"A Christmas Cruella" is the Christmas episode of the Disney animated television series 101 Dalmatians, based upon Dodie Smith's novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians and its film adaptations. Originally broadcast on Disney's One Saturday Morning programming block on ABC on December 20, 1997, the episode was a loose adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol.
The episode opens at the Dearly Farm on Christmas Eve, where Nanny is busy wrapping presents. But meanwhile, at the House of De Vil, Cruella is making all of her employees work late. Anita tries to tell her that everyone has already finished their Christmas shopping, but Cruella insists there is a few last-minute shoppers left. Roger then arrives to pick up Anita, and he has brought along Lucky, whom he had to take to the vet because he got a pine needle stuck in his paw. Cruella orders Anita to get back to work, despite it being 6:00 PM. Anita says she'd really like to take Christmas off and spend it with her family, and Roger agrees with her, so Cruella fires her.
Later that night, as Cruella is getting ready to go home, she passes by the giant mechanical Christmas tree that Horace and Jasper have been trying to set up in the lobby. She knocks away the ladder they're using, causing the tree to come toppling down and knock her unconscious. When she comes to, she finds that Jasper and Horace have disappeared and assumes they also left early ("Are Santa and his elves the only people who work on Christmas Eve?!"). She heads over to her car, expressing rudeness to a Salvation Army Santa, a penniless beggar ("Nobody wears plaid anymore"), and some carolers in the process, and drives home to her mansion.
When Cruella arrives and has to go through her mansion's security scan, the security camera suddenly takes the shape of Jasper and Horace's heads, and she knocks it out with her purse, believing she must be hallucinating from being knocked out by the mechanical tree earlier. When she gets ready for bed, Jasper and Horace suddenly appear in front of her as a two-headed ghost, singing to her that unless she changes her ways, she will suffer a cruel and horrible fate due to her greed. The Baduns tell her that she will be visited by three more ghosts and then leave.
Soon after, the first of the three ghosts arrives - the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Cadpig. She takes Cruella to see her past and her childhood home. In the ensuing flashbacks, it is revealed that Cruella's parents were never home, and she always wanted a Dalmatian puppy, but always got clothing for Christmas. The final straw for Cruella came when, as a teenager, she thought that her parents had actually come home for Christmas and brought a puppy for her, but it actually turned out to be cardboard cut-outs of them. Present-day Cruella seems to be mortified when she sees this part of her life, but claims the smoke from the fire (which her younger self tossed the cardboard stand-ins into) is making her tear up. She asks Cadpig what they're going to see next, but the ghost says her hour is up (despite Cruella's protest that it has only been 50 minutes).
Cruella is then visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Rolly, who is binging on Christmas treats. After a few hours of this, Cruella insists that Rolly get around to showing her what he came to show. Rolly takes Cruella to the Dearly Farm to show her that Christmas is now miserable for the Dearlys and their dalmatians due to Anita being fired - they are unable to afford any of the Christmas presents they've gotten for each other and the dogs. Even worse, Lucky's paw was infected with "Pineypawitis" from the pine needle that got stuck in it earlier, and because Anita's unemployed, they cannot afford an operation to save his crippled leg, let alone a leg brace. Despite seeing all this, Cruella still doesn't seem to realize that she should be thinking of others, and Rolly leaves, hoping that the next ghost will have better luck.
Almost immediately afterward, Cruella gets a visit from the last spirit - the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, played by Spot. Spot shows Cruella that, in the future, all of her possessions are being sold off by Swamp Rat. When Cruella questions what has happened to her, Spot shows her that when she dies, she will end up buried in a pet cemetery. (Spot then remarks that she had a great song-and-dance number, but the studio cut it out.) Cruella, finally realizing that this is her fate if she doesn't change her ways, begs for a chance to do so.
Cruella then wakes up, still in the House of De Vil, and finds that the series of events that unfolded after the mechanical tree fell on her was all a long dream. She does, however, realize that she has a chance to become a kinder person. She starts giving photocopiers to the people skating outside the building (by dropping said photocopiers from out the windows), gives a large jacket to the beggar, and attempts to sing along with the carolers. She then goes to the Dearly Farm and gives office supplies to Roger, Anita, Nanny, and the Dalmatians, much to their befuddlement, and even gives Anita her job back.
- In the Ghost of Christmas Past's sequence, young Cruella, getting an idea, makes an evil stretched-out grin like the one the Grinch made in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
- When showing Cruella the pet cemetery, Spot accidentally shows her a grave with a tombstone labeled "Fluffy". Coincidentally, Fluffy would also be the name of Cruella's pet dog in the live-action film 102 Dalmatians.
Walt Disney Home Video released the episode on a VHS titled 101 Dalmatians: Christmas in 1998. The tape also included another episode of the series, "Coup De Vil". To date, it is the only NTSC home video release of the series.
In the United Kingdom, the episode was included on the Disney's Christmas Favourites DVD, making it the only episode of 101 Dalmatians: The Series to have an official DVD release to date.
|Tara Charendoff||Spot Chicken|
|April Winchell||Cruella De Vil|
|Jeff Bennett||Roger Dearly|
|David Lander||Horace Badun|
|Michael McKean||Jasper Badun|
|Frank Welker||Additional voices|
- Disney Wiki: A Christmas Cruella
- "A Christmas Cruella" at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- "A Christmas Cruella" at the Internet Movie Database