Cricket On The Hearth Part 1 – Phelous

“The Cricket on the Hearth”: One of Charles Dickens’ Classics That a lot of you probably haven’t heard of since this 1967 cartoon is the last time it got any love (song from Cricket on the Hearth) Now I’m not sure But I do believe Charles Dickens had a bit of a thing for Christmas, writing five other stories involving the holiday One of the other ones being called “The Haunted Man” Surprise! That one also involves ghosts. Of course none of Charles Dickens other stories have come even close to being adapted as much as A Christmas Carol The Chimes has a whopping three films Two of which were made in 1914 The Cricket on the Hearth has a total of eight adaptations And a Christmas Carol ha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a (explosion) Over a hundred adaptations (cartoony effect) Poor cricket on the hearth. Let’s see why no one likes you anymore. (small bit of music) Focus issues in the first three seconds? On a cartoon?! Zero out of Ten! Merry Cricketmas! The end! (definitely not stretched out fake credits gag) I couldn’t even afford to pay MYSELF to edit in the REAL credit roll? Let’s face it, my budget is ruined REVIEW THE MOVIE DAMMIT!!! We start off with a cricket Eying what is obviously a cricket’s favorite spot, and then… ACH! Live action!? Get away! This lovely old chap is Danny Thomas, our voice for the old bastard Aka Caleb Plummer, who also bookends our movie Quite likely because this was taken from the Danny Thomas Hour airing which is why this one cartoon appears twice on IMDb Danny Thomas: Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol is one of the most famous pieces in literature But very few people know that Dickens wrote another beautiful rendering of Christmas called Cricket on the Hearth Matter of fact I just found out about it myself (awkward cut) You never heard of the lucky cricket on the hearth? Hey! Stop stealing my opening Danny Thomas (another cut) Well That was an awkward cut I guess I can’t REALLY call him out on this seeing as how 1967 is a LITTLE bit before this review Which means Danny Thomas owns telling people about that. SHIT! Thomas (singing): One Christmas morning Phelous: NOOOOOOOOO! For the love of fuck! Please, just play the cartoon! Song: ♪Cricket on the hearth, take that horseshoe off your door♪ ♪With a cricket on the hearth, you can leave that lucky penny sitting on the floor♪ ♪CRICKET ON THE HEARTH♪ Phelous (barely singing): Why the hell would anyone sing thaaaaaaaaaaaat!? Perhaps because it was- SUGGESTED by the Charles Dickens story of Christmas? His story of Christmas SUGGESTED this??? Wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhh? (movie song weirdly cuts in) Strange credits aside We see a REGULAR one letting us know that Roddy McDowall would be playing our Cricket of Steel! (opens window as if it was nothing) I, uh, didn’t know crickets could do that. I’ll just be boarding up my windows now! Be right back Cricket Crocket: Brrrrr! What right cold! Oh it’s a chilly one! Oh! ‘Scuse me, be with you in a blink (Closes window) Phelous (Crocket): I just need to shut out that damned Christmas shizz those asswipes be singing out there Nothing allowed in here, but me and my money Sure is great being a cricket miser! (woosh) Phelous (Jiminy Cricket): I’m the conscience of Cricketmas past Oooh (bang, splat) (Oh!) Phelous (Crocket): No, don’t think we’ll be doing that ♪CRICKET ON THE HEARTH♪ Yes, clearly done in Dickens’ more cynical days Hmm Crocket: Well, Merry Christmas to you Phelous: Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrr Crocket: Oh, and it’s a lucky household what has a cricket on their hearth And indeed I am good luck For if it hadn’t been for Cricket Crocket here, why there wouldn’t be no blinking family! (Phelous kinda singing along) Crocket: I’ll tell you how it all began I was looking for a proper family to adopt Phelous (Crocket): But due to that wee bit of jail time I had in the thirties due to my gambling addiction. I was having a bit of a hard go at it, I was Phelous: Now as we all know nothing attracts crickets more than toy shops So here’s the lucky arse that gets to support the freeloader on the hearth. Caleb: I mean you no harm Why I’ve heard that you crickets bring good luck with you. How about staying with us for a while? Phlous (cop from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde): Oi! He’s talking to a bloody cricket, he is! Phelous (other cop from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde): We’ll have to lock him up for everyone’s safety (bars slamming) Phelous (Bertha): Daddy! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Phelous (Crocket, sounding kinda Scottish for some reason): Yeah, some fuckin’ bloody lucky I am, you ass! Caleb: Come on now. Just go inside make yourself at home Uh, if you’ve a mind to Crocket: Oh, oh, um Caleb: It’s not a very exciting place. Just me and my daughter And of course the toys Phelous: Do you seriously need to SELL yourself to this insect? Damn your a pathetic old sack, aren’t ya? Crocket: Crocket’s the name. Cricket Crocket Caleb: I’m Caleb Plummer We’ll work out the arrangements later Arrangements? You mean like charging the cricket rent? I didn’t know we could do that Yo black fly! 50 bucks or you’re out! Even if we lived in a world where insects talked or he was a human this would be a bizarre exchange Phelous (Caleb): Hey, stranger would you want to- PLEASE LIVE WITH ME! I MAKE TOYS! Crocket: Perfect (woman crying) Here now, what’s this? Phelous (Crocket): Whatever it is, it’s certainly music to my ears. Smile, smile. Bertha: Oh, Edward I shouldn’t… Edward: No. No, Bertha you go right ahead and cry Phelous (Bertha): Why does father have to invite everything he meets on the street to live with us? (door opens, then closes) Phelous (Old Man): Hello! I just met your father outside Looks like I’m going to be living with you for a while! (Bertha cries again) OOH! Looks like I was expected HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Bertha: Why must you go away? Edward: I must serve out my enlistment I must go to see tomorrow Bertha: For two years?! It’s just not fair Phelous (Bertha): You can’t leave me with this back condition! My spine’s a pretzel! Phelous: So Edward being forced to leave his fiancée Bertha, Caleb’s daughter Is the scene he had just walked out of here. Yeah, no wonder he was in such a good mood Edward: My darling you will be here when I return Promise? Bertha: Oh, Edward Phelous (Bertha): I’ve already forgotten you Phelous (Edward): OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH Edward: ♪Don’t give your love away♪ ♪Wait for me, I will come back to you♪ ♪And- Phelous (Bertha): I love waving to nothing! Edward: ♪-will have a thousand days of May♪ Phelous (Bertha): Oh, hello butterfly! Do you want to move in with us and be my new fiancé? Phelous (Edward): Son of a bitch! Did the song mean nothing? Edward: ♪I’ve kissed your smiles away♪ I’ve kissed your SMILES away Um, Edward (whispers): I don’t think that’s a good thing Edward: ♪When I remember today♪ Phelous (cop from earlier): OI! Defacing Royal Naval property!?! You shall walk the plank, sir! Phelous (Edward): ♪I fucked my life away♪ (splash, Edward drowning) Phelous (random fish): Hello, sir. You want to move in with me and the missus? (crunch) It’s a living! Crocket: Well the time passed right quick Phelous: Wait! What the garbage is that shit?! It looks like shit, literally! Did someone shit on Caleb’s head? Phelous (Bertha): Oh, Father I told you to get the gray toupee Phelous (Caleb): Nonsense, my dear My hair has as much colour as the day I met Cricket Crocket here Phelous (Bertha): Your hair was still gray then! Phelous (Caleb): Bollocks! Crocket: Oh, and busy we was Christmas was getting nearer and nearer You know, I only really trust toys that are made by crickets I hear that’s a good idea Caleb: Two tacks, Cricket Crocket: Two tacks, on their way (splat) (wah wah) (prolonged sound of pain) Phelous (Crocket): Well, it’s probably about that time I was moving on to another family (nervous laugh) Bertha: More red paint Crocket, if you please Phelous (Crocket): Oh yeah, yeah. Paint, sure (dramatic sting) Bertha: The perfect colour for a smile I suppose I’m being extravagant with the paint Phelous: Yes, will the wonders ever cease? (sad music from A Charlie Brown Christmas) Bertha: ♪If a tear falls when you’re smiling, and you’re still gay inside♪ Ohh faced Now here’s the part that was pretty much a must for any 60s film The tripout scene for the parents Maybe the kids too, I don’t know Bertha: ♪Let it ride right down to your face♪ Phelous: No, Max Rebo! you stay away from that pink elephant! I know what will come of this! Bertha: ♪Smiles go with tears. Smiles go… (horror music) Bertha: Now for the eyes. Brown or black or sky-blue fade? Phelous (Bertha): OR DEMON EYES!?!?! (laughs) (door opens) Bertha: Oh! Caleb: What, ur, what can I do for you? Agent: You are a certain Caleb Plummer? Phelous (Caleb): Look, I leave my door open at all times so people can just pop in and live with us, but you sir… I think you’ve molded already Get out! Dex: Riggamoldus has set in Agent: I am a certain agent of her Majesty the Queen Oh, that’s why he’s green Agent: It is my melancholy duty to inform you that a certain Edward Belton, late of her Majesty’s Royal Navy Is lost at sea Who cares, man? Worry about yourself! You clearly died a month ago (Bertha screams) Phelous: Cricket Crocket gives no fucks He’ll stand there smiling while your life falls apart Crocket: The shock of that awful message, delivered the way it was Turned poor Bertha… blind And that’s why it’s good luck to have a cricket on the hearth. Oh, and she never got to paint the eyes Get it!?! Bollocks! This movie is bad news its made me go blind! Yes, there’s such thing as hysterical blindness, but… it doesn’t work that way Anyway, this made Caleb lose all joy in his work, but he went into overdrive on it So he could find the best doctors for his daughter Nah, just kidding he stopped work completely But did pay men to come in and shake their heads in unison until he ran out Crocket: Caleb went out and borrowed more and more money, Never having any idea how he was gonna pay it back (money lender laughs evilly) (more evil laughter) Phelous (Caleb): The service at the moneylender is fine But it’s the evil laughing that keeps me coming back Crocket: Now one sad day they could no longer pay the rent and they were deep in debt Old Caleb had no choice but to pack up and leave So we lost the hearth… Lucky Crocket: Oh, they was hard times, I can tell you Long, hungry days looking for a bit of work, anything Phelous (Crocket):And I sure as hell wasn’t going to chip in. You kidding me? That money was for my retirement Phelous: Well, Cricket Crocket finally does try to be at least a little useful And points out a toy factory Caleb could work at The key word is “work” You know that thing he could have done before this and he would have had enough money to keep his own shop running Caleb: But I’m a very good worker sir, and I have my own tools and, and… I’m… Very good, sir. Tackleton: He’s very good, Uriah. Haha (Uriah laughs) (shit noises) (wahwah) Tackleton: I’ve heard of your skills (Uriah caws) Well, you won’t be paid anything, but you can live on the premises, and there’ll be leftover food for you So crickets are good luck, huh well… more like… they’re… bad luck… Yeah, I said it! But seriously it really has been all downhill since they brought that damn cricket in Caleb: W-where are the other toy makers? Tackleton: Haha! Did you hear that Uriah? He wants to know where the other toy makers are? (Uriah caws and laughs) There are no other toy makers (evil laughter from Tackleton and Uriah) So you were in business before this how? So Tackleton laughs evilly ’cause this means all the work goes on Caleb But that kind of changes the situation Because now you need him! DESPERATELY!!! Of course Caleb never thinks of that Must be all the shit going to his brain Caleb: ♪Always gay♪ Oh stop being so homophobic, Caleb Wait Caleb shockingly decides not to work for Bird Brains and instead takes up magic But screws it up when instead of taking the rabbit out of his hat, he just makes it disappear! Yeah! Continuity error! Take that you stupid 1967 cartoon! You suck! Caleb: ♪Teach you how to fee-♪ (crunch, Bertha screams) Caleb: ♪A new world♪ Phelous: Ewwww, EWWW, ew ew… NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Thats disgusting movie! Too far! I’m gonna have to go into serious time on this one. Now, of c- (sudden cut back to Caleb singing) Caleb (to nobody): What’s your name? Becky? You’re a very quiet girl Becky And you are Jarvis are you not? (in deeper voice): Yes, milord (normal): Well, that’ll be all Jarvis. You can have the night off (“Jarvis”): Thank you, milord Phelous (Crocket): And I said “She’s blind, not stupid!” And she wasn’t even in the room. We lived in two worlds. What was real for us and what was real for Blind Bertha. Phelous (Crocket): Yes, that’s what I called her Blind Bertha She didn’t much care for that of course, but I said it until the name stuck because I’m an arsehole Crocket: Evening matey. Uriah: We got no place for bugs around here! Crocket: Allo, allo! Who are you calling a bug? I am an insect, I am! Definition of bug: A small insect! Idiot (dramatic music, Uriah caws) Holy crap. I can’t believe this crow/raven whatever is going after him It’s natural prey (dramatic music continues) What the… how big is this bird?! Or is that just a very small table? Guess old Fashion Statement Tackleton will be wearing THAT on his head next Tackleton: Uriah! (Uriah caws) What are you doing out here? Naughty naughty Birdy. Well come to Beddy-bye now Why doesn’t the bird just tell him? Or does it only make sense for humans to talk to insects? Tackleton: Nighty-night little friend (Uriah snores) Crocket: Well, it was obvious one of us had to go (gunshot) Like something like that would really happen Hahahahaha (heavy sigh) Well join me next time to find out if an insect can really save Christmas It’s done a good job so far, right? (crickets chirping) Oh, dear fuck no!!! (explosion)

100 thoughts on “Cricket On The Hearth Part 1 – Phelous

  1. Plot twist the guy with green skin actually had cricket Crockett living with him before and that's what you look like after crickets drain your luck

  2. How the hell does hearing the shock of your lover lost in sea turn someone blind?!
    As much I find this special alright but that still bugs the hell out of me.

  3. Are we not even going to address the fact that while Bertha and Edward are lovers in this movie, they're brother and sister in the original book? Not cool, Rankin/Bass. XP

  4. My Christmas tradition for the past 3 years. I think this might be my fav of your vids man (both parts of this special I mean).

  5. I love how Cricket Crockett just becomes this super villain that just shoots people when he wants and makes fun of blind Bertha. It’s fantastic

  6. So…

    Since the cricket showed up Birtha's fiancé died at sea, she went blind from grief, Caleb stopped working to care for her, he went into debt from paying doctors to fruitlessly examine her condition, they got evicted from their home and Caleb was forced to take a non-profit job for an asshole who gave him excessive work loads and makes them sleep at the workshop and live off of table scraps.


  7. Nearly 2 years later, and the tack gag still makes me laugh WAY too hard. Everything about that sequence is messed up. The animation, while very fluid, is still done very poorly and Cricket Crockett moves wholly unnaturally—even by cartoon standards, and the way he launches the tacks using the spoon makes no sense. The tacks would have to be on the handle of the spoon and he'd have to jump on the tip of the bowl end of the spoon to cause them to fly across the room. It's just such an odd choice to have him launch the tacks anyway rather than tossing, kicking or hopping them over. The only saving grace for that whole bizarre scene is the gag, which makes an already ridiculous sequence comedy gold!

  8. This never should have been included with our Christmas Classics DVD Set. My daughter was traumatized by this Christmas Classic. I don't know why it was ever made. Seriously terrible. So sorry you had to deal with this crap.

  9. Are you sure she was struck blind before the news of her dead fiance? Even before that happens, she never looks like she's looking at anyone. She always has this blank stare.

  10. 10:46 I see this quite a bit in kids cartoons when a talking animal/insect friend is helping humans with important work using these really complicated tiring methods, and I question the efficiency of it all. I mean, instead of sitting around doing nothing until asked, then jumping into a little circus act, Cricket could be simply refilling a bowl with tacks or mixing paints at his own constant pace. That way Caleb and Bertha could keep a work flow going and Cricket could not waste so much excess energy. But then, Caleb could not be an ass and keep the important parts like the wheels of a toy wagon next to him.

  11. Did the chick who now lives with old man (HEEEEEEE) say sky blue pink? My grandmother says that I thought she made that up. She's a shill nooooooooooo

  12. Where was this made? Canada? The UK for all commonwealth nations? The accents seem to be from everywhere. Cockney cricket? Is the toy smith Irish? Bertha's accent is from where?

  13. sees one of the names he knows in the credits after several times watching this HANS CONRIED?! HOW'D THEY GET HONS FREAKING CONRIED ON THIS?! YOU WERE CAPTAIN HOOK, HONS, HAVE SOME SELF-RESPECT!

  14. "The service at the Money Lender is fine, but it's the evil laughing that keeps me coming back." X'D

  15. There was a Charles Dickens story about a cricket? I'll be honest, I definitely never heard of it until now. I remember the talking cricket (aka Jiminy) from Pinocchio) and the cricket from Times Square, but this is the first time I've heard of the one on the Hearth.

  16. The way I see it, now I've been able to rewatch Disney's Pinocchio, is that the makers of this wanted to get some of that pie (hence why the focus shifted to the toymakers when their profession was more incidental to the story, and why the cricket is now a full-fledged character). Would that make this one of the first Disney rip-offs?

    Also, reading up, apparently for a time Cricket on the Hearth was more popular than Christmas Carol. I'm guessing as time went on, people went from liking the sentimentality of Cricket and not being as warm to the Dickensian criticism of Victorian society, to going against the implications the story makes about Bertha (amongst other issues) in Cricket and valuing the message of Christmas Carol far more. Hence why Cricket is now barely remembered.

  17. I take back everything I might've said or thought over the years about the designs in the Rankin-Bass Hobbit adaptation, at least they put some effort into that. These characters look like even blander than their usual puppet fair and are barely a tenth as expressive!

  18. Both my sister (when we were MUCH younger) & I (just this past December) were both in A Christmas Carol…

    BTW any thoughts on reviewing "Samson & Sally" &/or "Serendipity the Pink Dinosaur"?

  19. I died at 10:53!!!!

    I was just recently in A Christmas Carol… Not only that, but so was my older sister, but that was when we were WAAAY younger!

    BTW any thoughts on reviewing "Serendipity the Pink Dinosaur" &/or "Samson & Sally"?

  20. 17:02
    The Animals AND The Characters are casting shadows on the… Background?
    It's a paiting in-universe? ?

  21. "When you're still gay inside."
    Now, remember kids, back in the 60s, gay still meant happy, and didn't refer to the act of being sexually attracted to the same sex.

  22. My mom actually got this one about five years ago on dvd, it came in a collection of classic Christmas movies. Ones like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer & Santa Clause is Comin' to Town.

  23. Finally got around to seeing some Danny Thomas shows. It's not a bad show, it turns out. But I have no idea why this animated thing was in one of the Christmas episodes.

  24. I watch this every December while ironing Christmas curtains 😀 It's just a weird tradition I got because it was one of the first things I did after moving into this house a few years ago. And every year I get the goddamn sexy cat song stuck in my head for days.

  25. 1. 5:39: Why is he winking so much? And so slowly?

    2. Danny Thomas is rockin' that velvet jacket.

    3. Damn, Edward could crush coal into diamonds with that jaw… but instead, he's too busy kissing smiles away (seriously, WTF?!).

    4. 10:52: Should I even bother pointing out how they got the principle of the whole "spoon as a catapult" thing wrong? You know what? Not worth it.

    5. 12:16: Holy crap, is the Ice Cream Bunny approaching?!

    6. 12:41: "I seek shelter from the bitter cold… oops, wrong movie, never mind."

  26. Maybe it was a Dickens family tradition to tell stories at Christmas and Charles was the only one who published his stories? Everyone has a Christmas tradition! Every Christmas everyone on my dad's side of the family comes over and we throw a big party! It used to be my dad and my mom's side, but that kinda stopped after my Grandma died…

  27. Even among other rankin/bass films this is bad… I know that they usually mess up old stories but even the other stuff is better than this

  28. Holy shit I actually had this on a DVD collection as a kid. For the longest time i thought it was a hallucination or I got it mixed up with the Cricket of Times Square books but then the song kept getting stuck in my head at random times

  29. While doing research on the film I found out it was animated by Eiken, a Japanese company, so is this technically an anime?

  30. I'm only now noticed that Berta (or whatever is her name) looks like shes blind from begining, stare into nothing, when Caleb's eyes, on other side, looks fine.

  31. Funny, I recently found a cricket on my hearth. Oh, and my test results just arrived! Lemme just skim them over… ? Uh oh…

  32. I love this video as it is, but if you ever have to come back because of a copyright strike or anything, that would be a good opportunity to have the toymaker smash Crockett with the hammer after the tacks are flung into his eyes.

  33. Ok, I understand he would give up the JOY of toy making with a sick daughter, but entirely giving up any income (except for evil mc hand rubber) was stupid.

    For one, obviously the whole debt thing, but working for his own business meant that he would literally be near his daughter and pay for her needs.

    Honestly he done fucked up on so many fronts by giving up income (not job enjoyment, income)

  34. I get a SMALL business could have one or two employees and or do a third party thing with a big company, but that’s hard to do back then with less technology, more expensive, and doesn’t fit any of those.

    He’s just a big magic toy maker man somehow with no license deals, workers, or proficiency (as far as we see) in making toys.

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