Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree is a 1995 half-hour Christmas television special based on Robert Barry's 1963 book of the same name. It stars Robert Downey, Jr., Leslie Nielsen, Stockard Channing, and a family of Muppet mice, with narration by Kermit the Frog.
The special begins with the song “"The Perfect Tree", which features both Mr. Willowby singing about his desire to find the perfect Christmas tree and, within his house, a father mouse singing that he will go out to get a tree and his two children decide to come with him. After the song is finished, Mr. Willowby asks his butler, Baxter, where his tree is.
The special then follows the mouse family out in the woods looking for a tree. Eventually, the father spots “the perfect tree,” but it is far too large to fit into their tiny living quarters, so they climb it so that he can chop off the very top. Right when they reach the top, however, Mr. Willowby’s lumberjacks arrive at the scene and cut the entire tree down (as they sing the song “We’re Lumberjacks”). The mouse family hold on to it as it is brought to Mr. Willowby’s house.
The tree is set up in the house, and Mr. Willowby notices it is slightly too tall. He has Baxter cut off the very top, and then tells him to bring it up (which the mouse family is in) to his maid, Miss Adelaide, whom he describes as being a very lonely person who doesn’t even come down for Christmas.
Baxter does so, and while he is meeting with Miss Adelaide, she describes her family’s traditions at Christmas. While they are talking, a romantic interest between them is insinuated at. At one point, Baxter notices the father mouse on the floor, but Miss Adelaide says it's Christmas and thus would be wrong to kill him at this time. She places him up on a banister, and he returns to the top of the tree with his children.
After Baxter leaves, Miss Adelaide notices that the tree in her room is slightly too tall, so she cuts off the top and throws it out the window (with the mouse family in it). Before the father mouse can cut off the top, a bear picks it up and brings it home to his den and family to use as his own Christmas tree.
The bear family engages in their Christmas festivities, and eventually notices that the tree is too tall. They cut off the top (which once again has the mouse family in it) and throw it outside. The mouse family laugh at all they’ve been through that evening, only to then be picked up (along with the tree) by an owl.
The owl's family set up the tree in their own den, and then engages in an angelic chorus (the mouse family speculates that they never knew owls could be so musical). Eventually, they too notice that the tree is too tall, and so they cut off the top and throw it (along with the mouse family) outside.
The father mouse then raises his axe to cut off the top of the tree, but then realizes that it's actually the perfect size for his own home. He and his children return home with it. At the same time, Mr. Willowby’s Christmas ball is taking place. Miss Adelaide comes down this time, and begins to dance with Baxter.
|Robert Downey, Jr.||Mr. Willowby|
|Stockard Channing||Miss Adelaide|
|Kevin Clash|| Father Mouse|
|David Rudman||Ned Mouse|
|Julianne Buescher||Beverly Mouse|
|Steve Whitmire|| Kermit the Frog|
|Bruce Lanoil|| Bear|
The special won the 1996 CSA award for "Best Casting for TV Nighttime Special". It was also nominated for the 1996 Primetime Emmy Award for the Outstanding Song "The Perfect Tree", written by composers Michael and Patty Silversher.
- Muppet Wiki: Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
- Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree at the Internet Movie Database
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