REMOTE OUTPOST: OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE THREE CHRISTMAS “KINGS”
By Mark Onspaugh
It’s Christmas here at the Outpost, just like it is on your home world. Rather than review a bygone Christmas special or movie from the Vast Wasteland, I thought I would interview the stars of the three best Christmas specials ever made: RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (1964), A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (1965) and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (1966).
Rudolph, Charlie Brown and the Grinch joined me in the main lounge overlooking the Plains of Slow Death—the area is hostile and toxic, but the sunsets are amazing. I was disappointed that Charlie Brown had not brought Snoopy, nor had the Grinch brought Max, but the journey to the Outpost seems particularly traumatic to dogs and toddlers.
The three had met previously at various gatherings (notably Icons & Immortals), so we got right into it.
OUTPOST: You each star in a special that was made over 40 years ago, yet most would agree they are still superior to many made since. How does it feel to be part of something that people have passed down to children and even grandchildren.
RUDOLPH: It’s wonderful. After having so much trouble as a fawn, it’s nice to know so many people think I’m cute. (Nose glows and squeaks.)
CHARLIE BROWN: I don’t know… My life is pretty much the same. I still haven’t talked to that Little Red-haired Girl and our team never wins.
THE GRINCH: My life is very satisfying. I have a piece of the merchandising and invested in various resorts and condos and shopping mall developments in Whoville.
OUTPOST: Is that really in keeping with your reformed Grinchiness? Heart three sizes bigger and all?
THE GRINCH: I’m kinder, but I’m not an idiot.
(A communique arrives from L.L. Soares of Earth)
OUTPOST: One of our readers wants to know why FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (1969) isn’t being interviewed.
(All three make sour faces.)
RUDOLPH: I hate that guy!
CHARLIE BROWN: What a blockhead… No, what a (expletive deleted)-head!
THE GRINCH: Do you know what I sent him last Christmas? A hair dryer.
(Rudolph and Charlie Brown laugh.)
OUTPOST: Why no love for Frosty?
RUDOLPH: He’s just so annoying—every winter he comes back and acts like he’s risen from the freaking grave or something.
CHARLIE BROWN: And he’s mean—he gave Schroeder frost bite… kid couldn’t play Beethoven for two months.
THE GRINCH: His heart is ice… which is fitting, I suppose.
OUTPOST: Wow, I’m glad we didn’t invite him. I have to admit, although I liked Jackie Vernon, I always found Frosty annoying.
Do you three still see your co-stars?
RUDOLPH: Sure—Clarisse and I got married some time ago, and we have some fawns of our own. Blinky, Winky, Twinkly, Strobe, Low-Watt, Burnout, Halogen –
OUTPOST: Great, great… But I guess people are really curious about Hermey and Yukon Cornelius.
RUDOLPH: Hermey is really famous, now. He got the Easter Bunny account and married the Tooth Fairy. There were a lot of jokes when they announced their engagement, but they’re very happy. Yukon was filming a reality show, “In Search of Silver and Gold” and was lost somewhere in the Siberian wastes… The Bumble and some of the Misfit Toys went looking for him… Soon as I finish up here, I’m going to join the search with my kids Blinky, Winky, Twinkly –
OUTPOST: Great, great… Charlie Brown?
CHARLIE BROWN: I’m under contract with Dolly Madison. I work with the same people and we all stay eight years old. The pay is good, but we all stay eight years old… And our parents are the horn section of the L.A. Philharmonic.
OUTPOST: That sounds more like a Twilight Zone episode…
CHARLIE BROWN: Tell me about it.
THE GRINCH: I still see all the Whos… And every year I go to the Christmas Villains convention—usually ride with the Bumble—it’s the only time I can get together with Heat Miser, Snow Miser and the Burgermeister Meisterburger. Those are good times.
OUTPOST: Grinch, you’re in a unique position in this panel—you are both the villain and the hero of your Christmas special. Aside from yourself, who do you think is the greatest Christmas villain of all time?
THE GRINCH: Ebenezer Scrooge, no question… Part of my lineage is tied to Boris Karloff, you know, so I appreciate the classics.
OUTPOST: Ah, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, based on the work of Charles Dickens. There have been so many versions of that classic tale—do you, like most, prefer the 1951 version with Alastair Sim? The 1938 version with Reginald Owen?
THE GRINCH: As wonderful as those both are, I must admit I am particularly fond of SCROOGED (1988) with Bill Murray.
RUDOLPH: That’s a great one!
CHARLIE BROWN: It’s really funny—it almost makes me forget my dog has a richer life than I do.
OUTPOST: Okay, time for some tough questions. Rudolph, you were in a couple of sequels to your eponymous special. You were the sweet reindeer with a “difference” that made you an object of ridicule…
RUDOLPH: Oh boy, you don’t need a “neon nose” to see where this is going…
OUTPOST: Yet, in RUDOLPH’S SHINY NEW YEAR (1976), the baby New Year is self-conscious about his huge ears… and you laugh at him!
RUDOLPH: (sighs) Yeah, I was under contract to do some sequels—I wasn’t happy with that particular aspect, which they tried to explain away as people laughing with Baby New Year, not at him. Since it humiliated him, I thought that was all so much Bumble-s**t – however, I was made a fawn again in that one (even though I was grown by the end of the first special), and lacked the confidence to fight for changes.
OUTPOST: I guess that explains the horrible animation of RUDOLPH AND THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS (2001).
RUDOLPH: That piece of crap! I usually tell people that’s my slow-witted cousin Adolph.
OUTPOST: Charlie Brown—the world wants to know—why in the hell do you try and kick that football that Lucy holds? She needs a good rap in the chops.
CHARLIE BROWN: I honestly don’t know, I really don’t. I’ve been to a ton of therapists—apparently I have “Dennis the Menace Syndrome” which is a permanent state of child-regression and arrested development— it’s like a Peter Pan complex, but for comic strip characters. Rats.
OUTPOST: Uh huh, uh huh… well, next time tell her Snoopy will go for her throat if she pulls that s**t again.
CHARLIE BROWN: Wouldn’t that be something? Good grief!
OUTPOST: And Grinch…
THE GRINCH: Is this about the 2000 Jim Carrey movie?
OUTPOST: Yes! They took a beautiful, succinct and elegant twenty-two minute short and—
THE GRINCH: I am in litigation over this very issue and have been advised by counsel not to discuss the matter. Although my profits from the venture were extensive, and led not only to the building of Whoville University and the Grinch Cancer Ward at the Whoville Medical Center, I felt the movie and its portrayal of … Let’s just table that until after the lawsuit, shall we?
OUTPOST: Fair enough. It is unfortunate that each of you starred in such a masterwork, and later callous and money-grubbing fat cats used your name and nostalgia to put out inferior trash.
RUDOLPH: That’s the nature of the beast, man.
THE GRINCH: Amen to that, brother!
CHARLIE BROWN: Rats.
OUTPOST: I’d like to open up the lines now for more questi –
(At this point, the wall began to melt and freeze simultaneously… The plasteel structure buckled and then collapsed, and a large vehicle bristling with weapons broke through. The thing careened across the now-icy floor and nearly took out both Rudolph and the shield generator. Thankfully, the generator was not hit and was able to seal the breach… Rudolph, being able to fly, was able to lift off… However, in his panicked state he did soil our Security Chief, who rushed in at the first alarm. I know this seems like a bid for a cheap laugh, but it wasn’t funny at the time.
The turret popped open, and George Bailey leaped out onto the faring…)
GEORGE BAILEY: Hello, you old Outpost! Merry Christmas, Rudolph! Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! Merry Christmas, you old Grinch!
(George was followed by a lot of people in true clown car fashion: Ebenezer Scrooge, Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf, Patch the Elf, King Moonracer, Pitch the Demon, Lupita, Zuzu, Mary, Ralphie with his Red Ryder BB gun, the Bumble, the Winter Warlock, Sam the Snowman, Snow Miser, Heat Miser, Burgermeister Meisterburger, Hermey, the Tooth Fairy, the conductor from The Polar Express, all the Misfit Toys, Tiny Tim, Frank Cross, Claire, Eliot Loudermilk, various avatars of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Mr. Magoo, Art Carney, Good King Wenceslas, various waifs, waitresses and ne’er-do-wells from a thousand Hallmark specials, Fred Claus, Bad Santa, all the denizens of the North Pole, Hannukah Harry, Sandy Claws, Jack Skellington, the Griswolds, all those Martians Santa Claus conquered and everyone who ever had a Christmas special or a very special Christmas episode…
…all except for Frosty the Snowman, who everyone agrees is a real ass.)
As for me, I broke out the Egg Nogger 5000, refilled the rum tanks and dug out the all the old Christmas albums…
It was the best party ever.
The Remote Outpost can be a lonely place, until your friends arrive.
To you and yours, from all of us at the REMOTE OUTPOST, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and a joyful time, whatever you celebrate.
REMOTE OUTPOST… out.
© Copyright 2011 by Mark Onspaugh