The Raccoons Specials
The Christmas Raccoons
- THE CHRISTMAS RACCOONS (1980)
- Exec. Producer: Sheldon Wiseman
- Producer/Creator: Kevin Gillis
- Directors: Kevin Gillis and Paul Schibli
- Writer: Juliet Packer
- Music: Kevin Gillis and Jon Stroll
article written by James Fabiano
"The Christmas Raccoons" is the first of four Raccoons specials, and
introduced the characters of Ralph, Melissa, and Bert Raccoon; Schaeffer,
Dan, Julie, Tommy, and Cedric and Cyril Sneer (Many of the other main
characters came in later specials -- Sophia Tutu debuted in "The Raccoons on
Ice," as the Pigs and Broo did in "The Raccoons and the Lost Star"). It was
the Number One U.S. syndicated animated special in 1980, and was aired not
only in Canada and the United States, but also in England via BBC and ITV.
The story takes place in a forest located "slightly a ways north" on Earth
called the Evergreen Forest. It's "the day before, the day before
Christmas," but Dan, the head ranger, just learned that someone is chopping
down all of the forest's trees. His children, Julie and Tommy, are
concerned, but their father assures them that he'll do whatever he can to get
to the bottom of it. The kids, with their sheep dog Schaeffer, go to sleep
and dream of winter fun.
Meanwhile, in one tree known as the Raccoondominium, the Raccoons are
preparing for Christmas. By the way, although they share names, this
Raccoondominium is mostly different from the one in the series. On one of
the walls is a cool Travolta-esque Disco Raccoon poster. Oh, and Bert
indirectly refers to himself as the houseguest to the married Ralph and
Melissa (by complimenting the guest bedroom). So I guess that's the answer
to all those years of my wondering how the Raccoons are related, and why
they're living with each other and all :-)
Anyway, Ralph picks up the paper, and he too is outraged to learn about the
disappearing trees. Bert, however, doesn't take the matter as seriously.
"Maybe they're gone on Christmas vacation," he suggests. Yet outside, the
tree thief is revealed: Cyril Sneer, who as usual is looking for big bucks,
this time in his lumber company. His son, Cedric (who was attached to his
calculator most of the time he's seen, and is a lot whinier in the
specials I might add), tries to talk him out of his crazed plans to destroy
the whole forest, reasoning that they already have enough trees. But as
Cyril puts it, "I'm Cyril Sneer, the lumber profiteer! Whenever I'm near,
trees disappear!" And unfortunately, one of those trees turns out to be the
Left without a home, the Raccoons try to find who's behind the destruction of
the forest. However, Cyril dropped their tree on the way, where Tommy and
Julie find it and declare it the perfect Christmas tree. Ralph sees the kids
bring it into their house, and deduces that they must be stealing the trees.
They make their way inside, where they find the Raccoondominium decorated
with ornaments, tinsel, and lights. "Your home's gone Hollywood!" Bert tells
his friends. As the Raccoons try to get their stockings back, Schaeffer, who
has been napping nearby, wakes up and chases them through the forest.
Eventually, though, Schaeffer finds out the truth about his family's
Christmas tree, as do the Raccoons about his innocence. The animals then
team up to find the real tree thief.
"The Christmas Raccoons" features music by Rupert Holmes and Rita Coolidge,
who also voice Dan and Melissa respectively (In the Raccoons specials, Dan
and Melissa's voices are always provided by the musical "special guests.").
It was released by Embassy Home Entertainment, both alone and with "The
Raccoons on Ice."