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VINE VOICEon December 13, 2004
The year is 1978, and Benji is on top of his game! But wasn't he really a she, or was that just an urban legend? Anyway, Benji and "his" onscreen family, Cindy Smith and Patsy Garret, have been invited to a lovely Swiss mountain village to be grand marshals in their holiday parade. On their way to the event, however, they are sidetracked by their driver, Kris Kringle, the parade's Santa Claus. You see, Kris is the REAL Santa Claus, and since his elves will be too busy to enjoy this year's parade and see the movie stars themselves, he is bringing the stars to them. Suddenly, the human and canine actors find themselves on a walking tour of Santa's own little village, as he explains to them why his elves are busier than usual. It seems that Kris has broken his leg, and the elves will have to make his annual rounds in his place this year. The elves are beside themselves trying to learn the tricks of the trade and barely have time to chat, but Kris manages to introduce a few to the group along the way, including Needles and Pins, the official tailors. While in the wardrobe department, we get a firsthand explanation of how Kris must change costumes for every country he visits, since every country has their own view of Santa. In fact, much of the tour involves little explanations of the facts and complications of being Santa Claus, such as getting around the world in one night and keeping reindeer from flying away (by keeping them in a giant birdcage). The tour culminates in the letter department, where elves from the various countries of the world sort and respond to the letters children have written to Santa. Here, Kris Kringle is inspired to break into a catchy song and dance about his own "multiplicity." It's to his own undoing, however, when during his rigorous dancing, Kris's cast breaks apart and his ruse is exposed. He wasn't injured at all, he simply wanted to enjoy Christmas at home for a change, like everybody else. In the meantime, however, the elves are distracted by their chance to meet and pet Benji, and the lovable dog's ability to feel at home anywhere he is loved teaches Kris a valuable lesson and restores his eagerness to make his annual flight. So, with all things put right again, Kris Kringle returns with the little group to the parade route, and a wonderful Christmas is had by all!

"Benji's Very Own Christmas Story" is a charming little tale, though it carries a subtle touch of 70's nostalgia as well for all those who are aware of it. Benji, himself (or herself), is a 70's icon to begin with, and the lovely miss Cindy Smith comes off as sort of a poor man's Linda Blair (circa Exorcist 2, yowza). Plus, there's that whole "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." feel to the story. As a previous reviewer pointed out, Benji isn't given much to do in this one. Mainly, he's just carried around by Cindy Smith and gets petted by the elves at the end. Smith and Ron Moody, who plays Kris Kringle, are pretty much the stars of the whole program. More than anything, it's a "get to know Santa" kind of film, with a strong focus on his many international incarnations. Moody is center stage the whole time, as the Oscar nominated actor (Fagin in "Oliver!") handles most of the dialogue and displays his song and dance talents beautifully. Only a few gripes, like the fact that Santa has relocated to Switzerland because the North Pole was too cold, and the elves prosthetic noses are none too convincing in close-up shots, but otherwise, this is a very charming holiday special at a fantastic price! Nominated for an Emmy as "Outstanding Children's Program," you can't go wrong with this combination of the cutest dog of all time and the most wondereful time of the year! Oh, and be sure to watch for a cameo by Rudolph!
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on January 3, 2014
I remembered enjoying the Benji shows from the 1970's and 1980's, and thought my 6-year old daughter would enjoy the Christmas special. We were both disappointed. First, it was a very short film, and second, Benji is just a prop throughout the story, as he doesn't do anything except be carried around throughout the film. In one scene he runs through the set, and that is the extent of his presence. There were parts of the show that were interesting, for example, the 'Father Christmas' legends from around the world were explained. However, that was too brief to save the rest of the show. Wonder why it was called 'Benji's Very Own Christmas Story' when he wasn't really the central character? Odd.
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on December 11, 2003
Really, this Christmas special has an odd feel to it because Benji is ostensibly the star, but mostly gets carried around. The plot is goofy, and sets are low rent, and acting is wooden. But the whole caper is just an excuse for the brilliant Ron Moody to do his schtick. For those who loved Ron Moody as Fagan in Oliver (which is practically anyone who has seen it), he is in peak form. The climax of the piece is Ron Moody as Santa Claus doing an elaborate musical number, which oddly has the Klezmer/jewish sound of songs like "I think I'd Better think it Out Again" from Oliver.
Its a tour de force performance from him. The directors clearly knew what they were doing and just let him steal the show. It makes you wish there was more output from him on film and video. It lifts the whole project up and for that reason gets four stars from me. The flashes of brilliance from Moody make this a real Christmas treat that can be enjoyed more than once.
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on November 13, 2002
Benji is the sweetest dog in the whole world! How can anyone say 'no' to Benji! Kids will LOVE Benji!
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on January 9, 2007
If you love Benji and believe in Santa this is the movie for you. It is short and sweet. I love how it shows all the different Santa's around the world.
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on April 12, 2014
this should have been called Benji learns about Christmas and not benji's Christmas special
this special focuses more on Santa then benji and he is never allowed to walk on his own he is always being carried or set on a table the overall movie is cute but just not what I expected from a Benji movie still it was nice to see my favorite dog of all time again
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on July 3, 2013
This will be a good movie for my students at Christmas time. Thank goodness for clean movies. It is very refreshing.
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on March 15, 2012
This movie was pretty silly. It could have been a little more sensisible. The dog was cute but it was enough to hold ones interest.
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on November 6, 2015
Fun adorable movie for my afternoon children's program . We are learning about Christmas Around the World. Great purchase !
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on November 17, 2013
Joe Camp's Benji (Benji very own Christmas storey) in the 1978 I not sure at this point of time it may be a Rates as a G?
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