It was probably the last, since we all know what “B.C.” stands for.
I’ve said it many times over the last few years – there are the holiday specials that endure and become classics, and there are the ones that find their way into the primetime lineup, stick around for a tiny bit (or are one-air wonders), and disappear into the doldrums, never to be seen again.
Except on YouTube.
Because someone had a copy of it.
They are the innovators, the ones who bring obscurity back from obscurity. I’m not going to say that’s always a good thing, but we’ll give them credit anyway, they’re the ones who remind us that such things exist, with “Such things” being this Thanksgiving oddity from the Forgotten Past of Holiday Primetime Specials.
Thanksgiving Specials…Things I Won’t Always Remember…
When we think of Thanksgiving specials, we think A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, This is America, Charlie Brown – The Mayflower Voyagers (which usually airs right after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to pad out that half hour), Garfield’s Thanksgiving, or anything from the Warner Bros. library of cartoons. I just found out The Care Bears had a Thanksgiving cartoon. All of these are memorable for a reason (well, maybe not the one with the Care Bears) – they have staying power in the primetime lineup.
As the years go on and shows like to air their own Thanksgiving plot-centered episodes, specials get pushed out of the regular lineups. Even the sacred “Thanksgiving Eve” primetime movie on the “regular” networks has become non-existent these days. Sure, there are live music programs on those networks, but movies the night before Thanksgiving have gone away, and so have many specials, though some went away years ago. And for good reason.
I’m pretty sure B.C.: The First Thanksgiving left the lineup because it lacked staying power. That’s gotta be the reason.
The Funny Pages!
Flip through the Sunday Funny pages (what are those?) in your local newspaper (What?!) and B.C. is probably a mainstay of the pages. Created by Johnny Hart, running in local newspapers since 1958, continuing to this day (despite the 2007 death of its creator), and featuring a group of cave people and their (mis)adventures), B.C. is a comic you know exists. I know I do – my maternal grandfather loved the Sunday Funnies, and would read them to me when I was little. Garfield, Hagar the Horrible, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Family Circus, Hi and Lois, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbs – I could go on and on. He even read For Better or For Worse to me, even though that was over my head (it wasn’t a kid’s comic, to be fair). I loved that bonding time with him (nineteen years later, I still miss it). He did read B.C. to me, even though this was one that went over my head.
I knew about the characters, I knew the animation…and I had no clue there was a holiday special (actually, there were two) until two years ago, when the Cinema Snob (aka Brad Jones, whom I’ve met) talked about it on DVD-R Hell. Not as the Snob, but as himself.
Anyway, B.C.’s attempt at Thanksgiving humor, primetime animated special style!
“You know, the reason that we’re doing this is because the supermarkets are closed on Thanksgiving.”
You don’t say.
So this is all obligatory?
It’s a special complete with sticking one’s hand in fire (and the fire/stump it was ignited upon feeling pain), the boiling of stew (and the need for a turkey for it), a turkey who sings “People,”said turkey running away from the cast of cavemen trying to put it in said stew, and the eating of an alternative meal.
Which I’m sure happens to 1 in 4 families on Thanksgiving when something befalls the turkey.
Anyway, it’s not the greatest thing to happen to the holiday season, but it exists. Sure, it currently exists within the doldrums of forgotten holiday specials, but YouTube is always good at making sure we know something exists that probably should have been forgotten.
Oh, and B.C. sounds like Jack Benny. Another reason this probably found its way to obscurity – no 1980s kid is going to know who that is!
Ok, maybe we do. Our grandparents had us watching Lawrence Welk, so we’d naturally know who Jack Benny is, even if they are completely unrelated.
As a nostalgic individual myself, I actually enjoyed watching this in the way I enjoy watching other obscure holiday specials. I know they’re obscure for a reason, but at one time, they were pushed to the forefront and got proper primetime exposure. Pretty incredible since the syncing is all over the place in this special and it really is substandard. It has catchy theme music, so it has that going for it.
Anyway, enjoy the first Thanksgiving for a group of cavemen. It’s cute.
B.C.: The First Thanksgiving
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Oh, and if you really like treats, check out this version of B.C.: The First Thanksgiving, complete with commercials from its original airing, and a very interesting introduction.
Upload via Obsolete Video
Oh, and I mentioned there were two B.C. holiday specials. The other one is a Christmas special.
Try not to act surprised.