"Jolly Molly Christmas" is the Christmas episode of The Disney Afternoon animated series TaleSpin, and also notably the first Christmas-themed television episode produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. It was broadcast as the show's 43rd episode on December 20, 1990 (though it is actually the 64th episode in production order). The title is a reference to the Christmas song "A Holly Jolly Christmas".
The episode opens on a rainy day at Higher for Hire, as Rebecca telling her daughter Molly about how she always loved to see it snow at Christmastime when she was young, and how she would love to see it snow this year, as it never snows in Cape Suzette. After Rebecca leaves to do her Christmas shopping, Molly starts writing a "special delivery emergency letter" to Santa, when suddenly her last candy cane falls off the desk and breaks apart. Baloo tells her that she should put a piece of it under her pillow so the Peppermint Fairy (a cousin of the Tooth Fairy) can leave a new candy cane in its place. Molly goes to her room to put the candy piece under her pillow, during which Baloo then ties a string to his finger so that he won't forget.
The next morning (which is Christmas Eve), Rebecca rushes out to do some last-minute shopping because the store accidentally gave her the wrong present for Molly yesterday. Baloo wakes up and, seeing the string tied around his finger, realizes he forgot to put a candy cane under Molly's pillow. He takes one off of the nearby decorations, but when he goes in to put it under Molly's pillow, she wakes up and catches him in the act. Molly calls out Baloo on lying to her about the Peppermint Fairy, and then says that she's willing to bet Santa Claus isn't real either. Baloo, however, says he can prove to her that Santa exists by flying her up to the North Pole so she can deliver her letter to Santa in person. He then calls Louie up and tells him that he needs him to dress up as Santa.
One flight aboard the Sea Duck later, Baloo and Kit bring Molly to the North Pole, which is actually Louie's Place disguised to look like Santa's workshop. Baloo brings Molly to "Santa" (actually Louie in costume), who starts giving her all sorts of tropically-themed toys. After quite a while of this, Molly finally shows "Santa" the letter she wrote yesterday. Upon having one of his "elves" (who are actually his employees) read him the letter, Louie learns that all Molly really wants is to fulfill her mother's wish to see it snow. Upon hearing this, Louie goes backstage to discuss this with Baloo and Kit. ("You said I had to be Santa Claus, not Jack Frost!") Baloo tells Louie that he and Kit will fly back to Higher for Hire and use a shipment of soap flakes that they were supposed to deliver today to give the illusion of snow. In the meantime, Louie has to keep pretending to be Santa for Molly.
Meanwhile, at Pirate Island, the Air Pirates are lamenting the fact that they're not receiving any presents for Christmas, and tell their boss, Don Karnage, that next year they'll try to be good. Karnage snaps at them for that, and announces to them that since they want presents so badly, they shall simply go out and steal them.
Back at Higher for Hire, Rebecca returns from her shopping to find Wildcat sitting on the dock with the crates of soap boxes that Baloo was supposed to deliver. When she asks what's going on, Wildcat tells her that Baloo and Kit took Molly to see Santa at the North Pole, lamenting that they left him behind. Baloo and Kit then return and start loading the crates of soap on to the Sea Duck. Upon realizing that Rebecca's back from shopping, Baloo and Kit explain to her that they're going to sprinkle the soap flakes in the clouds to make it snow as Molly's present for her. It starts raining, and they start flying back towards Louie's island.
Baloo calls up Louie on the CBR radio to tell him that "the biggest and best Christmas present is on the way." Unfortunately, Don Karnage happens to pick up Baloo's call on his plane's radio, so he and his men start flying after the Sea Duck. They begin shooting at it as Karnage demands Baloo to surrender the "present" he's carrying. Rebecca demands Karnage to stop, since this present is meant for her daughter, but he obviously will not back down. Unable to outrun the pirates in the rainstorm they're currently stuck in, Baloo has Rebecca and Wildcat dump a few crates of the soap flakes over and send them spilling out the back of the Sea Duck. The soap flakes get caught in the propellers of the Pirates' planes, causing them all to drop and fall into the sea below. Unfortunately, Wildcat is not able to close the hatch before they lose all the soap flakes that fly out, and the group find they will not be able to make it snow for Molly.
Back at Louie's Place, the patrons who always spend Christmas Eve at the tavern are outside, desperately demanding to be let in, oblivious to the fact that Louie and his men are masquerading the place as Santa's workshop. They eventually break down the door and demand Louie to tell them why he was keeping them locked outside. When Molly tells them this is Santa Claus they're addressing, the bar patrons just laugh and tear off Louie's fake beard. Devastated, Molly takes her letter and runs out crying, and Louie calls out his bar patrons on upsetting the little girl.
Molly sorrowfully runs all the way to a cliff on the side of the island, tosses her letter into the wind, and lays crying in front of a nearby tree as the letter disappears into the sky. She soon hears her mother calling out for her and gets up, sadly asking what she's going to give her for Christmas now. In a brief wordless sequence that follows, though, she suddenly stops when she sees a twinkle in the sky. She looks up and sees an offscreen figure fly by in the sky, which brings a smile to her face. Rebecca, Baloo, Kit, Wildcat, and Louie then come up to find Molly staring into the sky. Molly says to her mother that she "saw him" and points up into the sky so that the others can see him too. It then starts to snow, and Louie asks Baloo how this is happening. Baloo remarks that the answer is something he wouldn't believe, but Molly says she'd believe him and wishes her mother a merry Christmas.
As an episode of TaleSpin, "Jolly Molly Christmas" continued to be shown in syndication on the Disney Afternoon from 1990 through 1994. After the show was dropped from the Disney Afternoon line-up, the episode aired as part of the show's reruns on the Disney Channel from 1995 to 1999 and on Toon Disney from 1998 to 2006.
The episode made its home video debut on the TaleSpin: Volume 2 DVD set, released on August 7, 2007. It, along with the rest of the series, was later released on iTunes in May 2016 and on Amazon Instant Video the following month.
- The pirates' Christmas tree resembles the one that Charlie Brown picked out in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
- Two pieces of Christopher Stone's music that were made specially for this episode - "Molly In Christmas Land" and "Molly Sees Santa" - were included on the extremely rare TaleSpin score album.
|Ed Gilbert||Baloo von Bruinwald XIII|
|R.J. Williams||Kit Cloudkicker|
|Sally Struthers||Rebecca Cunningham|
|Janna Michaels||Molly Cunningham|
|Charlie Adler||Mad Dog|
- Disney Wiki: Jolly Molly Christmas
- The Disney Afternoon Wiki: Jolly Molly Christmas
- "Jolly Molly Christmas" at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- "Jolly Molly Christmas" at the Internet Movie Database