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Why 1968’s ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ Was Taken Off TV

 

Why 1968’s ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ Was Taken Off TV

Source: Youtube

The Little Drummer Boy, a beloved Christmas classic that gained popularity in the late ’60s for its relatable storyline, tells the age-old biblical narrative of the Nativity. Premiering in 1968 under the title “Carol of the Drum,” the timeless special faced controversy despite its success.

Produced by the renowned animation studio Rankin/Bass, The Little Drummer Boy delves into the lives of characters from diverse backgrounds during the time of Christ’s birth, including Jews, Arabs, and individuals of various races. While most characters adhere to the conventional style of Rankin/Bass productions, the Arab characters are portrayed in a less favorable light.

Source: Youtube

The main antagonist, Ben Haramad, and his assistant are depicted with features conforming to certain stereotypes, such as a curved nose, prominent mustache, and opulent Arab attire. The Arab characters are characterized with an offensive level of crudeness, depicting them as sly, driven by greed, and cunning while lacking genuine intellect.

Source: Youtube

In the ’90s, a significant wave of public outrage arose, primarily focusing on the racially insensitive portrayal of Arab characters in the show. Dissatisfied viewers criticized the depiction, arguing that Arab individuals were negatively stereotyped as materialistic and child abductors. This widespread criticism had a substantial impact on broadcasters, leading some television channels to make the difficult decision to remove The Little Drummer Boy from their program lineup.

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