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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf

Hey, everybody!

I can't believe that we're already on the last day of November already. It's crazy how this year has flown right by, isn't it? And, believe me, when it comes down to the year 2013, it certainly has been quite a memorable year – at least as far as my own experiences go.

And, as we close out the month of November, I imagine some of you in the United States are finishing off the last of your Thanksgiving leftovers. I imagine North Americans are trying to figure out how much money they saved on the television sets, Blu-Ray players, and PlayStation 3 games during the “Black Friday” sales. And, for those of you of the Jewish faith, I hope that your Hanukkah celebrations are peaceful, happy, and filled with lots of food and family.

As for me...the end of November means the beginning of December, and December is all about Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas.

And, what better way to celebrate Christmas than by doing the second annual edition of the “Pop Culture Addict's Advent Calendar”?

How do you like the new holiday themed logo for this month? Granted, I don't claim to be an expert in creating computer graphic designs. In fact, my logo kind of looks like something that the thirteen-year-old me would have designed on the Super Nintendo drawing game “Mario Paint”. But, what the hell? I think it turned out quite well.

And, if you tuned into the blog last year around this time, you know what the “Pop Culture Addict's Advent Calendar” is all about! Twenty-five different blog entries dedicated to holiday specials, festive music singles, Christmas movies, and more, more, more! How do you like it? How do you like it?

(Ahem...sorry...was channeling the spirit of the late Andrea True...and making a connection, apparently.)

Now, typically speaking, what I would normally do in the advent calendar is kick things off on the first day of December...which in 2013 happens to fall tomorrow.

But this year, I thought to myself...what if I started the advent calendar one day early? And, this wasn't initially a planned decision either. It was more along the lines of “I was thinking about a Christmas special that was exclusive only to Canadian viewers that I haven't seen in a really long time and felt the need to do a blog entry on it because I miss it” topic.

So, consider this to be day zero of the Pop Culture Addict's Advent Calendar!

You know what? Since that ornament happens to be blue, let's make the rest of the text blue too. You'll see why in a moment.

All right. So as of now, we've entered the world looking through cerulean coloured glasses. But, why would I decide on the spur of the moment to make this blog blue?

Maybe it's because the main character of this holiday special happens to be completely dressed in blue. Maybe it's because the main character of the show happens to be feeling all sorts of blue because of the fact that the other elves in the village don't treat him with respect and kindness. Or, maybe it has to do with the nickname that he ends up with at the very end of the special?

That nickname? “Bluetoes”, of course!

Now, how do you suppose that “Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf” got his name? We'll answer that question and more.

Firstly, let's talk a little bit about production, as well as the first time I remember seeing this television special. Now, as far as I know, this special originally aired in December 1988 (TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO!!!) on CBC. I have also heard that Bluetoes aired on certain television stations in the United States as well, though I can't be sure. Though, I hope that some of this blog's American fans will let me know if they remember watching Bluetoes on television, because it is actually one of my all-time favourite Christmas specials. I even have it recorded on VHS somewhere, but for the life of me, I cannot remember where the tape is.

Though, I suppose it's a moot point, since I no longer own a VCR.

Of course, the whole recording of that Christmas special was a happy accident of sorts. I had actually wanted to record a show from channel three. But I was only seven or eight when I was first learning how to set the timer on the VCR, and I ended up making one fatal error. Instead of recording the show I wanted to watch on channel three, I accidentally had the dial set on channel four, meaning that I recorded the wrong show!

Thankfully, channel four was (and still is) our CBC affiliate, and at the time that I set the VCR to record, I ended up recording “Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf”. And believe me, when I realized my mistake, I was very mad and upset.

Of course, after I watched Bluetoes...I ended up loving it. And, it quickly became one of those shows that I had to watch every single year on television. It's just a shame that the last time I remember watching this television special on CBC was all the way back in 1992 or 1993.  It really should air a lot more often so that more people can see it, because it really was a brilliant television special.

Which is why I searched the depths of the Internet trying to find it so that you call could have the opportunity to watch it.  Needless to say, I got lucky!

So, enjoy watching the story of Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf by clicking HERE...or if you rather, just click on the three videos below this paragraph.  We'll discuss it after you're finished watching the whole program!

Anyway, the story of Bluetoes begins as quite a sad tale at first.  You see, every single one of Santa's elves has a very clever name that they are referred to.  For instance, "Chopper" is the elf who chops all the firewood for Santa's fireplace.  And, "Ribbon" is the elf who can wrap Christmas gifts faster than any other elf in Santa's village.

But there's one little blue elf who is feeling blue, because he doesn't have a name.  Because he is the smallest elf in the whole village, Santa just called him "Small One", and the name just kind of stuck.  But "Small One" didn't really care for his name at all.  I mean, yeah..."Small One" would have been a fine name...had it not been for the fact that the other elves saw it as a negative, rather than a positive.

You see, the other elves were quite annoyed with Small One always getting in the way of their Christmas preparations each and every year.  Not that any of it was Small One's fault, mind you.  He loved Santa and the other elves, and he just wanted to do his part to make sure that Christmas ran smoothly.

Now, one thing that I found interesting about Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf is the fact that it probably has one of the most creative interpretations of Santa's Workshop that I have ever seen displayed in a Christmas cartoon.  In Bluetoes, toys are not built...they grow on trees.  And, the toys are sent down a massive slide to the workshops below, where the elves paint, wrap, and sticker each present to go to the billions of children all over the world.  I thought it was a very creative story idea.  Maybe that's one reason I love it so's because it was so different from all the other Christmas specials out there.

Anyway, Small One really tried to help.  He didn't know that the trees that he picked his toys from were saplings that wouldn't be ready until the following year - even though the miniature toys from the tree looked very cool indeed.  And, it also didn't help that the older elves of the village kept passing Small One around to other elves as if he were a hot potato.  No wonder Small One felt as though he was doing more harm than good when the other elves were treating him like an annoyance.

And it certainly didn't help matters much that Small One had inadvertently made himself public enemy number one in the form of a gigantic polar bear, who kept chasing the small elf after he accidentally built a snowman on top of him.  And, even though the polar bear was responsible for the logs rolling down the hill and collapsing the toy chute, the other elves blamed Small One without even hearing his side of the story.  

Some friends, huh?

Of course, that's not to say that Small One didn't have any friends at all.  Santa Claus was nice to everyone, and he always seemed to have a soft spot in his heart for the little blue elf.  And, sometime during the course of the special, Small One befriends a little lost penguin, whom Small One gave the name of "Lonesome".  Lonesome and Small One quickly become the best of friends, and Lonesome ends up helping Small One patch all the stockings that he is forced to repair as punishment for sinking Santa's sleigh to the bottom of the frozen lake after yet another confrontation with the polar bear.

Even though Lonesome and Small One have a lot of fun fixing up all of the stockings, Small One is disappointed that he has to stay behind while the rest of the elves select the Christmas tree for the year.  But thanks to some quick thinking on Lonesome's part, the duo finish the job in half the time, and they set out to join the others to show them all the work they did.

Unfortunately, by the time Small One and Lonesome arrive at the forest, they are unaware that the polar bear has already scared away the other elves, and this leads to one final confrontation between Small One and the polar bear.  Needless to say, the polar bear quickly discovers the bizarre phenomenon known as 'static electricity', and he shreds every single stocking to try and get all the socks off of him - undoing all of the hard work that Small One and Lonesome put into them, and once again making Small One the scourge of the entire elf community.

Really, by this point of the show, I'm ready for Small One and Lonesome to tell those snobbish elves what they really think of them, hop the nearest flight to Jamaica, and enjoy the rest of their lives in a warm, sunny, climate, away from their frosty personalities.  But, Small One isn't like that at all.  Despite how badly he was treated by the elves, Small One still wanted to be helpful.

And since the elves were still angry with Small One, he decided to help Lonesome get back home again.  Unfortunately, the way back home was far away, and the only way to get there was to hitch a ride on Santa's sleigh.  But with it being December 24th, there was no way that Santa would have had time to drop Lonesome off.  So, Small One decides to hide Lonesome in one of the bags of toys in hopes that Santa would be flying over Lonesome's home on his travels.  But somehow, Small One ends up falling in the bag of toys as well, causing two toys to be left behind, and Small One and Lonesome end up going on Santa's sleigh after all.

But what happens when Santa discovers that he is two presents short?  Well, Santa decides to fly back home, believing that he has time to deliver them to the last two children on his list.  In his haste, he leaves Small One and Lonesome behind, outside the bedroom window of the two children - still yet to receive their gifts.  And, Small One is worried that if the kids wake up and see no toys there, they will be disappointed and upset.

Until Small One realizes that he still has a pocket full of the tiny toys that he picked from the baby trees some days earlier.  But, how would he wrap them?  No problem.  He simply used his own little blue stockings to stuff the toys inside, and hung the stockings over by the fireplace.

(Now you have another legend about how the tradition of hanging up stockings came to be.  Cool, huh?)

And, cool would be exactly what Small One felt because as the children were waking up, Small One quickly made his escape - forgetting to put on his shoes as he left.

By the time Santa came back with the two gifts, he was shocked to learn that the children were having a lot of fun with the tiny toys that Small One had given to them.  And when Lonesome got Santa's attention, he found a shivering Small One cuddled up in a ball, with his frostbitten toes turning a sickly shade of blue.

NOTE:  Do NOT go outside in bare feet on a winter day.  Your toes will not turn blue.  Your toes will turn sickly shades of purple and brown, and most likely will have to be amputated.  Just because it happens in a cartoon, doesn't mean it happens in the real world.  Don't walk on snow barefoot.  Wear galoshes or winter boots.  That is all.

Of course, now you know how Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf got his name.  And, you know how Bluetoes was the inspiration behind the tradition of filling up stockings with all sorts of goodies.

As for Lonesome and the polar bear - well, they ended up getting their happily ever after too.  And it's nice to know that even though the polar bear caused all sorts of trouble for Small One/Bluetoes, Bluetoes still gave him a lovely Christmas gift.  

Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf.  He may have a small body, but he also has a huge heart.

And, that wraps up a preview of the blog entries you will be seeing over the month of December.  And to kick things officially off tomorrow, a Sunday Jukebox that will have you singing "Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ding-dong-ding!"

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