Wednesday, December 8, 2010


One of the more intriguing roles Hoverboy played over the course of the 20th century was that of voice of the establishment. In previous articles, we’ve discussed Hoverboy’s role in the 1950’s as the public face of the HUAC for millions of children, encouraging them to rat out potential commie neighbors and family members.

But several years earlier, Hoverboy played a key role in and even more important 20th Century event than the Red Scarening of the Nation. Hoverboy destroyed Christmas! And created… Christmas!

Hoverboy Destroys Christmas!! Theatrical Poster

The Second World War was a boon for the American industrial complex, lifting it out of the Great Depression of the 1930’s which had seen mass unemployment, rampant dirtiness, and the rise of hoboing. After the war, America wallowed in excess; booze was cheap and the post-war ratio of women to men left the prostitution industry in disarray! What would American’s do with all their money? Money burning parties were a short-lived fad that never caught on, due to the high incidence of house fires and Federal prosecution for the destruction of legal tender.

Then, in 1947, a conglomerate of several of the nations most wealthy and soulless businesses came together with the idea to commercialize Christmas. In a multi-pronged media campaign that was originally conceived at the end of the war by former U.S. General George S. Patton, the companies intent was push aside the image of Jolly St. Nick that had burned bright in children’s minds for decades, and make it clear that the it was their parents who were the source of all gifts. With this cover blown, parents could be scorned and terrorized all year long by children who didn’t get what they wanted. Profits would soar!

Hoverboy Destroys Christmas!! is cited at the best animated version of Hoverboy ever, with it’s Fleischeresque fluid movement and moody detail. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that the film is lost. Only the above trailer survives this 1947 short film. Ironically, it was supposed to play programmed before Miracle on 34th Street, but it never made it to the cinemas. Hoverboy co-creator Bob Stark, who had spearheaded the film for the conglomerate of businesses behind it, tried to walk away with the money to pay off old cock-fighting debts. When MPG Studios found out, they burned the film negative, along with the two careless junior animators who had been tasked to actually set it ablaze.

Recently though, it has come to light that a 2nd version of the film was made 10 years later in 1957. This version was made exclusively for television, and though broadcast in black and white, it was supposedly made in color. Unlike the 1947 version, the animation was not lavish, and most animation historians classify it as “crappy”. Nevertheless, this version was finished and made it to air. Network records show it was only broadcast once to mediocre ratings, and no copies of the film have been see since the tapes were returned to the Stark Estate.

So, Hoverboy Destroys Christmas has the sad distinction of being not just one, but TWO lost films. Though nothing remains of the 1947 version, we can hope that one day the later version might materialize, and take it’s rightful place in overplayed holiday programming.

No comments:

Post a Comment