Friday, June 15, 2012

Christmas Is (1970) comic book

My new comic book!

Look what I found!  This past spring, I was trolling through listings for vintage Christmas TV on Etsy.com and discovered this comic book.  It was dirt cheap too.  But no one could love it quite like me so I had to buy it :)  Do you recognize what this is?

back cover--obviously went through the mail at some point in time.

This comic book is based on the animated TV special Christmas Is from 1970.  This half-hour special features the characters Benji and his sheepdog Waldo.  If you are old enough to remember, this syndicated special was the first of several to feature Benji and Waldo including The City That Forgot About Christmas, an Easter special, Easter Is and the Fourth of July special, Freedom Is.  All of these animated specials were created on behalf of a Lutheran ministries group and have a mild religious message.

First page is the sheet music for the theme song!


I included Christmas Is in a listing of old Christmas TV specials that are worth re-discovering in my first book The Christmas TV Companion on pg. 51.  Of course, it's also listed in my encyclopedia, Tis the Season TV.  This 40 year-old special actually still airs on TV during December each year--I've seen it broadcast on a local TV station on Saturday afternoons.  I guess I'm not the only one who still loves it if someone is still paying to broadcast it!

Benji doesn't understand the importance of the shepherds in the Christmas story.

Do you remember the story?  Benji has been cast in his local Christmas pageant as the second shepherd once again, but he’s not sure what his role means.  As he re-reads the biblical story, Benji and his shaggy dog Waldo find themselves transported back in time to Bethlehem.  While he finds room at the inn serving food to the guests, Benji sees that other travelers are turned away. He hears the others talking about the coming Messiah and he awakens in the middle of the night to a bright star.  Benji learns that the news of the Christ child’s birth would not have been known without the shepherds.  Aroused from sleep, Benji rushes to the pageant, eager to play his role in the Nativity story.

The very recognizable voice cast includes: Hans Conried; Don Messick; and, June Foray.

Have you seen the Christmas Is TV special?  Do you remember The City That Forgot About Christmas animated special from 1974?  What Christmas TV special from your youth shouldn't be forgotten?

4 comments:

  1. I have the DVD of both Benji and Waldo Christmas specials along with a live action piece called THE STABLEBOY'S CHRISTMAS. I still love the songs in both the Benji and Waldo specials, especially "Christmas Is."

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  2. I'm a huge fan of 'The Stableboy's Christmas' too. That TV special is filled with fun character actors!

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  3. I have the comic book for the Freedom Is special, and I got at one time a signed letter on Benji and Waldo stationery. You could "write to Benji" and get a response. I still have them!

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  4. i had one of those comic books as a kid.. thats cool

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