Last night while I sat hurridly writing out Christmas cards in the hope of getting them in the post in time to arrive before Santa strikes (or perhaps it was the night before last -- either way, I was writing cards, all of which is something of a blur now...) I flipped around on the TV looking for something I could 93% tune out as background while I worked. Now, a few weeks ago ComCast decided to "reorganize" all our cable channels. For someone who watches more TV than I do, this might not have been a lasting disruption, but in my case it'll be months before I get a sense of where my usual destination channels are now. I point this out because the result at present is that when I channel surf I really am being random. I could flip to anything.
What I did flip to was a holiday special I'd never seen before. Not a new one. Just one I'd never seen before.
The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold
From Rankin/Bass, no less. IMDB gives its date as 1981. High school. Yeah, okay, I can see how this might've slipped under my radar. And there's a strong chance it never aired again until the other night when I saw it. I mean, I know Arthur and Jules had started scraping the bottom of the idea barrel for new holiday specials years
before this (remember Rudolph's Shiny New Year
, anyone? or -- worse -- Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
...), but this combination of wildly disparate seasonal iconography is utterly jaw-dropping.
Y'see, it seems there're two kinds of Leprechauns -- the gold miners and the shoe makers. This matters for some reason, although what seems to be a setup for some sort of family rivalry never goes anywhere. What it comes down to is that the gold digging leprechauns have, among their many responsibilities, the task of making certain that banshees never get ahold of any gold. If a banshee acquires even a little of the gold, she can survive the annual banshee genocide which occurs every Christmas morning. Goldless banshees simply turn into salt water tears and wash away with the tide while kids are opening gifts. (Since this seems to be an ongoing threat, I presume more banshees are generated in some fashion each year, perhaps on Boxing Day, although this is never explained.) If a banshee survives, she can make life miserable for everyone -- wailing, calling up storms and foul weather, generally being a nuisance -- so the gold digging leprechauns bare the great burden of keeping the gold away from banshees. The shoe making leprechauns need only worry about keeping up with the lastest fashions.
But here's the kicker, folks -- a banshee cannot steal any gold for herself. That doesn't count. It must be given
to her, freely. It does count if she can trick someone into giving it to her freely while under the impression that the banshee is, say, a beautiful young shipwrecked maiden. Or if she drugs you with a "generousity potion," that counts too. But not
if she just plain takes the stuff. Rather complicated fairy tale legalities, here, if you ask me.
Anyway, poor Art Carney narrates this stop-motion astonishment. I cannot, for the life of me, discern anything like a moral to its story. Rainbows, as would be expected, figure prominently. Christmas, however, does not.