Rankin/Bass Christmas Classics
My Christmas is never complete without watching my collection of Rankin/Bass Christmas classics. They were a childhood morning favourite growing up and till this day I still make sure I watch them every year...while wrapping my Christmas gifts.
These stop-motion classics were created by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass. They are also known for their work on 80's animated hits such as; Thundercats and Silverhawks. Some of their team behind the scenes who brought these much loved characters alive also worked on some of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli animated movies!
All of Rankin/Bass Christmas classics had a recurring theme and good message to it's audience- 'different is special' and 'our differences is what makes us unique, we have certain differences for a reason'. This was a powerful message for kids to learn at a young age. The great things about kids shows in the 70's-90's is that they always had an important life moral hidden into their plots & songs- making it both entertaining and life educational for kids- which is scarce in kids shows today.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (1964) is the longest running, highest rated TV special in the history of television- which still airs today! It is the story of Rudolph and how he became known as Santa's special red-nosed reindeer, which is an adventure also told through song. Narrated by Sam the Snowman, Rudolph is shunned from playing 'reindeer games' because of having a 'red-nose' he soon meets an elf called Hermy who doesn't want to be a toy maker but a dentist! Both feeling like 'misfits' they embark on a journey for a place of acceptance, this is when they come across the 'island of misfit toys', Cornelius & the Abominable snowman. In the end it's Rudolph's red-nosed that saves the day, leading Santa through the blizzard so he can deliver the toys before Christmas day.
In 1976 there was also a sequel called Rudolph's shiny New Year.
Rudolph and Clarice, who loves Rudolph's red-nose! aww!
Frosty The Snowman (1969) Frosty is bought to life with a magician's magic hat!
The Little Drummer Boy (1968) Another one of my favourites! Story of Orphan boy Aaron who becomes known as the boy who played rum pum pum pum on his little drum in Bethlehem to Mary & Joseph at the birth of Jesus- A simple gift of love. There was also a sequel in 1976; The Little Drummer boy: Book 2 that sees Aaron help the three wise men reclaim the 'silver bells'.
Santa Claus is comin to town (1970) Fred Astaire voices S.D Kluger the narrator of the story (picture above) with musical favourite Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle (Santa Claus). This is about 'how Santa Claus became to be' and how all his traditions came to be like: coming on Christmas Day, why he comes down the chimney, why he lives in the north pole and why toys are put in stockings. Characters include the evil Burgermeister, Winter Warlock and Jess who helps Santa deliver toys.
Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July (1979) Frosty wants to attend the 'fouth of July Christmas circus' but if he does he will melt! Evil wizard Winterbolt gives Frosty and his wife magical amulets that will keep them from melting- as usual it's a trap and Rudolph must save the day & the circus that is going out of business.
Jack Frost (1979) After falling in love with a girl called Elisa, Jack Frost longs to become human. Father Winter grants him the wish but he must obtain a house, some gold and a wife before spring to become human forever. Jack becomes a tailor called Jack Snip, but as usual trouble is afoot and Elisa is kidnapped by the evil Kubla Kraus and has to return as Jack Frost to save the day.
The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (1985) Another story about the creation of Santa Claus
A Year Without Santa Claus (1974) As Santa and Mrs Claus get older Santa wonders if kids still believe in or need Santa anymore- Santa's bad cold isn't helping and decides to take a holiday. It's up to the elves 'jingle & jangle' to find people & kids who still believe in Santa. This is the Christmas classic where the funny characters 'Snow & Heat Miser' appear.
Nestor The Long-eared Christmas Donkey (1977) "Ears Nestor" is what Nestor's mother used to say when he would trip over them. Nestor is the Donkey that carries Mary to Bethlehem through the terrible snow blizzard. It is his long (different, but unique) ears that shade and wrap around her protecting her from storm.
The latest stop-motion Christmas release A Miser Brother's Christmas (2008) saw much loved characters Heat & Snow Miser bought back to life to a new generation of kids. Their evil brother North Wind wants to sabotage Christmas by taking Santa's place. So it's up to brothers Snow & Heat Miser to put their differences and long-time feuds aside and ban together to save Christmas....and Santa!