Yes Virginia Animated DVD featuring the voices of Neil Patrick Harris & Jennifer Love Hewitt
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New York City, 1897. A little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon loves Christmas more than anything else in the world. But when a schoolyard bully challenges her belief in Santa Claus, Virginia embarks on a quest across the city to prove he is real. With her best friend Ollie in tow, Virginia meets everyone from an overeager librarian to a Scraggly Santa raising money for the poor. Finally her father inspires her to write a letter to the New York Sun newspaper, claiming "If you see it in the Sun, it's so." Based on the true story of the most famous newspaper editorial of all time, YES VIRGINIA is a charming and heartwarming tale about believe in the true spirit of Christmas.
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The author of the letter that inspired the editorial reply was Virginia O'Hanlon's . She was born on July 20, 1889, in Manhattan, New York. Virginia received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College in 1910, a Master's degree in education from Columbia University in 1912, and a doctorate from Fordham University. She was a school teacher in the New York City ISD. She started her career as an educator in 1912, became a junior principal in 1935, and retired in 1959. She passed away on on May 13, 1971, in a nursing home in Valatie, New York.
Her story as told in this wonderful family Christmas DVD is a must for every family. I remember being read the book when I was 9 and asked the same question that Virginia did. The story and now the DVD have a special place in my heart and memories.
Parents and grandparents, I highly recommend buying this DVD and making it an annual "must see" Christmas program for your family.
"Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished."
I realize Christmas is in the rear view now, but surely there's no off season for praising the heck out of a terrific Christmas special? Sometimes the best stories turn out to be ones that really happened. Case in point, an eight-year-old girl's letter to the New York newspaper, The Sun, back in 1897 which inspired the remarkable editorial response titled "Is There A Santa Claus?"
Young Virginia O'Hanlon loves Christmas more than anything else, and she wasn't having it when an older girl insisted that Santa doesn't exist. YES, VIRGINIA tells the fictionalized account of Virginia's quest to prove that there is a real Santa Claus. Accompanied by her best friend Ollie, she consults an enthusiastic librarian who keeps shushing herself and a scraggly (but kindly) man dressed up as Santa to help raise money for the needy. But it's not until she talks with her father that she gets the notion of writing to the Sun, because as her father is wont to say: "If you see it in the Sun, it's so." Okay, only the bits in the past sentence actually happened.
So YES, VIRGINIA is based on a true story of the most famous newspaper editorial in American journalism, and the most reprinted. If you get a chance, you owe it to yourself to read the entire editorial (it's easily found on the 'net). You'll see why it's so fondly remembered even after all these years. Francis Pharcellus Church was the lead editorial writer who penned "Is There A Santa Claus?" and it's hard not to be touched by his eloquence and sincerity. Words have power. Sometimes, words are immortal.
See this once and it'll become an annual must-see tradition in your household, see if it's not. YES, VIRGINIA is heartwarming and funny and whimsical and wise. It runs at 25 minutes and treats us to gorgeous CGI animation which marvelously captures turn-of-the-century New York City. Alfred Molina, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jennifer Love Hewitt lend their voices, but, really, it's young, husky-voiced Beatrice Miller who anchors the story as the hopeful Virginia. It's also pretty cute listening to her and the other kids on their audio commentary. Highly recommended.
The DVD's bonus features:
- Director Pete Circuitt's Commentary
- The adorable Kid Cast Commentary (with Beatrice Miller, Kieran Campbell, and Julian Franco)
- The Making of YES, VIRGINIA (00:09:35 minutes)
- the YES, VIRGINIA trailer