Thursday, December 18, 2008

My First Monster Memory

Today's Monster Memories are of:
"The Abominable Snowman" From "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer."

If you saw this coming up over the mountains you'd crap your pants
even if you weren't five years old.

Called "The Abominable Snow Monster of the North" on the show, but nicknamed "Bumble" by the crusty prospector Yukon Cornelius, this monster memory goes wa-a-a-y back... it's about the first monster I recall seeing, vividly and clearly remembering the scare it invoked. I was only 5 when the Rankin-Bass special played for the very first time, and I had seen the promos all week, so I was anxious to watch it. I even remember the Norelco electric shaver commercial that played during the breaks, that was animated in the same style and had Santa riding an electric razor over the snowy hills. Like the intended audience would need to shave!

Bumble did a little dance of joy at having spotted a fresh hot supper below.

I had seen other monsters before that, I know; in cartoons, and comics, and tv shows, but this was the one that made the biggest impression on my young mind. Perhaps it's because it was such a threat to the characters, and I felt their fear. I mean, look at that thing!

"Hey, kids! See you in your nightmares!"

Now just look at that creature... to a five-year old, that can be pretty darn scary, and it was to me. The TEETH, the roaring, the threating to EAT helpless little Clarrise, who was the first feminine love interest on a TV show that had made me feel warm and mushy inside! "Fluffy," the voracious man-eating creature in "The Crate" segment of Creepshow, seems to echo old Bumble... I wonder if the designer was influenced by his childhood memories?

Somehow I don't think this one's going to end up decorating the Christmas tree.

I know, a Christmas special such as this one is supposed to generate warmth and special memories. But I'm sure I'm not the only kid to be freaked out over this monstrosity who wants to devour alive his cuddly victims?

The voracious nature of the beast was intimated by his lair, a gaping maw waiting to swallow you up. Yes, Merry Christmas, kids! Try not to think about the horror that lurks within with huge teeth!

Of course, it ended up happily, with the defanged monster unable to eat solid food, (in a bloodless operation by amateur dentist Hermie) and I suppose he existed on mashed fruit and soggy cereal for the rest of his domesticated life, called upon to change lightbulbs and dust the places that the elves couldn't reach in the castle of Christmastown. Although, I can't help but muse that his meat-eating nature might reassert itself later, as the elves were small enough to swallow whole.

Watch this gem again this holiday season, if you haven't already! And don't think about the gruesome gore and unspeakable horror that would have happened had Yukon Cornelius not arrived in time... *shudder*


Wings1295 said...

The Bumble was one of my first monster memories, too. I told my kids he used to freak me out when I was little, and part of it may be that, back then, we saw the special ONCE a year. So, our little brains had the other 364 days to relive it and make it worse than it actually was.

Although I still think he is creepy.

Frederick said...


Part of it may have been too, that we little kids back then were more innocent concerning such things and not as jaded as today's kids can be by that age. We had far less exposure to such as that that than they do today.

Kind of like how Karloff's Frankenstein had people fainting in the theater! I don't think anyone would faint today unless they had low blood sugar while watching it.

The Headless Werewolf said...

Oh, man, I so remember being terrified by that snow critter! However, when my own children saw the special, they were thoroughly unimpressed. Kids today . . .

Fred said...

My first Monster Memory was of Mr. Hyde from Abbott & Costello meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. However, I remember the first time I saw the Bumble on Rudolph. I was in first grade, and about a week after it was on, we took a field trip to NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center. They had a display of all of the puppets from the show (I still remember one fellow student annoying the rest of us by continuously singing the chorus to "Silver and Gold"). I don't know if this stuck with me or not, but I did end up marrying a dentist, so maybe Hermie was an influence.

shahn said...

I didn't remember the monster being so scary at such a young age. However, when I rewatched this a few years ago, I felt my blood pressure rise when the MUSIC CUE started to play- before the monster even appeared!

These memories must run deep.

I also remember the Norelco ads. At the time, they were just as fascinating as the program.

60sThru80s said...

Likewise, discounting characters from Munsters & Addams Family reruns, this was my "first monster" as well (in '68 in my case).
It's uncanny how so many people had exactly the same experiences. Given the fractious nature of cable, DVD, and internet variety, kids of this generation probably won't find the same common denominators when they are middle age. Very sad, but makes me feel very lucky that I was born when I was.

Unknown said...

I should definitely say that this definitely scared me when I was a kid, and I was a kid born in the early 90s and grew up in the 90s. Does this really mean that my little Generation X or Y is lame, or does it mean being scared of other things on television. Back in the 90s, I seemed pretty innocent, but once 2002 came around I caught on to hearing cuss words. D**n was the first real one I heard, but still, back in the 90s, I got my mouth washed out after taking God's name in vain (ex. Oh my ***). Still, things like these can scare kids, fortunately. Abominable is pretty scary, as well as booming loud womping horror type music.

Monster Dad said...

Great account that rings very familiar to me. I grew up watching Rudolph in the 1970s and was terrified by Abominable. Of course, I was also fascinated and scared of Bigfoot and The Abominable Snowman too, so that might have had something to do with it. I wrote a blog last December about my memories of the show, and introducing my daughter to it too. Here it is if you want to read it:

Frederick said...

Monster Dad,
Thanks for the comment, I enjoyed reading about your own holiday horrors when watching the show! I have added your blog to my list of links, great site!

Monster Dad said...

Thank you so much Frederick for the kind words and for adding mr to your links! I'm honored. It really was great seeing how closely our childhood experiences with Abominable matched! Thanks again.


Anonymous said...

i saw this as a child, despite being born 10 years after it was made and i remember feeling incredibly angry and saddened by the tooth removal. That annoying and stupid little elf mutilated the cool monster while he slept. That was far scarier than the monster ever could be.

Frederick said...

I am also reminded of the Morlocks in George Pal's "The Time Machine," with the blue skin and white hair.