The Happy Elf
|The Happy Elf|
|Distributed by||IDT Entertainment|
|Directed by||John Rice|
|Produced by||Scott D. Greenberg
William L. Arance
Harry Connick, Jr.
|Written by||Andrew Fishman
|Narrated by||Harry Connick, Jr.|
Kevin Michael Richardson
|Music by||Harry Connick, Jr.|
|Editing by||Yoel Frohlich|
|Production company||Film Roman
|Running time||45 minutes|
The Happy Elf is a 3D-animated family holiday special, which first aired December 2, 2005 on the NBC television network in the USA. Based on Grammy-winner Harry Connick, Jr.’s original song, The Happy Elf.
Bluesville is a dark miserable town completely surrounded by cliffs on all sides, completely blocking the sun so that it only shines on Bluesville for a short time, when it's directly over the town. Because the town is so dark and gloomy, people never smile, and are put off by seeing Eubie smiling all the time, as his optimistic happiness makes him stick out in the gloomy town. Because people are so miserable in Bluesville, nobody knows how to tell a joke properly. Most of the people work at a place known as "The What Factory", where all the world's question marks are manufactured (this has resulted in confusion when people ask each other where they work). Also, at the Bluesville school, recess only lasts for one minute (the bell that signals recess' end rings the moment all the children are outside).
Eubie talks to the mayor about what is wrong with Bluesville, he explains everything in a song. Eubie asks the mayor if there's anything about Bluesville that makes him feel proud, to which the mayor replies that Bluesvill is the world's largest manufacturer of non-flammable coal, which children enjoy throwing at people. The mayor then makes a deal with Eubie. The mayor promises Eubie that if he can find another use for non-flammable coal, he'll put a Christmas tree up in the town square.
Eubie's first plan on getting the kids to help him make Bluesville a happier place is having them gather on a busy street and start a pie fight, but that only makes all the people angry. To search for more help, Molly (Mae Whitman), one naughty 10-year-old, takes Eubie to downtown Bluesville, the most miserable part of Bluesville, for a meeting of a group called S.L.O.B. (Smile League Of Bluesville), which only has one member of its group. While there, Molly and Eubie meets up with Curtis (Candi Milo), who is there because he brought along his foreign friend, Oreg, who doesn't speak English, but is happy to be there. Molly soon decides that Eubie's plans are hopeless, and tells him to just take all his big ideas home. At the mention of that, Eubie gets another idea, and is about to implement it when the lights in the room go off and Eubie is taken back to the North Pole.
In his bid to get Bluesville off the Naughty List, Eubie violated several rules in one day. As punishment, Santa had Eubie turn in his hat, which, at the North Pole, meant his Christmas happiness and powers were taken away. When Gilda (Carol Kane), Eubie's friend, learns of this, she motivates him to go back to Bluesville to finish his job, and gives him her hat to restore his powers and happiness. He then returns to Bluesville and explains to the kids his plan, and why they should do it in the form of a song, they get to work. That night, they give the mayor of Bluesville a bottle of anti-snore medicine in his sleep, while Eubie spends the night waxing all the cliffs surrounding Bluesville. While he is doing this, Derek, another friend of his, notices Gilda doesn't have her hat on, he soon figures out what is going on and, trying to follow the North Pole rules, he notifies one of the higher-ups.
When Eubie has finished waxing the cliffsides of Bluesville, he says to himself that he has one thing left to do, but before he can do that, the same elves who took him back to the North Pole the first time come back to retrieve him again. This time, both are put on punishment and are sentenced to clean up the toy factory, with both their hats taken away. Derek, now alone at the Christmas office party, is sad and mad with himself for betraying his friends, and confesses to what he did to Eubie and Gilda. They forgive him, but it only makes him feel worse about himself, considering what he did to them. While wondering what he can do to make it up to them, they have him do the one thing Eubie intended to do to finish making Bluesville a happier place.
When the sun shines over Bluesville again, people once again expect it to only last it usual four seconds, but after it disappears over the cliffsides again, leaving the people disappointed at not having the sun shine on them longer, the sun reflects of the freshly waxed walls, filling the whole town of Bluesville experience more sun than it's ever had before, making them feel happier than they had ever been in their lives. At the What Factory, the machine had been tampered with, so rather than grey question marks, the machine now produced different-coloured exclamation points of all shapes and sizes, which pleasantly surprises the factory workers. At the school, when recess starts, the bell has an elve's shoe placed over the ringer, blocking it from ringing the bell, which makes the kids ecstatic that they can continue playing. Molly comes out of the school, where Derek meets her. He tells her to find the mayor and give him a jar of wax, and a piece of non-flammable cole that was squeezed into a diamond (implying that Eubie stuck the non-flammable coal squeezed into diamonds to the waxed cliffsides), and to tell her that Eubie was sorry he couldn't be there. Molly happily goes to leave the schoolyard to find the mayor, but stays for a while to allow Curtis to tell a story that's actually funny. Molly finds the mayor and shows him the items in question, showing the mayor that there was indeed another use for non-flammable coal, the mayor remembers back to when he was a child and the town had a Chrtmas tree with a star on top that shined just like the coal. The mayor makes good on his word, putting up a Christmas Tree in the town square.
That Christmas, Santa decides to make Eubie, Gilda, and Derek his sleigh crew that year for bringing joy to Bluesville, which has soon changed its name to Joyville.
Cast of characters
- Eubie (Rob Paulsen) — Eubie is a hyper-positive, over-enthusiastic elf, whose rosy outlook on life is put to the test, when he tries to bring Christmas joy to the town of Bluesville.
- Lil' Farley (Harry Connick, Jr.) — "Lil' Farley" is the all-seeing narrator. This down home storyteller/one man band tells the story about Eubie, the happy elf.
- Gilda (Carol Kane) — A sweet elf and one of Eubie's best friends. She is as sensitive and nervous as Eubie is happy and hyper.
- Santa Claus (Mickey Rooney) — The big man himself, he is the all-seeing, ever popular chief ("Big Red", to Eubie) of Christmas Day.
- Derek (Kevin Michael Richardson) — Eubie's other best friend completes the elf trio. Where Eubie is hyper and Gilda is nervous, Derek is cynical and streetwise.
- Molly (Mae Whitman) — This is a naughty ten year-old citizen of Bluesville.
- Tucker (Kevin Michael Richardson) — The no-nonsense head of the toy department feeling pushed to the limit by Eubie's enthusiasm.
- Norbert (Lewis Black) — The head of the naughty and nice department, an extremely tightly wound elf.
- Curtis (Candi Milo) — A brooding "goth" preteen who is a member of the Bluesville secret society of happy people.
- Brother and Sister ** (Rory Thost and Liliana Mumy) — These two bickering siblings are attempting to decorate a Christmas tree in the town square when Lil" Farley steps in to tell them the story of "The Happy Elf".
- Mayor (Kevin Michael Richardson) — This imposing man is the leader of the town Bluesville, and reflects the true meaning of "the blues."
- Toady (Kevin Michael Richardson) — The mayor's "yes-man", Toady is part secret service, part corporate flunky. Nothing and no one gets past Toady. Until now.
- Harry Connick Jr. has written the music score, which includes the title tune "The Happy Elf", along with two new songs, "Smile on Christmas Day" and "Bluesville". He sings the title tune, he also gives the look to and is the voice of the story's narrator Lil' Farley.
- The name Lil' Farley was inspired from a similarly titled song on Connick's album Star Turtle.
- Connick was also one of the executive producers, and bringing Eubie to life was a little tricky, "He looked a bit psychotic at first, so they made him cuter," Connick says. "It was a collaborative process, where the animators would communicate with me from what they learned in the script. We formed a triangle between me, the animators and the writer."
- Packaging on some DVDs includes multi colored blinking lights and a short soundclip of the song "The Happy Elf".
- Mickey Rooney voiced Santa in two classic Christmas shows: Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and The Year Without a Santa Claus.
- It was a free DVD in the Sunday Telegraph in 2008
Some DVDs come with a free soundtrack
- "The Happy Elf" - 03:43 - vocal track, sung by Harry Connick, Jr.
- "Smile on Christmas Day" - 01:00 - vocal track, sung by Rob Paulsen
- "Bluesville" - 01:34 - vocal track, sung by Kevin Michael Richardson
- "Lil' Farley's 'Happy Elf'" - 00:22
- "Old Santa Claus" - 02:25
- "Eubie and Friends Pole Adventure" - 00:43
- "Gingerbread House Test" - 00:46
- "Eubie's Toy Car Test" - 00:36
- "Coffee Shop Theme" - 00:56
- "Department of Naughty and Nice" - 01:18
- "Norbert's Orders" - 00:33
- "Eubie's Naughty & Nice Tally" - 02:15
- "Eubie Lands in Bluesville" - 00:59
- "Bluesville Street Theme" - 01:31
- "Molly and Friends Coal Toss" - 02:09
- "Down Town Theme" - 01:05
- "S.L.O.B. Meeting" - 01:27
- "'Try'" - 01:33
- "Molly and Gang's Christmas Mission" - 02:40
- "Santa's Elves Wrap Party" - 00:38
- "Santa Getting Ready for Xmas" - 00:26
- "Mayor Gives the Town a Tree" - 01:03
- "'Bluesville' Reprise" - 01:21
- "Lil' Farley's 'Happy Elf' Reprise" - 01:05
- "'Happy Elf' Wrap" - 00:19
The official reference recording for the live theatrical show was recorded in Scranton, PA in partnership with the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in 2013.
The holiday special has been adapted into a full-length stage musical. Andrew Fishman has reworked the book, with music and lyrics by Connick who has added five new songs for the musical, for example "That Magic Hat". The show premiered at Coterie Theatre at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri on November 13, 2007 to generally good reviews. It is received a fully produced workshop at the Adventure Theatre, at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland, from November 12, 2010 through November 28, with a cast that features Michael Rupert. In 2012 The Happy Elf was reworked by Connick and on December 1, 2012 premiered in a version prepared for publication in Bethlehem, PA at the Charles Brown Ice House under the direction of Michael Melcher, Executive Director.
The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, in Scranton, Pennsylvania produced and premiered the final illustrative staging of the musical on December 19, 2014 for a two week run prior to its publication.
-  kansascity.com
-  infozine.com
- Jones, Kenneth.Michael Rupert Stars in East Coast Premiere of Harry Connick Jr.'s The Happy Elf, Starting Nov. 12 playbill.com, November 12, 2010
- The Times-Tribune, Scranton, PA
- Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived July 17, 2011)
- The Happy Elf at the Internet Movie Database