until everyone eats up all the dessert.  Then we found out who had it all along and that person wins a prize.

Which do you prefer: to give or receive?  

I definitely prefer to give!  I enjoy finding a few special gifts that my friends and family will really appreciate.

Which Peanuts character do you think your friends and family would say reminds them of you?
My daughter said Charlie Brown’s teacher who says ‘wuh wuh wuh.’

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: Not a Chance – or – The Uglier the Better?
I have not purchased one for myself yet, but my three kids have and they wear them with pride and yes, the uglier the better!

What do you want Santa to bring you this year?
I would like Santa to find a way to make the days longer so I can have more time with my kids and parents.

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Christmas Villains Who Give Us the Creeps

Christmas movies always begin nicely. The tree is trimmed, the gifts are wrapped, the turkey is in the oven, the quirky family has arrived, and the magic of the holidays is in the air – but there is one Christmas villain who must turn this wonderful season into a problem!

This December there will be a new film released that focuses on the ultimate Christmas villain – Krampus.

Krampus, starring Adam Scott from Parks and Recreation, Allison Tolman from Fargo, and Toni Collett from United States of Tara, is a live action horror/dark comedy about a modern dysfunctional family at Christmas, and a visit from the horned, ancient monster of European folklore, who punishes naughty children.

In honour of Krampus‘ arrival, we have compiled a list of Christmas villains who give us the creeps!

Scut Farkus – A Christmas Story
Scut Farkus staring out at us with his yellow eyes. He had yellow eyes! So, help me, God! Yellow eyes!”

Christmas villain

Scut Farkus, played by Canadian Zack Ward, was the local bully for Ralphie Parker and the gang in A Christmas Story, but in real life he raises money for anti-bullying programs.

 

The Grinch – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Your soul is an appalling dump-heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots!”

Christmas villain

 

 

 

 

 

 

They wrote a whole song describing how bad this guy was. But the power of a Christmas song also made his heart grow three sizes!

 

Scrooge – A Christmas Carol
Christmas is a very busy time for us, Mr. Cratchit. People preparing feasts, giving parties, spending the mortgage money on frivolities. One might say that December is the foreclosure season. Harvest time for the money-lenders.”

Christmas villain

Since his creation in 1843 by Charles Dickens, the cruel stinginess of Ebenezer Scrooge has been portrayed by Michael Caine, Tim Curry, Alastair Sim, Patrick Stewart, and Scrooge McDuck in countless plays, TV shows and movies. Why has this story been told so many times, in so many ways? Perhaps we all hope to redeem ourselves for past mistakes, just as Scrooge does after seeing the error of his ways.

 

Heat Miser and Snow Miser – Year Without a Santa Claus
“Friends call me Snow Miser, whatever I touch turns to snow in my clutch. I’m too much.”
“They call me Heat Miser. Whatever I touch starts to melt in my clutch. I’m too much.”

Christmas villains

The Miser Brothers are not the worst of the Christmas villains, but their refusal to get along and work together really slows Mrs Claus down on her mission to save Christmas.

 

Harry F. Potter – It’s a Wonderful Life
George, I am an old man, and most people hate me. But I don’t like them either so that makes it all even.”

Christmas villain

Mr Potter might be the most frustrating Christmas villain. He is pure evil and treats people terribly, but he never gets what is coming to him. He makes no attempt to become a better person, and George Bailey receives no chance at revenge!

Thankfully the cast of Saturday Night Live found the alternative ending of It’s a Wonderful Life, which seals Potter’s fate!

 

Professor Hinkle – Frosty the Snowman
We evil magicians have to make a living, too!

Christmas villains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Hinkle was just about the worst magician in the world, and he was pretty bad at being a villain too. He did try to ruin some pretty fantastic Christmas magic by stealing his hat from Frosty the Snowman and the children, but he was easily thwarted with the help of the Hocus the rabbit. I wonder how long it took him to write “I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty” a hundred zillion times.

 

Wet Bandits – Home Alone
I think we’re getting scammed by a kindergartener.

Christmas villains

Marv and Harry were small time thieves who thought they would get a big payoff scamming houses during the holidays. Eight year-old Kevin McCallister prevented that with a painful obstacle course. Just when you thought The Wet Bandits couldn’t get any worse, they try to rob a toy store of their charitable work during Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Thankfully Kevin is there to once again show them what’s what at Christmas!

If you have a Christmas villain in your life, you know what to get them:
Christmas villains

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Home Alone – Where Are They Now?

On November 16, 1990 a new Christmas movie, which would go on to spawn four sequels, was released to massive success. Written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, Home Alone told the story of young Kevin McCallister who had to defend his home from blundering thieves after a family feud left him home alone at Christmas.

Kevin McCallister hat - Home Alone
Kevin McCallister grocery shopping in his reindeer hat

After 25 years, Home Alone is still considered one of the best Christmas movies of all time. But what are the stars of Home Alone up to now?

Macaulay Culkin was a very successful child actor with many notable movie credits including the role of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Uncle Buck and My Girl until he retired from acting at age 14. In 2014 he founded The Pizza Underground, a New York-based band who re-work Velvet Underground songs into odes about pizza. The Pizza Underground toured North America that year, with two stops in Toronto at NXNE and Atomic Lollipop at the Ontario Science Centre.

Kevin Mcallister Home Alone with cheese pizza

Catherine O’Hara, who played Culkin’s mother in the Home Alone franchise, is currently starring in CBC’s hit show Schitt’s Creek. O’Hara also voiced Sally in The Nightmare Before Christmas, solidifying her spot in the Christmas Movie Hall of Fame, you know, in addition to Canada’s Walk of Fame.

The late, great John Candy had a small but crucial part in Home Alone as Gus Polinski, the Polka King of the Midwest, who gives Catherine O’Hara’s character a ride home. John Candy’s legacy lives on in our hearts and on our screens, but also in the newly opened John Candy Box Theatre at the Second City Training Centre in Toronto.

The Wet Bandits - Home Alone
The Wet Bandits (Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci)

The Wet Bandits, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, were a not-so-dynamic duo who were outsmarted and overwhelmed by Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Joe Pesci has not been acting in recent years – when you take a paint can to the face you deserve a break! – but he recently voiced Mosquito in the animated feature Savva, Heart of the Warrior. Daniel Stern, who played Marv, has had numerous roles on television in recent years, and in 2012 played The Old Man in A Christmas Story 2, which was filmed in Vancouver.

Thankfully, we can relive the hilarity of Home Alone on Netflix, Shomi, or the original VHS that’s still kicking around!

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A Little Nostalgia During Christmas – Old School Toys

Growing up in the mid-20th century was arguably the best time to be a kid! The toys and cartoons were fun, creative, and edgy! Here are a few fun facts about these fabulous old school toys that will bring you right back to your childhood, and which you can now also hang on your Christmas tree!

Mr. Potato Head

Potato Head Old School Toys

Fun Facts:

  1. Mr. Potato Head was created in 1952, and was the first toy to be advertised on television.
  2. Mr. Potato Head began as a set of spiked pieces kids gouged into real potatoes – but this was changed due to complaints about rotten vegetables.
  3. In 2008, Mr. Potato Head hung out with all of the 2008 American presidential candidates!

The Chatter Telephone

Chatter Telephone Old School Toys

Fun Facts:

  1. Since 1962 The Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone has been the first telephone for more than 26 million people, and is one of the only “telephones” on the market that still has a rotary dial!
  2. Chatter Telephone appears in the 2010 animated film Toy Story 3, assisting Woody and his friends in their escape from Sunnyside Daycare.
  3. In the Simpsons episode, Moe Baby Blues the Chatter Telephone appears in Maggie’s room. Retro Festive also features a large collection of Simpsons ornaments (Wonderful! They can be reunited once again!)

Raggedy Ann and Andy

  1. The original creator and artist, Johnny Gruelle, made Raggedy Ann for his daughter, Marcella, when she brought him an old hand-made rag doll and he drew a face on it.
  2. Raggedy Ann was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002. Raggedy Andy joined her in 2007.
  3. There is a widespread rumour that some of the first Raggedy Ann dolls possessed real candy hearts with “I love you” printed on them! Just like in the original Raggedy Ann and Andy storybooks!

Betty Boop

Betty Boop

  1. Long before Marilyn Monroe’s dress was blowing in the wind, Betty Boop’s dress did the exact same thing in the film Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs (1932).
  2. In the 1988 production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Betty Boop was the only character not shown in colour. Obviously, Betty Boop always has to stand out!
  3. In her first cartoon appearance, Betty Boop, was a dog character with long floppy ears and great legs!

Keeping the nostalgia alive is what Retro Festive is all about! Check out our entire selection dedicated to old school toys designed as Christmas ornaments.

Old School Toys under the tree

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