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Peanuts director Bill Melendez takes a time-out with this Xmas special
based on a true story, but doesn't stray too far from the Peanuts
style. He doesn't stray at all, as a matter of fact.
Virginia is a little girl living in New York City in 1897. She is mocked by her classmates for still believing in Santa Claus so she writes a letter to a newspaper editor asking for confirmation. He replies with a resoundingly 'yes'.
It looks and sounds a LOT like Peanuts with the simple animation and phonetic dialogue. I could swear I saw ol' Chuck among those kids too. File this somewhere in the middle of your Xmas viewing list.
"He will continue to make glad, the heart of childhood." So answered New York Sun editor Francis Church at the end of his editorial to one Virginia O'Hanlon one day in 1897 to her question of is there a Santa Claus. Taking a break from the "Peanuts" specials, director Bill Melendez put the same charm he visualized in those on this one to sentimental effect with once again children voicing the kid characters. I loved the scene between that street cop Virginia asked about the red-suited man and that cop's superior on the phone and his reply to Virginia about what that superior said about Santa. And how nice was it to hear Jim Backus as the narrator here. Since I don't want to spoil anything, you'll have to watch this to find out who he's supposed to be in relation to the story. So, yes, that's a recommendation...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Much like Christmas Is, Yes Virginia strongly resembles the Peanuts
In a rather syrupy manner, we are given the little girl, asking is there really a Santa Claus and her crying when her classmates laugh at her.
The cartoon is memorable for the actual reading of the letter that Virginia wrote to the newspaper, the response she got in return, the song and for showing actual pictures of Virginia (tho I think she was a woman in the photo), the editor of the newspaper and I believe Virginia's dad is shown as well.
I've seen Yes Virginia in the past decade or so. Somebody needs to put this one (especially upon seeing it won an Emmy) and Christmas Is and The Night the Animals Talked back on the regular Christmas season airing.
Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (1974)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
A young girl named Virginia keeps getting picked on because she believes in Santa Claus. She asks one adult after another but none of them are willing to tell her so she writes a letter to a local newspaper where Frances Church posts an answer. Based on the famous 1897 story, this animated tale is a pretty good little film even if the 25-minute running time does feel a tad bit long at times. I think the film would have been much better had five-minutes or so been cut out. Early on there's a pretty long sequence where Virginia keeps asking the same question over and over and I must admit that after a while it got a bit boring. Outside of that this here is a pretty good little film and of course it has a great message behind it. The original article response to the girl is read at the end of the movie and I'm sure it will have the same impact on young children as it did when first published. The animation looks extremely good and there's no doubt that the Virginia character is quite enjoyable.
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