The Year Without a Santa Claus
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|The Year Without a Santa Claus|
|Directed by||Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
|Produced by||Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
|Written by||William Keenan|
George S. Irving
|Music by||Maury Laws|
|Production company||Rankin-Bass Productions|
|Running time||48 mins|
|Preceded by||Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town|
|Followed by||A Miser Brothers' Christmas|
The special is narrated by Shirley Booth (as Mrs. Claus). Santa Claus (voiced by Mickey Rooney, who voiced the same character in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, of which this special is a semi-sequel) wakes up with a cold and is told by his doctor, who thinks that nobody cares about Christmas any more (even though he wishes Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus a merry Christmas), that he should make some changes to his routine on Christmas. He decides to take a holiday, and it is up to the elves, Jingle and Jangle, to find people who still believe in Santa Claus. The elves, however, run into trouble along the way flying between Heat and Snow Miser who are fighting, when they get shot down and are lost in Southtown, a small town in the Southern United States. They get a ticket from a Police Officer who does not know them or their baby reindeer, Vixen. They get accused of "riding a vixen the wrong way on a one way street, crossing the White Line, and wearing funny looking clothes on a Sunday." When they try to disguise Vixen as a dog, Vixen is mistaken for a lost dog and is sent to the pound, where she sickens in the heat. They befriend a young boy named Ignatius Thistlewhite ("Iggy" for short) and all visit the skeptical Mayor of Southtown, who laughs hysterically at their story but agrees to free the reindeer if Jingle and Jangle prove that they are Santa's magical elves by making it snow in Southtown on Christmas Day.
Figuring into the storyline are two of the best-remembered Rankin/Bass characters, Heat Miser (voiced by George S. Irving) and his brother Snow Miser (voiced by Dick Shawn) who are opposite forces of Nature and are constantly at war against each other. Kind Mrs. Claus comes to ask both of them to work out a compromise to permit a Christmas snow in South Town, U.S.A, Heat Miser's territory; he agrees only if Snow Miser will surrender the North Pole to his control, only to hear the obviously offended Snow Miser shout in shock "COOPERATE?! 'Surrender the North Pole' YOU CALL 'COOPERATE?!'". When they refuse to cooperate, Mrs. Claus goes to their mother, Mother Nature, who forces them to compromise.
Meanwhile, Santa dresses in "civilian" clothes in order to find and rescue Vixen and ends up finding that some people still believe in him and in the spirit of Christmas, especially when the world's children decide they will make him presents if he plans on taking a holiday. The children's decision sets off headlines around the world.
One little girl, however, is sad to miss Santa on Christmas Eve, and she writes that she'll have a "Blue Christmas." Touched by all the evidence he has seen of caring and generosity, Santa decides to pack the sleigh and make his Christmas Eve journey after all, including a public stop in a snowy South Town.
The special premiered in 1974 on ABC where it aired annually until 1980, and still airs on the ABC Family cable network. Warner Bros. Television is the show's current distributor, through their ownership of the post-1974 Rankin/Bass TV library.
- Release date: October 31, 2000
- Full Screen
- Region: 1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Audio tracks: English
- Special Features:
A 90-minute 2006 live-action remake of the Rankin-Bass classic The Year Without a Santa Claus which premiered on NBC December 11, 2006. A widescreen DVD was released on December 12, 2006 (UPC 085391115120).
This remake follows the same basic concept as the original: Santa, disillusioned by children's lack of belief in him and in the spirit of giving, decides not to deliver toys this Christmas Eve, despite the arguments by Mrs. Claus and two of his helper-elves, Jingle and Jangle. They decide to provide Santa with some proof that children still believe and that they still deserve toys from Santa, so the elves visit the United States in search of Christmas spirit.
This 2008 sequel used stop-motion animation like the original. It was animated by Cuppa Coffee Studios. Mickey Rooney, at age 88, reprised his role as Santa Claus; and George S. Irving, at age 86, reprised his role as Heat Miser. Snow Miser, originally voiced by Dick Shawn who died in 1987, was voiced by Juan Chioran. Mrs. Claus, originally voiced by Shirley Booth who died in 1992, was voiced by Catherine Disher.
In popular culture
- The Year Without a Santa Claus at the Internet Movie Database
- Review by critic Jayson Harsin at Blogcritics Magazine