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I remember this from when I was a kid. It was a tie-in with cartoons featuring a boy named Benjy (sp?). They were produced by one denomination or another (Lutheran, I think). I believe the others were _Christmas Is_ and _Easter Is_, but those titles aren't in IMDb. Anyhoo, the story is about this little town, none of whose inhabitants know anything about Christmas. The carpenter arrives in town in the kids see him whittling, and they all sing a song that went "Chip, chip, chip away". (Don't ask me how I remember that!). The man tells the kids about Christmas and about the birth of Jesus. One little girl says something to the effect of "What's so great about a baby being born? We have a baby at our house and he's no fun!" A bit heavy-handed, but not a complete waste of time, either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There once was a city that forgotten about God. The people were selfish
and mean. The healthy people did not take care of the sick. The
children fought. The grown-ups scowled and shouted. Nobody smiled any
more. Worst of all, because the people in this city had forgotten the
meaning of love, they had also forgotten the meaning of Christmas.
And then... a woodcarver named Matthew came to town. He was a kind, loving man who wore a smile and did kind and thoughtful things for others. His attitude spread and soon the townspeople were smiling once again and doing things for one another.
But Matthew was saddened because nobody could remember the Christmas story. The children gathered at his workshop and he shared the Christmas story with them as he began to carve figurines that belonged to the Christmas story. Hecarved the angel Gabriel, and Mary and Joseph. He told the children that he wanted to carve the donkey, the cows, the sheep, the shepherds, the wise men, the manger, and the baby Jesus but he didn't have time. The children knew that they had to have all the statues done so they came and helped him and then they went and got their parents and brought them to help carve and paint. The whole town worked together to complete the nativity scene.
By Christmas Eve they were done with all of the statues except the baby Jesus but Matthew promised that the baby would be in the manger by Christmas.
But... on Christmas morning when all the people gathered to see the manger scene, Matthew was no where to be found. Where had he gone? And why? Why wasn't Baby Jesus in the manger? The people waited... and waited.. and waited. By evening they were very disheartened... HOW could they have Christmas without The Baby??? And then.... something very special happened... the city that had forgotten about Christmas discovered what Matthew meant when he had said, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" Watch the movie... and bring Christ back into your Christmas.
Since Casey Kasem died a few weeks ago, I've been watching some stuff he did-whether live action movies or animated cartoons-made in chronological order on the internet. So I'm now in 1974 with another animated cartoon for Christmas he did after "The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas". For this one, he voices a frustrated father and a henchman for a grumpy mayor (voiced by Charles Nelson Reilly). The mayor is a character in a story told by a grandfatherly figure who also resembles another elderly person in the story named Matthew who comes to this town to help its people discover Christmas since the mayor doesn't allow it to be celebrated. Let me now say that while its a bit heavy-handed and the visual slapstick scenes are visually clumsy, its still a pretty heartfelt story worthy to be seen by any child who stumbles into this one. So on that note, The City That Forgot About Christmas is worth a look.
This is a film by the Lutheran Church, so its purpose is to present Christmas from a Christian perspective. The animation is rather low cost (they repeat motions and images, mouths do not synchronize with the words...), but my family has always enjoyed the humor in the well written story--so we watch this show most every year. My boys especially like the simple minded men who follow the mayor about. These three often repeat the same phrases with the third giving a humorous twist. The songs are also simple, but nicely done, clear and memorable: "you can't stop Christmas no matter how you try" and "chip, chip, chip away." Other than the odd animation (which probably matters most to adults anyway), this is an excellent show for children.
I saw this around Christmas 2007. I know it's dated, but I found it to be an entertaining story and a great choice for younger viewers. It begins with a boy depressed over the coming Christmas. All he's seen is the season making everyone around grumpy. His grandfather then tells a story of a similar situation. The story he tells is of a gloomy city that has forgotten Christmas and where nearly everyone is nasty towards one another. One day a man named Matthew, a carpenter, arrives in town. Matthew shares with the children what makes him different and what makes Christmas very special, the birth of Jesus Christ. Soon everyone in the city begins planning a big Christmas celebration, the first in many years. But the Mayor and his henchmen plan to stop the celebration.
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