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The plot is an adaptation of the birth of Jesus Christ, from the POV of the animals who were in the stable he was born in. The only twist, as the title gives away, is that the animals have somehow been given the gift of speech. However, the animals soon become at odds with each other, developing the worst flaws of humanity--vanity and racism, just as the donkey belonging to Mary comes along, asking for room to stay in.
This special is seldom aired on TV these days, and is very esoteric in contrast to the specials produced by other companies such as Rankin-Bass. It has also never seen an official VHS or DVD rerelease, although it is believed by several to have fallen into the Public Domain. Regardless, It is an enjoyable, if brief, Christmas Special that certainly warrants watching, especially for Culhane's excellent direction.
- A House Divided: The driving conflict of the story.
- The Bible
- Bittersweet Ending: The animals finally become at peace with each other and allow space for Mary to give birth to Jesus, but the animals lose their gift of speech before they can spread the news of his birth.
- Christmas Special
- Eastern Animation
- Fantastic Racism
- Keep Circulating the Tapes
- Messy Pig
- No Name Given: The animals are never given names.
- Only Sane Man: The dog, as well as the bull.
- Public Domain Animation: Is believed by some to be this.
- Suddenly Voiced: In-universe example, for the animals.
- Talking Animal
- The Unseen: We don't get a glimpse of Jesus himself, and Mary and Joseph are only briefly seen from the sky. No other humans are even seen in the special.