It must seem to everyone today that the popular Christmas Specials we watch each year have always been around. The best known like, "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"; all have been around a long time.

But I can remember a time before any of these Specials first aired.

And thereby hangs a question: what came before the annual favorite  Christmas Specials we know so well?

I know one answer to that question and it's a Special unlike any other!
During the 1950's one of America's favorite Holiday Specials was, "The Red Shoes", a British movie released in 1948. This is the film adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale and like many a fairy tale, The Red Shoes is a dark, dark story that , at least to me, seems completely inappropriate as holiday entertainment.

So You be the Judge.

An evil shoemaker creates a pair of red shoes that are cursed! Anyone who puts on the red shoes will be unable to stop dancing - ever. And once attached to their victim the red shoes will never come off - as long as the victim is alive. Only Death will release the shoes from the feet of the wearer.

As fairy tales go, this one has always given me the creeps.

In this 1948 movie, Moira Shearer is a young ballerina, named Victoria, who has no idea that the beautiful red shoes will cost her her life. The evil shoemaker entices the ballerina until she can resist no longer.

Too Late! Once on the shoes will not come off and now poor Victoria can not stop dancing.

Look for several special moments in this YouTube clip: the instant Victoria steps into the shoes as if by magic, the horrifying moment Victoria realizes the shoes are bewitched and the shoemaker is the devil's henchmen, notice how the shoemaker is always nearby no matter where Victoria runs off to, and catch how the shoemaker collects the shoes and readies them for the next victim!

If you've never seen "The Red Shoes", prepare yourself. This film is a stunning achievement from a Great Britain dealing with the aftermath of World War II: