Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You Lose, Hallmark

Like most American families, it's become our annual tradition to watch the A Christmas Story marathon every year on TBS. 

video
My dad in particular enjoys the movie, and especially likes Darren McGavin's performance as Ralphie's Old Man. His absolute favorite part of the film is near the end when the Old Man yells, "Sons a'bitches! Bumpases!" out the door after the neighbor's hounds eat the family's turkey dinner. My dad will dutifully sit through the entire movie just to see that one scene, and will then roar and guffaw every time he sees it. It is a pretty funny scene, especially considering it occurs in a Christmas movie. Dad's reaction to it is just as funny, if not more.

So given all that, I was very excited last week when Hallmark unveiled their line of 2014 Christmas ornaments (despite the fact that it's still July). Among this year's overpriced decorative geegaws is one titled Bumpases, depicting my Dad's favorite scene! And it even has a sound chip! Could it be? Do we really live in a world in which we can now buy obscenity-shouting ornaments? Huzzah! 

I rushed out to the nearest Gold Crown store to get one for my dad so he can listen to his favorite scene over and over and over until the battery wears out.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. The ornament is sadly lacking in the sound department.

Sculpting-wise it's not awful. The faces are a bit soft, but I can definitely see Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley in there. There's a lot of nice detailing in the clothing too.

But the sound feature is shockingly subpar. First of all, when you push the button, it offers up a lame, edited version of dad's favorite line. No "Sons a'bitches, Bumpases!" here. Instead we get a half-hearted "Bumpases!" followed by thirty seconds or so of Ralphie's monologue about no turkey for Christmas. BOO!!!

OK, so I suppose one could argue that it's not exactly kosher for a Christmas ornament to spout PG-13 language. The prime demographic for these things is Uptight Soccer Moms who are constantly on the hunt for things to be outraged about, so it's not surprising that Hallmark took the safe route. So don't make an ornament of that scene then! There's plenty of other scenes in the movie they could have immortalized in plastic. Make Randy in his overstuffed snowsuit, or Ralphie in his Black Bart costume instead. 

And if that weren't bad enough, the sound chip doesn't even feature the original actors! They cheaped out and hired mediocre sound-alikes. Jesus, Hallmark, why the hell did you even bother?

Any time you don't hear the original voices in a product, that's a sure sign that the company didn't want to deal with contracts and talent royalties. 

If I understood anything about electronics, I'd buy one of these, crack it open and reprogram the chip with the actual sound byte from the movie. Alas, my talents in that area are sadly lacking.

You could have had several guaranteed sales in my family alone, Hallmark, but due to your wimping out on the dialogue and cheaping out on the sound chip, you missed out. Better luck next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
Site Meter