It seems like most of the Christmas cartoons that we look forward to every year are showing their age. Recent decades haven’t seen television networks and producers make too strong of an attempt to create new holiday classics to play alongside perennial crowd favorites such as “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, or any of another half dozen or so Rankin-Bass claymation productions from the sixties and seventies.
There have been a few strong attempts made at developing new Christmas classics over the years. Drew Barrymore produced and voiced the title character in the charming “Olive the Other Reindeer” special in 1999 and America’s favorite fat cat Garfield has his own 30 minute Christmas special from 1987 that gets annual airings as well. The popular children’s book “Elf of the Shelf” was developed into a CBS original production in 2012 that garnered good ratings reviews. Outside of these few good efforts, most new productions disappear after one or two airings and fail to catch an audience as the old classics did.
NBC will attempt to add a new classic to the mix this year and they wrangled up and all-star cast of actors, writers, and producers to make it happen. “How Murray Saved Christmas” is a new animated Christmas musical special that will make it’s debut on the network on December, 5th. The special is based on a New York Times best-selling children’s book penned by former Simpsons writer Mike Reiss. Like most classic holiday cartoons the special will contain several original musical numbers written and scored by talent who have also developed music for “The Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.”
The lead character of Murray Weiner is played by comedic icon Jerry Stiller. Murray is a cranky Scrooge like character who has to step up at Christmas time and fill in for Santa Claus. The rest of the voice cast reads like a who’s who of comedic acting talent with talent such as Sean Hayes, Jason Alexander, John Ratzenberger, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert.