TED E'S THANKSGIVING (syndication, 19??)

Why was it such a misfit?
It didn't take long at all for a reader to find Ted E's Thanksgiving and complete the trilogy for me. It turns out, this year Comcast is offering
The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas on-demand, and tacking Ted E's Thanksgiving onto the end as a bonus. I don't have cable, and based on the "stories" I wouldn't choose Comcast if I did, but fortunately, the reader uploaded the specials to YouTube.

There is barely any information at all about THIS one, so I can't tell you where it falls in the chronology. The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas definitely came first, but Ted E's Thanksgiving could have been released at the same time as Bear Scare, or before, or after. This I do know: it's by DimenMark, the same people who created Bear Scare, and it shares more in common with the worse of the previous two. I still think Bear Scare is the worst Ted E special because it aired on the wrong month, and it tried to pass its non-motion off as a cartoon. But in some ways Ted E's Thanksgiving is worse. At least we never saw anything like this in Bear Scare:


The special fades in on a woman in a Patty Bear costume, once again reporting for Bearwitness News. There is no puppetry, no lip-moving, no eye blinking....it is just a frozen-faced Patty Bear who can talk without moving her lips. Things have devolved to a cable access level of quality now, and you haven't seen the half of it.

"Today's big story is not about the parade, although it was beautiful. And it's not about the excitement of the football game, although it was exciting. Tonight's big story is about how one little bear taught us all one big lesson." When we finally see Ted E. Bear, we find him not moving at all--not even dissolving from one pose to another. DimenMark just found animation too hard last time and pulled a LeVar Burton on this production, electing to use still shots of the illustrations from the book the special is based on. And just like Reading Rainbow, only one voice tells the entire story -- Patty's. You'll find no Smothers Brother name recognition here.

The story's this: Ted E. wants to make a float for this year's Bearbank Thanksgiving Parade, but C. Edward Bear (the boss of the honey company in the original special) shoots his plans down, insisting he can't authorize any float that isn't sponsored and built by a major corporation. Ted is appalled: this town has forgotten the meaning of Thanksgiving! It's about giving thanks, not showing off how rich you are! If this was a subtle commentary on the business-driven modern Macy's Parade, it's even more true today.

Ted E. makes his float anyway, and bases it on the actual Thanksgiving, or the bear-world alternative, which looks the same (a flashback drawing is shown of bear Pilgrims dancing with bear Indians). C. still won't allow it. The parade goes on as scheduled, stuffed with entries from Bear Bank, Bear Air, Bear Stearns, etc.

Ted E. and one friend in a baseball cap sadly watch the parade pass by from atop a hill, and start lugging their float home--but it slips, rolls down the hill and winds up in the parade anyway. Everyone sees the float's message and is instantly reformed, learning to give thanks instead of chase materialism. Did you notice Patty in the float on the right drawing? Patty never mentions she was in this story. I guess if she's narrating she can't be in two places at once. Actually, since all this was "in the past," she CAN be. I don't get it; why'd they cut out Patty?

At the end of the day the awards are handed out for the best floats. Guess who wins grand prize? Bear Stearns. Not really.

Wellp, that was a quick story and there are 16 minutes left; how's Patty going to fill them? By telling another story, this one being a little more familiar. It's about how Ted E. Bear saved Santa Claus from......DRACULA!

Yes, the same Dracula from Bear Scare. Stay tuned as....Christmas Comes to Monster Mountain! "It's a story that's true. It could be one of the most major news events of all time!" swears Patty. THIS IS BIGGER THAN 9/11!!

I have to say Monster Mountain looked better in the books. In Bear Scare it was just a mouth, but here it's an entire face. Dracula and Assistant Witch are back, and they would rule the world, if not for teddy bears. Here I thought Dracula was a dictator, but this story reveals he was actually put into power via the people, and this year he's up for re-election. In the world of monsters, your respectability and electability are judged by how bad you are. What can Dracula do for his political career that is so nasty, so vile, it makes Dick Cheney look like Putt-Putt the Jolly CD-ROM Car? "I know!" Patty Bear says reading Dracula's dialogue. "I'LL KIDNAP SANTA CLAUS!" "Da-dingggg!" goes a musical sting.

"It's a good plan, but how will you do it?" inquires Assistant Witch. "Anti-reindeer missiles? Surface-to-sleigh weapons?"
Nay, Dracula's plan is much more....lazy than that. He's going to write Santa a letter bragging about how good he is and what he wants for Christmas, and then when Santa comes down his chimney, he'll spring a trap on him. That's all. I really have my doubts Santa would give Count Dracula any presents no matter how good his penmanship is. Santa knows and sees all, but he doesn't even need that power to judge this guy. This is DRACULA. Come on, everyone knows he hasn't been a scout.

The camera goes back on Patty. "Bearwitness News reporters at the North Pole got the chance to interview Santa. They confirmed he received Dracula's letter, and that he thought it was from a little boy who wanted a spider." A little boy named DRACULA?? How can Santa be this dumb? "I thought it was unusual," says Santa, "but we get a lot of unusual requests." Did the Bearwitness News Reporters at least warn him who it was really from? No, not really. That's some good work, guys. Coal for you.

Santa loads his sleigh with toys and his list of Nice People (Tom Petty has been a very good boy this year) and flies off. He makes Monster Mountain one of his first stops, and steps right into the trap. The bad guys win with no resistance, the end. Unless a teddy bear shows up; then they'll be screwed.

Just when I thought they'd tossed the hibernation detail from Special #1 aside, Patty mentions that bears are usually asleep during Christmas. Ted E. already found Christmas in 1973 and has no more reason to deprive himself of sleep, so what's his excuse this time? According to Patty, "he was up to watch the Late Show." He's a big Dave fan, I guess.

Ted then looks out the window and notices.....there are eight reindeer out there; how weird. Then he finds an abandoned sleigh and a sack of toys; how curiouser still. "All the other bears are fast asleep," thinks Ted, "so it's up to me."

With some difficulty, Ted manages to ride the sleigh back to Monster Mountain, where he sees Santa being held captive at Madison Scare Garden, and Dracula in the middle of a really long political speech. "I can't go down there....what can one bear do against all those monsters?" They're "nothing," remember? I guess he doesn't remember. He takes the coward's way out and flees.

"Wait a minute," thinks Ted. "Dracula's after Santa, but not after me. So I can deliver the presents instead!" It's a job so easy, a Geico Brand Caveman could do it. He travels everywhere, from Bearbank to Unidentified City, to Tom Petty's house. And when he's finished, he goes back to Monster Mountain and leaves toys for the monsters, not because they were on the good list but because there were some extras left over. Then he returns to Scare Garden and walks right into the monsters' view without being intimidated like he was 2 story minutes ago, because who cares about consistency.

The monsters are about to "get" him when they realize they just got a bunch of free stuff. Even Assistant Witch got a new broom, and she now LOVES Santa. This is all going to make the man who threw him in a birdcage look bad. "This is a political disaster!" moans Dracula. "It could turn into Santagate!" (ha, ha.)

Then Ted tells him "you know, if you let Santa out, they'll love you again." What, just like that? Apparently so. Dracula lets him out (the exact same picture is shown from when Dracula first captured him, only this time with a sound effect of a cage door opening). His career is instantly salvaged and it's like nothing ever happened.

As Santa is about to leave, he takes Ted aside. "You delivered all the presents, but you forgot one single person....you! You left nothing for yourself!" "Aw, that's all right," shucks Ted.

"Ohhhhh no! I won't let that stand!" says Santa, and he gives him a map to the North Pole and a sleigh bell snapped off of Blitzen's harness. That's kind of like getting a pencil for Trick-or-Treat because you arrived too late at someone's door. But it satisfies Ted. "If I ever need you again, I'll let you know!"

Santa flies off, and Ted remarks (this quote is verbatim)......"I wish I could fly a sleigh like that." Does everybody here have the memory of a goldfish? YOU JUST DID, YOU STUPID BEAR!

Why didn't it fit in?
It's a pity Ted E's career took such a nosedive. The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas has its charm, and compared to everything else with his name on it it's pure Shakespeare.

As this costly and visually stunning special wraps up, Patty mentions Ted E. Bear went on a few more adventures, and plugs the book based on Bear Scare....and one more where Ted negotiates with the Easter Bunnies (plural) to keep them from going on strike. Luckily, THAT story was never DimenMark'd. ..........Or WAS it?

If it exists, based on the descending level of quality I expect that one to be re-enacted with paper bag puppets and stock footage of farm animals.