Gifts from the Air (1937)

Gifts from the Air (1937)
Article 5841 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-4-2020
Directed by Ben Harrison
Featuring the Radio Rogues
Country: USA
What it is: Christmas whimsy

A poor boy retrieves a discarded broken toy from a toy shop, takes it home, and decides to have a real Christmas. Towards that end, the broken toy calls Santa over the radio…

Between the sentient toys and a visit from Santa Claus, this Christmas cartoon short has enough fantastic content to qualify for a review. And, despite a lowly 5.2 rating on IMDB at the time I wrote this, I must say that I rather liked this one. That may be because of what the short DOESN’T do rather than what it does; the opening scenes of a penniless young boy looking into a toy shop window on Christmas Eve had me thinking we were going into “The Little Match Girl” territory, but fortunately, the cartoon does not go that route, and aims for whimsy instead. I do like the way the boy makes do with what he has to create a Christmas atmosphere in his hovel. I’m less taken with the ending, where a bunch of the toys he receives from Santa are featured, and the short goes into celebrity caricature mode. The trouble is, most of these celebrities are rather obscure nowadays (the only one I knew right off the bat was Ed Wynn), nor does the cartoon do anything really creative with them. Ultimately, the cartoon is a piece of fluff, but I was in the right mood for it.

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