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The Raccoons Specials

The Christmas Raccoons

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  • Exec. Producer: Sheldon Wiseman
  • Producer/Creator: Kevin Gillis
  • Directors: Kevin Gillis and Paul Schibli
  • Writer: Juliet Packer
  • Music: Kevin Gillis and Jon Stroll

article written by James Fabiano

The Christmas Raccoons "The Christmas Raccoons" is the first of four Raccoons specials, and introduced the characters of Ralph, Melissa, and Bert Raccoon; Schaeffer, Dan, Julie, Tommy, and Cedric and Cyril Sneer (Many of the other main characters came in later specials -- Sophia Tutu debuted in " The Raccoons on Ice ," as the Pigs and Broo did in "The Raccoons and the Lost Star"). It was the Number One U.S. syndicated animated special in 1980, and was aired not only in Canada and the United States, but also in England via BBC and ITV.

The story takes place in a forest located "slightly a ways north" on Earth called the Evergreen Forest. It's "the day before, the day before Christmas," but Dan, the head ranger, just learned that someone is chopping down all of the forest's trees. His children, Julie and Tommy, are concerned, but their father assures them that he'll do whatever he can to get to the bottom of it. The kids, with their sheep dog Schaeffer, go to sleep and dream of winter fun.

Meanwhile, in one tree known as the Raccoondominium, the Raccoons are preparing for Christmas. By the way, although they share names, this Raccoondominium is mostly different from the one in the series. On one of the walls is a cool Travolta-esque Disco Raccoon poster. Oh, and Bert indirectly refers to himself as the houseguest to the married Ralph and Melissa (by complimenting the guest bedroom). So I guess that's the answer to all those years of my wondering how the Raccoons are related, and why they're living with each other and all :-)

Schaeffer, Julie, Tommy and the Raccoondominium Anyway, Ralph picks up the paper, and he too is outraged to learn about the disappearing trees. Bert, however, doesn't take the matter as seriously. "Maybe they're gone on Christmas vacation," he suggests. Yet outside, the tree thief is revealed: Cyril Sneer, who as usual is looking for big bucks, this time in his lumber company. His son, Cedric (who was attached to his calculator most of the time he's seen, and is a lot whinier in the specials I might add), tries to talk him out of his crazed plans to destroy the whole forest, reasoning that they already have enough trees. But as Cyril puts it, "I'm Cyril Sneer, the lumber profiteer! Whenever I'm near, trees disappear!" And unfortunately, one of those trees turns out to be the Raccoondominium.

Left without a home, the Raccoons try to find who's behind the destruction of the forest. However, Cyril dropped their tree on the way, where Tommy and Julie find it and declare it the perfect Christmas tree. Ralph sees the kids bring it into their house, and deduces that they must be stealing the trees. They make their way inside, where they find the Raccoondominium decorated with ornaments, tinsel, and lights. "Your home's gone Hollywood!" Bert tells his friends. As the Raccoons try to get their stockings back, Schaeffer, who has been napping nearby, wakes up and chases them through the forest. Eventually, though, Schaeffer finds out the truth about his family's Christmas tree, as do the Raccoons about his innocence. The animals then team up to find the real tree thief.

"The Christmas Raccoons" features music by Rupert Holmes and Rita Coolidge, who also voice Dan and Melissa respectively (In the Raccoons specials, Dan and Melissa's voices are always provided by the musical "special guests."). It was released by Embassy Home Entertainment, both alone and with "The Raccoons on Ice."