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“Ziggy’s Gift” by Richard Williams

This is the eighth Christmas we’ve celebrated on Cartoon Brew, and in all that time, we’ve never posted the holiday special Ziggy’s Gift. Today marks the end of your Ziggyless holidays. Ziggy’s Gift is quite charming, and the production values are far better than they need to be—especially considering that it was produced in 1982 and it’s…well…Ziggy. No surprise then that the director was Richard Williams and the animation supervisor was a 27-year-old Eric Goldberg.

  • I think what makes this even better is that Ziggy doesn’t speak throughout. One of the things about seeing animated adaptations of comics is how the characters talk, but this doesn’t happen at all here.

    I don’t know if that was Williams’ or creator Tom Wilson’s decision, but it was a nice touch, I thought.

    Nice animation throughout.

    • Not only does Ziggy not speak but everyone else speaks with some type of complication whether it’s a thick foreign accent or a vocal handicap. They’re either outcasts from a Fleischer cartoon or a WB short. From the very first voice (a parody of Walter Cronkite) to the jewish guy out back selling live Christmas turkeys. Great vocal talent like Paul Frees is given a chance to run away with their parts.
      You also have to give credit to the great songs by Harry Nilsson and a score by Perry Botkin Jr. It comes together as a great audio track.
      With animators like Eric Goldberg, Tom Sito, Kevin Petrilak, Tom Roth and Sue Kroyer there are plenty of reasons for the show to be as good as it is.

  • Gee whiz, it’s no wonder Richard Williams is considered to be one of the best. This really does have some wonderful animation and design work. I’ll second the praise already given to the score as well. Thanks for posting this.

  • Tony Ginorio

    I remember watching this special on HBO in the eighties and found it charming and hilarious. Last time I saw it was at the dearly departed Cartoon Museum on Boca Raton. It was a thrill to be able to see it again after so many years.
    On an interesting note, the thief looks and acts an awful lot like the one in The Thief and the Cobbler.

  • matt

    Holy cow! I knew about this but have never seen it. Also I’ve been a huge fan of both Richard Williams and Nilsson for decades now. This was an awesome little present for me!

  • DPD

    “Ziggy’s Gift” is a gem that needs to be rediscovered. And while I will always adore “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as many of you all do, I cannot see why this cartoon special cannot be seen every year. (It was first broadcast on ABC– why can’t it appear on ABCFamily’s annual Christmas specials fest?!!) This special probably was the last of its kind… a Christmas special that isn’t overtly commercial, nor sentimental. Just look at that one beautiful scene when Ziggy gives away his scarf to a homeless man he encounters. As Linus would say to Charlie Brown: “And that is what Christmas is all about…”