When it comes to Christmas and television, Diane Werts literally wrote the book. (“Christmas on Television”; order your copy here.) Not only does the TV Worth Watching editor know all about the various holiday specials and TV movies made over the years, but today on Facebook (shouldn’t it have been on Twitter?) she posted the above clip from this CBS interstitial, which ran in 1966. The spot is animated by R.O. Blechman, whose starkly simple cartoons and illustrations have been featured in everything from the New Yorker to Alka-Selzer campaigns.
It’s such a beautifully nuanced spot, and the fact that it aired the same year Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas was brand new drives home the contrast between holiday specials then and holiday specials now. Networks don’t commission illustrators or even saw players to speak to Christmas anymore, they just turn to marketing divisions of the parent companies that own the networks for some sort of Madagascar or Kung Fu Panda knock off. Bring back the birds, I say, and Merry Christmas.

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