Store in Bell Buckle recreates NewsChannel 5's classic Christmas commercial

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Posted at 5:57 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 19:40:45-05

BELL BUCKLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — What people seem to love most about the town of Bell Buckle is the way it makes them feel.

"Just that small-town feel. It’s really rare," said Jennifer Rucker Jones, an employee at Simplicity in Bell Buckle.

"Simpler times," said Ronnie Lokey, a resident of Bell Buckle.

"We feel like a little Hallmark movie set," said Jennifer Beasley, the owner of the store Simplicity. "The feeling is just nostalgia."

So when Julie and her team were brainstorming a way to lure shoppers into her store, they turned to something else that can transport people back in time.

"Something they could just look at and remind themselves of when they were children, just the good times," said Beasley.

"What do you think about that NewsChannel 5 commercial?" responded Jones.

For the last 48 years, the NewsChannel 5 classic Christmas commercial has been part of the local soundtrack of the season. It's a cartoon, drawn by hand, by former NewsChannel 5 employee Charlie DePriest in 1974.

"I worked some things out on paper," DePriest told us two decades ago. "Hundreds and hundreds of frames, I guess we drew. Like I say, my daughter helped with the painting, my wife had a hand in it."

Now, it seems almost fitting that a store called Simplicity has created quite an elaborate recreation.

"I just love all the toys in the window — half of them I would have loved to had as a child," said Beasley.

Beasley and Jones have positioned all the beloved toys from the commercial in their window.

"We have the little teddy bear," said Beasley. "A train, unfortunately, it’s not blowing smoke out."

"The dollhouse is mine, I got it from Santa when I was six," said Jones. "Raggedy Ann and I believe in the commercial her hand is also up like that."

They even added one of the children, staring wistfully into the window.

"She’s actually a little angel underneath that cap, so it makes it fun," said Beasley.

That's caused a few adults to stare wistfully into the window too.

"I just enjoy the Channel 5 ad — seen it every year," said Lokey.

"Wonderful job, they did, they got all the stuff necessary from way back when," said Becky Kraft, a tourist from Chicago.

It's something the Christmas cartoon and the town of Bell Buckle have in common. Both are timeless Tennessee treasures.

"When you hear the music, it does take me back to my childhood," said Beasley.

Here's more on how the NC5 Christmas commercial was transformed into 4K resolution last year.

And here's the full backstory behind Charlie DePriest's 1974 creation.

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