Turn Back the Clock


The Tiny Tree

Produced By:  DePatie-Freleng Enterprises

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            The other day, I was thinking about all of the different animated holiday specials I watched as a kid.  Everyone remembers Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Year Without A Santa Claus, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, but can anyone remember an animated special called The Tiny Tree?

            Airing in 1975, this special featured Buddy Ebsen as Squire Badger, narrator of this Christmas tale that doesn't talk of Santa Claus, the three wise men or even about reindeer.  This story features a tiny tree and the little girl who loves him.  The love story begins when a little girl (Janet Waldo) and her family move into an old farmhouse near the meadow.  It's the talk of all the animals that live there.  The little girl has been in a recent accident and can only travel around in a wheelchair.  Yet, she somehow finds a way to have fun with the neighboring animals and falls in love with a Whispering Pine called Tiny Tree. 

            Then, a week before Christmas, a terrible blizzard takes place.  All of the girl's presents, including a large Christmas tree with a star on top, are miles away in the town.  The father tries, but he can't make it to town to bring back the gifts in time.  It seems that the little girl won't even have a Christmas tree this year when Tiny Tree gets an idea.  Remembering that a couple of woodsmen had remarked on how small he was and that he wouldn't really be good for anything but a Christmas tree, Tiny Tree relates his idea to his animal pals. 

            Having never wanted to leave the meadow before, Tiny Tree is willing to sacrifice his home just to be a bright, shining spot on this little girl's Christmas.  The animals decorate the tree as best they can and then, a miracle happens.  The morning star lends its light to the top of the tree, becoming its star.  It also offers up some magic for the little girl as she discovers she is able to walk to the window and see the gift Tiny Tree and the other animals have offered her.

            I have never seen this special aired again on television, nor have I ever found it on DVD.  With a musical theme, To Love and Be Loved, by Roberta Flack and well-known actors supplying the voices like Buddy Epsen, Paul Winchell, Frank Welker, Allan Melvin and more, and a heart-warming story, you would think that The Tiny Tree would have received a bit more attention.  Unfortunately, it has fallen into obscurity, only viewable at youtube.com. 

            If you have young kids, go to youtube and pull up The Tiny Tree for them.  They'll truly enjoy watching this animated classic and you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside watching it along side them.  The Tiny Tree is a Christmas classic that shouldn't be forgotten.

For more animated Christmas specials, check out these articles:

Disney's Prep & Landing

Disney's A Christmas Carol

Merry Madagascar / Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special

Shrek the Halls

Yes, Virginia

Christmas Recommendations

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