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WendyCR72

The Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials Topic

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A thread to discuss the sad, glad, and everything in between of those chestnut holiday specials.

To begin: Yes, Santa in Rudolph is, was, and always a bastard!

Edited by WendyR72
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The Rankin/Bass specials were a big part of my 70s childhood.  My husband did not have a TV when he was growing up, so I have had to spend a lot of time over the years explaining TV references from before 1996 to him.  One of those was recently, when he was trying to figure out what the reference to "the island of misfit toys" was all about in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  So I cued up the clip on YouTube from Rudolph, and it was like a glorious beam of light descended!

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One of those was recently, when he was trying to figure out what the reference to "the island of misfit toys" was all about in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  So I cued up the clip on YouTube from Rudolph, and it was like a glorious beam of light descended!

OMG! But that's cool. It's just too bad that he missed out when young. But with almost all of these out on DVD and/or Blu-Ray, I bet he can gain a mountain of those cultural references in a hurry.

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Rankin Bass means holidays to me.   Not just Christmas either.   I would kill to get the Easter one narrated by Danny Kaye.

What I hate is how they release them on DVD.    The popular ones are released with one obscure one.   THen to get another obscure one, you have to buy the new release of the popular one.   So you wind up with 40 Rudolphs just to get one Little Drummer Boy part II.

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Not Portia (obvioulsy)  It's from Jack Frost.   Kubla Khan and his main Knight (pronounced Kanigit) are checking out the hot chick from his castle.  ABCFamily tends to play that one at 7a.m. on a Saturday during their 25 Days of Christmas.

My favorite song from that one is "It's just what I always wanted."

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Haha, I'm happy to have expanded your horizons, Abra! I saw Jack Frost for the first time last holiday season - my adult son made me watch it - and over the holidays we repeated that song a LOT. So beautiful. So weird.

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Are you kidding me?

Rudolph:   Santa is  narrow minded idiot who encourages others to be as narrow minded as he is.   

Little Drummer Boy:  His parents are murdered by soldiers.  The lamb dies (he gets better)

Nestor the Long Haired Christmas Donkey:  Nestor's mamma dies saving him from freezing to death (she does not get better).  One of my all time favorites.

The First Christmas Snow:  Little Boy is blinded by a lightening strike (he gets better)

Jack Frost:  Kubla Khan keeps everyone so poor they need to use "ice money."  Then Jack Frost falls for a mortal woman, and loses her to a golden knight (pronounced Night) after killing Kubla Khan and his K-nigits.

The Year Without a Santa Claus:   Santa wants a break until a little girl writes him a very sad letter (with an amazing crayon that writes two letters at once)

Here Comes Santa Claus: The baby Claus is taken out to the woods to be left to die (obviously doesn't happen), then is arrested by the Burgomeister Meisterburger and has to become a fugitive.   Oh and the soliders burn the Kringle/Winter Warlock home.   

Peter Rabbit:   Irontail takes over Easter and it is not a good thing.

That's all the ones I can think of right away.

Edited by merylinkid
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Nestor the Long Haired Christmas Donkey:  Nestor's mamma dies saving him from freezing to death (she does not get better).  One of my all time favorites.

We had discussed this one at great length over at TWoP this past holiday season. It is sweet as can be, but wow, it was also traumatizing as a kid. (Didn't stop me from recently buying the DVD, though. Call me a masochist!)

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Ah, yeah. That jingle brings back memories of my childhood. It seemed to be stripped from broadcast once Golden Books (who was later swallowed by Classic Media) bought out the R-B library, which is a shame. The jingle should have stayed!

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I'll put in a word for The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, an unexpectedly faithful telling of L. Frank Baum's quite pagan origin story. The forest in which he was raised is located just outside Baum's land of Oz.

Apparently R-B did this twice? The one I remember and love is a stop-motion rendition, but at Amazon I also see a conventionally animated version with different voices. If so, what a strange circumstance.

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Love love love these stop-motion shows. It's too bad they stopped making these movies. I've bought the DVDs and a toy Rudoph that looks just like the real thing, only a bit larger. Now, if I could only find a toy Nestor the Donkey....THAT show still makes me cry every year. Hard to believe it's a kids' show; just gawdawful when his momma dies and the poor little guy is left alone out in the cold. Ugggghhh! *sniff* 

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Life and times of Santa Claus is the only one I won't watch.   I watched it once and said "What the hell acid trip Christmas story is this?"   Not that I have anything against pagan stories, but it was just too weird for me.

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The absolute weirdest one is their last one, "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July." It involves... basically, the grouchier, less horny twin brother of the Ice King from "Adventure Time," trying to steal the power of Santa with a strange, complicated plan involving a circus, a blizzard, an ice cream man in a hot air balloon, and evil reindeer from the Ghetto of Misfit Arctic-Themed Tenants, the Arora Borealis Fairy, and the same truly bland awful song performed by about four different people throughout the entire full-length movie.

I caught maybe the last half hour of it on TV once and was amazed by its very existence. But later, when I actually got it from Netflix and sat through the entire thing, I found most of it to be a bit of an ordeal. Worth taking a gander at for completists, though.

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The absolute weirdest one is their last one, "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July." It involves... basically, the grouchier, less horny twin brother of the Ice King from "Adventure Time," trying to steal the power of Santa with a strange, complicated plan involving a circus, a blizzard, an ice cream man in a hot air balloon, and evil reindeer from the Ghetto of Misfit Arctic-Themed Tenants, the Arora Borealis Fairy, and the same truly bland awful song performed by about four different people throughout the entire full-length movie.

I caught maybe the last half hour of it on TV once and was amazed by its very existence. But later, when I actually got it from Netflix and sat through the entire thing, I found most of it to be a bit of an ordeal. Worth taking a gander at for completists, though.

 

I found this special so blah, but then I'm one who is a purist and basically just loves the originals, i.e. Rudolph '64, Frosty '69, and so on. I can barely even tolerate Rudolph's Shiny New Year from the '70s which many seem to like. (And that baby bugged me, sorry!) But the Christmas in July special seemed like - I'd assume - some strange drug-induced trip left over from the '60s. Too weird for my blood!

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Awww I loved the baby New Year.   

 

But Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July was weird.   It screwed with the mythology too.   Apparently flying reindeer are not genetic anomlies created by the original ones eating magic feed corn.   Nope fairy magic is involved.   

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I loved the "Life and Adventures of Santa Claus!"  I thought I was the only one who remembered it.

 

I also liked the traditional animated ones like "The Night Before Christmas," "Mouse on the Mayflower", and "The First Easter Rabbit."

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And here I thought I knew all of the R-B specials! I have no recollection of "Mouse on the Mayflower" or "The First Easter Bunny" at all!

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They weren't stop motion ones, but regular animated ones.  We saw "Mouse and the Mayflower" at school for Thanksgiving and "The First Easter Rabbit" has Robert Morse as a rabbit.  Which is how I knew him before Mad Men!

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I find these hella disturbing; always have.  I  tried to watch one this past winter (since folks were so excited...I want to say it was Rudolph) and I didn't make it 10 minutes. Something in the animation is unsettling to me *shudder*

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I'm very curious about that anniversary edition of Rudolph because I've watched it pretty much every year and they seem to re-edit it periodically.  I firmly remember Hermie (or Herbie as he is called in some scenes) and Rudolph singing a song called "Fame and Fortune" when they first meet during which they climb over a snow sculpture of the head elf.  Some years, that's just... gone.  Meanwhile, "We are Santa's Elves" runs longer or shorter depending on the year.

 

They also cut Jessica's song from Santa Claus is Coming to Town a lot with good reason:  that's some trippy stuff...

 

And yet the "this is man's work" and "get the women back to Christmastown" lines survive... sigh.  A true sign of the era in which the show was created.  For me, these shows just aren't complete without the commercial breaks of Santa riding down snowy hills on a Norelco shaver sled. (Noelco!)

 

If anybody here is a big Beverly Hills 90210 fan, I always thought that the kid who played Carly's son in season 8 looked like a Rankin Bass character brought to life.

Edited by Qoass

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They also cut Jessica's song from Santa Claus is Coming to Town a lot with good reason:  that's some trippy stuff...

I laughed so hard the first time I saw that.

 

 

I firmly remember Hermie (or Herbie as he is called in some scenes) and Rudolph singing a song called "Fame and Fortune" when they first meet during which they climb over a snow sculpture of the head elf.  Some years, that's just... gone.

I wonder why that is?

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To any Rudolph enthusiasts, I recommend you buy this particular version of the show if just to see the long-missing/deleted from the CBS annual airing peppermint mine scene. I'd HOPE the 50th Anniversary version would include this, but who knows? (IMO, it should also include the original '64 credits which were different as I had read that it was pre-Island of Misfit Toys resolution and the special was edited due to outcry wondering what became of the toys...)

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I have never heard of a peppermint mine scene!  I won't be buying that set though because I've never cared for Frosty the Snowman let alone Frosty Returns (don't hit me!) so it wouldn't be a good value for me.

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You don't need the 50th Anniversary edition to see the Peppermint scene. I have the regular ole DVD of just Rudolph, and it's included. Don't know why CBS edited that out in its airings.

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Always liked the R-B closing logo:

ETA:  Thanks, AimingForYoko!

  I always got a little scared of it because it sounded to me like it was a toy that was about to explode in our faces if we hung around much longer or got too close to it. LOL

 

 As for the 'Jessica' song in 'Santa Clause Coming to Town'? Yeah that was a weird one but I guess they put it in there so the tiny viewers' teen big sisters/babysitters would think this was too 'cool' to change the channel to something else before the show was over.  LOL

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Wasn't Rudolph's Shiny New Year kind of freaky too? Why do I remember a caveman & a vulture? Methinks there were too many drugs going around R-B.

What about Mad Monster Party? We LOVED that one as kids, esp. Phyllis Diller.

I really love the R-B movies. Mr Jumbo is referred to as "Bumble" whenever I need him to get anything down from a high shelf. Then he puts his fingers in his mouth & chews on them.

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I always got a little scared of it because it sounded to me like it was a toy that was about to explode in our faces if we hung around much longer or got too close to it. LOL

 

Aww! LOL! But I was never afraid. Just sad, because it meant the end and then my parents usually made me go to bed.  :-)  (One that DID scare me, that Family Guy parodied, was that Viacom V just heading straight for me as a deep voice boomed VIACOM. UGH.)

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Time to bring back this thread. With Thanksgiving in two days, the holiday specials are right around the corner. I did a search and came up with a fairly complete list of when the Rankin-Bass specials will air this holiday season. 

 

Friday, Nov. 28
Frosty the Snowman, 9 p.m., CBS
Saturday, Nov. 29
The Story of Santa Claus, 9 p.m., CBS
Monday, Dec. 1
Jack Frost (1979), 4 p.m., ABC Family
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, 5 p.m. ABC Family
Tuesday, Dec. 2
Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, 4 p.m., ABC Family
Thursday, Dec. 4
Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, 5 p.m., ABC Family
Friday, Dec. 5
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, 10:30 p.m., ABC Family
Saturday, Dec. 6
Frosty The Snowman, 8 p.m., CBS
Jack Frost (1979), 1 a.m., ABC Family
Sunday, Dec. 7
The Year Without a Santa Claus, 11 p.m., ABC Family
Monday, Dec. 8
The Year Without a Santa Claus, 5 p.m., ABC Family
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, 10 p.m., ABC Family
Tuesday, Dec. 9
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, 5 p.m., ABC Family
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, 8 p.m., ABC
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 8 p.m., CBS
Wednesday, Dec. 10
The Year Without a Santa Claus, 6 p.m., ABC Family
Friday, Dec. 12
Jack Frost (1979), 4:30 p.m., ABC Family
Saturday, Dec. 13
Frosty Returns, 9:30 p.m., CBS
Wednesday, Dec. 17
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, 5:30 p.m., ABC Family
Saturday, Dec. 20
The Year Without a Santa Claus, 11 a.m., ABC Family
Sunday, Dec. 21
The Little Drummer Boy, 1 p.m., ABC Family
Monday, Dec. 22
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, 5 p.m., ABC Family
Tuesday, Dec. 23
Santa Baby, 10:30 a.m., ABC Family
Thursday, Dec. 25
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, 8 a.m., ABC Family

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So there isn't a blu-ray out currently that has all the deleted scenes and songs from Rudolph, is that right?

This version has the restored peppermint mine scene with Yukon Cornelius. Not sure what other scenes were deleted and if they are included.

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No Drummer Boy II or the First Christmas Snow.   The First Christmas Snow has Angela Landsbury voicing a nun.   And if you aren't crying by the end of it, you have no heart.   Plus why on earth is the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" only showing on Christmas day.   The name kinda says when it should be played.   But that's just me.   

 

I am a completist so I have seen them all.   But can skip a few.   The Life and Times of Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, the Miser Brothers Christmas (WHY did they do this?), and the original Rudolph.   There I said it.   The Original Rudolph bugs because the casual bullying by SANTA no less seems accepted.   Until they find out the "misfits" are useful.   What would have happened if there was no snowstorm?   Would calling Rudolph a misfit still have been okay?   

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No Drummer Boy II or the First Christmas Snow.   The First Christmas Snow has Angela Landsbury voicing a nun.   And if you aren't crying by the end of it, you have no heart.   Plus why on earth is the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" only showing on Christmas day.   The name kinda says when it should be played.   But that's just me.   

 

I am a completist so I have seen them all.   But can skip a few.   The Life and Times of Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, the Miser Brothers Christmas (WHY did they do this?), and the original Rudolph.   There I said it.   The Original Rudolph bugs because the casual bullying by SANTA no less seems accepted.   Until they find out the "misfits" are useful.   What would have happened if there was no snowstorm?   Would calling Rudolph a misfit still have been okay?   

 

Awww, merylinkid! I would have liked yer post except, I, err, hmm...in vewy small voice love the original Rudolph*, Santa's meanness, notwithstanding.

 

Other than that, I AGREE with the rest of your post 1000%.

 

*Don't judge me.

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Santa being a total dick is the thing I love best about the original. (And Rudolph's dad is no better. And up yours, Fireball). I do want the ending changed, though, so that Rudolph and HermyHerby tell Santa to fuck off, depose King Moonraker, and live happily ever after on the Island of Misfit Toys with Yukon Cornelius, his sled dogs, and the Bumble.

 

I may have given this more thought than it deserves.

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Rudolph had it tough.

 

<--- But poor Nestor the Christmas Donkey had it even worse as far as I'm concerned. If ANY animal gained the power to tell the townsfolk to go to hell, it would be him. And ironic, too, considering the context of that (depressing, sad!) special!

 

At least Rudolph's mother and dick of a dad lived and he left town by choice...

 

Yes, I am in need of a life for Christmas, thanks for asking!

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Watching Santa Claus is Comin' To Town yesterday made me sad because of Mickey Rooney.  He did a great Santa.  And BTW I don't consider that Santa in any relation to the one from Rudolph, because all the other sequels/spinoffs to Rudolph do not exist to me.

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The Santa is different?   Have you compared the sharp-faced, THIN, dark haired Mrs. Claus in Rudolph to the others?   In Santa Claus is coming to town, she is a hot red head who got plump and still had red-gold streaks even in the white when she was old.   In The Year Without a Santa Claus, she is all white haired.   I think her name changed too.    She is Jessica.   No other name, thank you very much.

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