May 3, 2018
Not-So-Classic Christmas Color Classics (part 3 of 4) Come and Visit Us
The other day I had a conversation with my boyfriend, who was very shocked to learn that I never watched the traditional Christmas specials growing up. The conversation went a little like this:
Him: So you’ve never seen A Muppet Christmas Carol?
Him: Frosty the Snowman?
Me: Is that the one with Bill Murray?
Me: No, haven’t seen it.
He pities me because I don’t get references to any of those movies, but I pity him because he doesn’t know the awesomeness of these 1930s cartoons. However, unlike the other ones I will review, this cartoon was made by a Soviet film distributor instead of an American or British animation company. From the credits, I can tell that this short was made in Moscow and dubbed in English in 1979. Other than that, I couldn’t find any information on it on Google—not its original Russian title or the exact year it was produced. The only information I could track down was from a Swedish Wikipedia page that gives a one paragraph outline on the company.
I guess the KGB really had those files locked down. But we won the Cold War, so enjoy it now with a side of freedom.
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Come and Visit Us (year unknown)
What I remember it being about: Woodland creatures invite their elephant friend up for the winter. He adjusts surprisingly very well to the weather. Their fox friend makes several attempts to kill him.
What really happens:
Somewhere in Soviet Russia, a group of woodland creatures spends some time relaxing under a tree. They can’t stay for very long because leisure time is something that the bourgeoisie do and they don’t want to get sent to the gulags.
To look productive, the wolf kills a spider for harboring copies of Atlas Shrugged.
The bear shows his friends pictures of glorious Mother Russia. He also tells them about his elephant pen pal. The ladies ask to see a picture of his friend.
The girls are delighted by the nudie pics and suggest inviting the elephant up for “the New Year’s party” since they don’t celebrate Christmas.
The wolf laughs at their silly dream and asks who is going to pay for the airfare from Africa to Russia. The woodland creatures respond that they will sell their labor and save up money to pay for a ticket privately.
Sensing that his friends are abandoning communism, the wolf attempts to kill them.
He fails. The woodland creatures are now protected by knowledge and the power of capitalism.
The woodland creatures write to their elephant friend and invite him to visit. They suggest that he brings a lot of red clothing to fit in.
Fast forward to the winter time, where the woodland creatures are decorating a fir tree with decorative spheres. No, it’s not a Christmas tree. Where did you get that idea? Christmas trees are forbidden in Soviet Russia!
The wolf comes by and threatens to turn them in to the secret police.
The squirrel retorts that she has some incriminating evidence against the wolf too if he tries to turn them in. Defeated, the wolf leaves them to finish decorating their not-Christmas tree.
The elephant crash lands in the forest and realizes that he should have checked what kind of weather Russia has before packing his suitcase. The wolf is the first to discover him.
The wolf intends to kill him for infecting his other woodland friend’s with the virus of capitalism. He pretends to be friendly and leads the elephant off further in the forest.
The other woodland creatures discover their tracks and resolve to save their friend!
Posing as a customs officer, the wolf demands to inspect the elephant’s pack.
He eats some of the elephant’s food right in front of him, pretending to be checking for smuggled weapons and/or blue jeans.
The wolf is disgusted by the elephant’s food as it has the stench of capitalism. He ditches the elephant.
Abandoned, the elephant tries to copy the traditional Russian garb to fit in.
The woodland creatures eventually come across the elephant because, hey, how CAN you miss a freaking elephant in Russia? Even if he is buried in snow?
They are delighted and ask their elephant friend to teach them about free enterprise and privatized economic systems. The elephant is all, “LOL, okay, but maybe some warm clothes first?”
The woodland friends lend the elephant a warm sweater, and to say thank you, he teaches them “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”
The wolf is disgusted by their frivolity.
The woodland creatures demonstrate to the elephant exactly how cold Russia is. They take a bucket of water and empty it down a hill. It freezes instantly.
The elephant is delighted but also slightly horrified. “HOW DO YOU PEOPLE LIVE HERE?” he screams as they slide downhill.
The wolf attempt to ruin their fun by throwing snowballs at them.
The woodland creatures retaliate back and shout things like, “The state should not control the private sector!”
Frightened by their anti-communist sentiments and superior firepower, the wolf flees.
The woodland creatures laugh at him.
The elephant teaches the woodland creatures that if they accept capitalism, then they too can live and eat like the one percent. The elephant does not mention that they will most likely be the ninety nine percent.
Even the wolf is enchanted by the false promise of social mobility.
The elephant has decided that he has taught his pen pals enough about his economic system and announces that it is time for him to go home.
The woodland creatures are dismayed but understand. They know that Russia is a hellhole.
The squirrel begs the elephant to take her with and attempts to hitch a ride with him to freedom.
The elephant unceremoniously tosses her out. “There are no free rides in capitalism,” he says.
He suggests that they all come visit Africa next time.
The wolf wonders if that invitation includes him too.
Well, considering that you impersonated a customs officer to eat the elephant’s food, ditched him in the forest, and pelted him with snowballs, I’m going to say no.
This is where the cartoon ends but I decided to make a little drawing of all the animals partying it up in Africa.
(Come back tomorrow for the fourth and final part in our series of Christmas Color Classics recaps!)