Thursday, Dec 22, 2011
by Ned Wazowski
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, 1970
You'd better watch out, you'd better not pout!
Sometimes when people say "Christmas Special," they really mean a Rankin/Bass Christmas Special. With their recognizable visual style and their "Animagic" stop-motion techniques using wooden models, Rankin/Bass specials are practically the end all, be all of holiday specials. And with 18 specials just for Christmas alone, they certainly know what they're doing.
If you watch only one Rankin/Bass special this year, it's got to be Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. It takes off from the popular song, expanding the story to tell how little Kris Kringle came to be Santa Claus, and retcons several Christmas myths. In addition to the usual lineup of Rankin/Bass voices, the special includes veteran voice actor Paul Frees as Burgermeister Meisterburger, Keenan Wynn as the Winter Warlock, Mickey Rooney as Santa Claus, and Fred Astaire (simply adorable in stop-motion) as story-teller S.D. Kluger.
If you can't have a white Christmas this year, enjoy the "Animagic" snow of this holiday classic.
Winter: You mustn't mind the tree monsters. Their bark is worse than their bite!
Order this real gem from the Silver Age of comics for the out-of-this-world price of $11.95....