The Year Without a Santa Claus

The Year Without a Santa Claus is a 1974 stop motion animated Christmas television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. The story is based on Phyllis McGinley's 1956 book of the same name. It is narrated by Shirley Booth (her final acting credit before her retirement from acting) and starring the voices of Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, and George S. Irving.[1] It was originally broadcast on December 10, 1974, on ABC.[2]

The Year Without a Santa Claus
Official logo
Based onThe Year Without a Santa Claus
by Phyllis McGinley
Written byWilliam Keenan
Directed byJules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
Voices ofShirley Booth
Mickey Rooney
Dick Shawn
George S. Irving
Narrated byShirley Booth
ComposerMaury Laws
Country of originUnited States
ProducersJules Bass
Arthur Rankin Jr.
CinematographyAkikazu Kono
Ichiro Komuro
Running time51 mins
Production companyRankin/Bass Productions
Original release
ReleaseDecember 10, 1974 (1974-12-10)

Plot edit

Santa Claus wakes up with a cold sometime before Christmas Eve. When the Christmas elf doctor sarcastically says that nobody believes in him anymore, Santa decides to forego his annual Christmas Eve run. Mrs. Claus enlists two Christmas elf brothers named Jingle and Jangle to find evidence of Christmas spirit in hopes of changing Santa's mind.

Jingle and Jangle set out with Santa's youngest reindeer Vixen and come upon a small community in the southern United States called Southtown. However, their efforts at finding Christmas spirit are in vain and Vixen is caught by a dog-catcher and taken to the pound.

Santa hears Vixen is missing and travels to Southtown while disguised as a civilian named "Klaus." While there, he meets a boy named Ignatius "Iggy" Thistlewhite and his family. When Santa leaves to retrieve Vixen, Iggy realizes his true identity and resolves to help Jingle and Jangle.

The town's police officer refers Jingle, Jangle, and Iggy to the town's mayor who laughs at their story. He agrees to free Vixen if they can prove they are elves by making it snow in Southtown on Christmas.

Iggy joins Mrs. Claus when she arrives to pick up Jingle and Jangle. Together, they visit the Miser Brothers.

Unbeknownst to Mrs. Claus, Jingle and Jangle, or Iggy, Santa Claus has already rescued Vixen from the dog pound and is on his way up to the North Pole.

They ask Snow Miser, who controls cold weather, to send snow to Southtown for a day. He is agreeable, but says he cannot as it is part of Heat Miser's territory. They then ask Heat Miser who pretends that he will comply if Snow Miser turns the North Pole over to him in exchange. He actually plans to pick another fight with his more popular brother and it works. Mrs. Claus states that she has no other choice but to "go over their heads" as the Miser Brothers blame each other for her going to see their mother. This leads to Mrs. Claus visiting Mother Nature who convinces her sons to compromise.

As Christmas approaches, the world's children send their own presents to Santa, setting off international headlines. One little girl is saddened by Santa's decision to skip his Christmas Eve journey, and she writes that she'll have a "Blue Christmas".

Touched by the outpouring of caring and generosity, Santa awakens from a sleep and declares "I've dreamed unhappy things!" (contributing to a theory that the entire film was a dream[3]). He then gets up from his bed to dress himself, hitches his reindeer up and his sleigh loaded with gifts, and he takes off to make his Christmas Eve journey after all, bringing the joy of Christmas to the children of the world.

On Christmas Day, the children of Southtown were very happy ("Here Comes Santa Claus") with their presents they found under their trees; Ignatius even discovers that he's been given a bicycle, while he gives his parents their presents.

As the special closes, Mrs. Claus remarks that somehow, "yearly, newly, faithfully and truly somehow Santa Claus always comes", and the soundtrack's chorus sings "There'll Be No Year Without a Santa Claus".

Voice cast edit

  • Shirley Booth as Mrs. Claus
  • Mickey Rooney as Santa Claus
  • Dick Shawn as Snow Miser
  • George S. Irving as Heat Miser
  • Bob McFadden as Jingle Bells and Elf Doctor
  • Bradley Bolke as Jangle Bells and Police Officer
  • Rhoda Mann as Mother Nature and Mrs. Thistlewhite
  • Ron Marshall as Mr. Thistlewhite and Mayor of Southtown
  • Colin Duffy as Ignatius "Iggy" Thistlewhite
  • Christine Winter as the Blue Christmas Girl
  • The Wee Winter Singers as the Children Choir

Songs edit

  1. "Sleigh Ride" (instrumental)
  2. "The Year Without a Santa Claus"
  3. "I Could Be Santa Claus"
  4. "I Believe in Santa Claus"
  5. "It's Gonna Snow Right Here in Dixie"
  6. "The Snow Miser Song"
  7. "The Heat Miser Song"
  8. "Blue Christmas"
  9. "Sleigh Ride" (instrumental)
  10. "Here Comes Santa Claus"
  11. "The Year Without a Santa Claus (reprise)"

Television rights edit

An advertisement for a rerun of the special in 1998.

The special premiered in 1974 on ABC and aired annually on Freeform during its 25 Days of Christmas programming block until 2017. As of 2018, AMC: American Movie Classics currently airs the special uncut as part of the Best Christmas Ever block.[4] Warner Bros. Entertainment currently distributes the special through their ownership of the post-1974 Rankin/Bass Productions library.

Home video edit

The special was first released on VHS by Vestron Video on September 5, 1991, as part of their Christmas Classics Series, which is distributed by Family Home Entertainment. Warner Home Video released the special on VHS on September 2, 1992, and re-released it on VHS on September 28, 1999. The special was then released on DVD on October 31, 2000, and re-released on the Deluxe Edition DVD on October 2, 2007. Warner Home Video released the special on Blu-ray on October 5, 2010, making it the first Rankin/Bass production to be released on that format.

DVD details edit

  • Release date: October 31, 2000 (Original DVD), January 17, 2004 (30th Anniversary Edition DVD), October 2, 2007 (Deluxe Edition DVD), October 5, 2010 (Blu-ray)
  • Full Screen
  • Region: 1
  • Aspect Ratios: 1.33:1
  • Audio tracks: English
  • Special Features:

Live-action remake edit

A live-action remake of The Year Without a Santa Claus premiered on NBC on December 11, 2006, and was released on DVD the following day.[5] It follows largely the same plot as the original special.

Paul Mavis, for Drunk TV, wrote, "A live-action remake from The Wolper Company and Warner Bros. of the 1974 Rankin/Bass stop motion animated classic, The Year Without a Santa Claus is a nauseating, angry, joyless little holiday confection sure to poison any child unlucky enough to chance upon it. This hate-filled stocking stuffer has nothing but contempt for its intended audience, promoting the worst possible beliefs about people, while cloaking itself, incredibly, in the fake guise of a meaningful lesson about the holidays: the gall that the cretinous makers of this film have is really quite audacious."[6]

Cast edit

Sequel edit

A sequel, titled A Miser Brothers' Christmas, was produced in 2008 by Warner Bros. Animation and Cuppa Coffee Studios, and it also used stop-motion animation. Mickey Rooney, age 88, reprised his role as Santa Claus, and George S. Irving, age 86, reprised his role as Heat Miser. Juan Chioran and Catherine Disher replaced Dick Shawn and Shirley Booth as Snow Miser and Mrs. Claus, respectively, Shawn and Booth having died prior to the film's production.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. pp. 348–349. ISBN 9781476672939.
  2. ^ Woolery, George W. (1989). Animated TV Specials: The Complete Directory to the First Twenty-Five Years, 1962-1987. Scarecrow Press. pp. 461–463. ISBN 0-8108-2198-2. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  3. ^ RoyalBlueWriter (December 1, 2020). "'The Year Without A Santa Claus' is all Santa's dream". r/FanTheories. Reddit. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  5. ^ The Year Without a Santa Claus starring John Goodman, Chris Kattan, Ethan Suplee, Eddie Griffin, Carol Kane from Warner Home Video on DVD – Widescreen, Original Aspect Ratio – 1.78 Archived August 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Year Without a Santa Claus: Drunk TV Review of the DVD Video

Notes edit

  1. ^ Recurring characters include Rudolph (voiced by Billie Mae Richards), Santa Claus (voiced by Stan Francis), and Mrs. Claus (voiced by Peg Dixon) in this special. Various actors portray the other reindeer.
  2. ^ Recurring characters include Frosty the Snowman (voiced by Jackie Vernon), Santa (voiced by Paul Frees), and Professor Hinkle Tinkerton (voiced by Billy De Wolfe) in this special. Santa's reindeer also feature.
  3. ^ Recurring characters include Santa (voiced by Mickey Rooney), Mrs. Jessica Claus (voiced by Robie Lester), and S.D. Kluger (voiced by Fred Astaire) in this special. Rudolph and Santa's other reindeer also feature.
  4. ^ Recurring characters include the Easter Bunny (voiced by Casey Kasem), and Santa (voiced by Frees) in this special. Santa's reindeer also feature.
  5. ^ Recurring characters in this special include Santa (voiced by Allen Swift), alongside his featured reindeer.
  6. ^ Recurring characters include Santa (voiced by Rooney), Mrs. Claus (voiced by Shirley Booth), Snow Miser (voiced by Dick Shawn), Heat Miser (voiced by George S. Irving), and Mother Nature (voiced by Rhoda Mann) in this special. Rudolph and Santa's other reindeer also feature.
  7. ^ Recurring characters include Easter Bunny (voiced by Robert Morse and Burl Ives), and Santa (voiced by Frees) in this special. Santa's reindeer also feature.
  8. ^ Recurring characters include Frosty (voiced by Vernon), Mrs. Crystal Frosty (voiced by Shelley Winters), and Jack Frost (voiced by Frees) in this special.
  9. ^ Recurring characters include Rudolph (voiced by Richards) and Santa (voiced by Frees) in this special. Santa's other reindeer also feature.
  10. ^ Recurring characters include Easter Bunny (voiced by Skip Hinnant), and S.D. Kluger (voiced by Astaire) in this special.
  11. ^ Recurring characters in this special include Santa (voiced by Frees), alongside Rudolph and his other featured reindeer.
  12. ^ Recurring characters in this special include Santa Claus during a scene which compares the Ghost of Christmas Present to him (both characters were voiced by Frees).
  13. ^ The recurring character is Jack Frost (voiced by Robert Morse) in this special.
  14. ^ Recurring characters include Rudolph (voiced by Richards), Frosty (voiced by Vernon), Santa (voiced by Rooney), Mrs. Claus (voiced by Darlene Conley), Crystal (voiced by Winters), and Jack Frost (voiced by Frees) in this special. Santa's other reindeer also feature.
  15. ^ The recurring characters in the special include Santa (voiced by Swift), alongside his featured reindeer.
  16. ^ The recurring character is Frosty (voiced by John Goodman) in this special. Mother Nature is also referenced in the short.
  17. ^ Recurring characters include Rudolph (voiced by Kathleen Barr), Santa (voiced by Garry Chalk), and Mrs. Claus (also voiced by Barr) in this film. Santa's other reindeer, and various other characters from the 1964 original also feature.
  18. ^ Recurring characters include Frosty (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke), and Professor Tinkerton (voiced by Kath Soucie) in this special.
  19. ^ Recurring characters include Snow Miser (voiced by Juan Chioran), Heat Miser (voiced by Irving), Santa (voiced by Rooney), Mrs. Claus (voiced by Catherine Disher), and Mother Earth (voiced by Patricia Hamilton) in this special. Santa's reindeer also feature.

External links edit