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The River is a notable body of water in Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. The river serves as the main means of transportation and connects the neighboring hamlets of Frogtown Hollow and Waterville. Residents of the area use the river to row into the town, and the nautical travelers often ward off the chill with a traditional "keeping warm while you're rowing song" (such as "There Ain't No Hole in the Washtub").
In the colder months, residents will walk the frozen river, and ice sliding and skating are popular recreational activity. Birds, ducks and doctors are common sights along the banks, and one can often see townspeople fishing, boating and singing.
The dock, owned by Gretchen Fox, is one of many places that connect the river to the mainland. No record exists of someone falling off of the dock; with regards to its owner, however, tumbling into the waters has been publicly declared as a consummation devoutly to be wished. (This statement has since been stricken from the record in certain DVD releases).
The river's role as a waterway, local landmark, and source of seafood makes it an indispensible part of daily life for the two communities. As a result, the river takes on a symbolic significance in local belief systems as well. As exemplified by the hymn "When the River Meets the Sea," the river and its eventual joining with the wider sea is used as a theological metaphor for the reward to come in another life.
Locations along the River
- Frogtown Hollow
- River Bend
- Riverside Rest
- Emmet Otter's house
- The Tree House
- Gretchen Fox's Dock
Behind the scenes
In the Behind the Scenes in Frogtown Hollow documentary, Michael K. Frith stated that "the center of this little town, the Otter's world and the world all of their friends inhabit, really is the river." The sets (designed by William Beeton), including the large 50-foot river, were all raised above the studio floor to allow puppeteers to operate below. Radio and marionette controlled ducks populated the water. For long shots of The Honkey Dory, an elaborate radio control boat was used that actually worked on the water.