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Western Animation / The Great Santa Claus Caper

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The Great Santa Claus Caper is an animated Christmas Special written and directed by Chuck Jones, which first aired on CBS in 1978.

It concerns the adventures of Raggedy Ann (voiced by June Foray), her friend Raggedy Andy (voiced by Daws Butler), and their dog Raggedy Arthur as they try and save Christmas from one Alexander Graham Wolf (voiced by Les Tremayne), a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Insufferable Genius who intends to encase all of the world's Christmas toys in a fast-hardening clear substance he calls "gloopstik" because he believes children are irresponsible and will break their toys otherwise (at least, this is his original motive; see Motive Decay below).

Tropes used in this film:

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: In addition to Insistent Terminology with a dash of What the Hell Is That Accent?, Alexander G. Wolf has some unusual ways of saying things, in particular over-enunciating the "T" in Christmas, saying it as "Christ-mas," among other examples including his pronouncing his middle name as "Gray-ham," with very insistent inflection on the middle portion (although to be fair, this is an acceptable pronunciation for that name).
  • Acme Products: Although both gloopstik and the company that makes it, the Gloopstik Corporation, are the creations of Alexander G. Wolf, a close inspection of his business card reveals that Gloopstik Corporation is in fact owned by Acme.
  • Affably Evil: Alexander G. Wolf is prim, polite and gentle, never raising his voice or striking the heroes. Whether he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist suffering from Motive Decay or simply a greedy jerk, it's obvious he bears no one any ill will even as he takes over Santa's factory and plots to encase our rag doll heroes in what amount to lucite blocks, ruining Christmas. Think of him as a politer Grinch.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Santa's workshop is basically commandeered by the villain, although in Santa's defense, Alexander does it while he and most of his reindeer are asleep.
  • And I Must Scream: Both Raggedy Arthur and Alexander G. Wolf end up encased in gloopstik at the end, incapable of moving. Alexander, in particular, weeps openly about his fate. Fortunately, they're saved by The Power of Love.
  • And Introducing: Raggedy Arthur.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Who Comet reveals Alexander is, although it doesn't really have any bearing on the plot.
  • Badass Lab Coat: Alexander G. Wolf rocks one, which, along his black gloves, jodhpurs and tall black boots, cull a pretty cool Mad Scientist image.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • After figuring out that The Power of Love can shatter gloopstik by using theirs to save Arthur, Raggedy Ann and Andy call upon all the children in the audience to use their love to do the same thing for all the toys the machine had covered in gloopstik. This works wonderfully, and then they again call upon the children's participation to Save the Villain.
    • Other characters, such as Alexander himself as well as Comet, speak directly to the audience on several occasions.
  • Disney Death: Sort of. Raggedy Andy is dropped into the gloopstik machine, but later is revealed to have saved himself by grabbing the edge of the chute leading into it. Although Andy wasn't intended by anyone (least of all the villain) to actually die, nor would he even if he had gone through and gotten encased in gloopstik, the special basically reacts as though he has died when he does. Raggedy Ann's reaction is particularly heart-wrenching.
  • Easily Forgiven: Alexander. Considering the way he cries at the end, though, it's understandable why Raggedy Ann and Andy forgive him as easily as they do.
  • Gender Flip: Comet. Maybe. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas doesn't assign genders to any of Santa's reindeer, but Comet is consistently portrayed as male (such as in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Here, however, she's female (voiced by June Foray who also voices Raggedy Ann).
  • Good Feels Good: If the special has any sort of applicable moral, it's this, as upon being rescued and renouncing his evil ways, Alexander decides that he might like being good more than he did being bad.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Alexander ends up being put through the gloopstik machine by Raggedy Andy.
  • Motive Decay: When first introduced, Alexander G. Wolf insists he is intent on helping Santa Claus modernize his workshop using his gloopstik machine. Then when the good guys show up, he tries to pitch to them that he's encasing Christmas toys in gloopstik to protect them from their recipients, as he believes children are irresponsible and will break them. However, considering he immediately follows this up by gleefully revealing that he owns the patent on gloopstik and intends to sell the "improved" toys to the kids, it's conceivable that his high talk about modernizing the workshop and preventing the toys from breaking is just a flimsy justification for his real scheme, which is to become wealthy.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When our heroes arrive at the North Pole, they discover that Santa's workshop now bears an enormous sign that, from a distance, seems to read just "Alexander G. Wolf Gloopstik Factory." Upon closer inspection, they notice some teeny fine print, and see that the factory is actually the Alexander G. Wolf and S. Claus Gloopstik Factory, with "S. Claus" being so small as to be unnoticeable until you actually get close enough to the building.
  • The Power of Love: Alexander insists gloopstik is unbreakable, but it turns out this can cause it to shatter.
  • Reused Character Design: Alexander G. Wolf's appearance bears a strong resemblance to that of Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes characters Wile E. Coyote and Ralph Wolf.
  • Santa Claus: Appears briefly.
  • Save the Villain: A particularly noteworthy example, wherein Raggedy Ann, Andy and the audience have to use their love to free the trapped Alexander G. Wolf from the gloopstik.
  • Saving Christmas: The entire plot.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Santa and all of his reindeer except for Comet sleep through the entire thing.
  • Villain Protagonist: You may have noticed there's a lot here about Alexander G. Wolf and not much about the ostensible stars of the show. This is because Alexander seems to get the lion's (wolf's?) share of the special's screentime, and in many ways The Great Santa Claus Caper is actually his story, chronicling his journey from a greedy villain to managing to redeem himself after being given a second chance.
  • Wicked Cultured: His unusual inflections aside, there's no doubt that Alexander is one classy, refined wolf.

Alternative Title(s): Raggedy Ann And Andy In The Great Santa Claus Caper