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brb1006 t1_itrcf01 wrote

For those curious, AMC still airs Rankin/Bass' other Christmas Specials after Thanksgiving for their "Best Christmas Ever Block" and usually has an entire weekend dedicated to airing all Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials post-1974 when other Rankin/Bass specials aren't airing on weekdays known as "Rankin Bass Weekends". FreeForm (formerly "ABC Family") also airs the original Rudolph and Frosty specials besides CBS alongside Santa Claus Is Comin to Town which also airs on ABC. FreeForm airs both Rudolph and Santa Claus Is Comin To Town in it's unedited format. They also air the lesser-known special "The Little Drummer Boy" from 1968 while it's sequel airs on AMC.

While I still dearly love the original Rudolph special, I'm very fond of the 1976 follow up "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" despite Hermey, Clarice, and the other characters absence (not counting Santa). As strange as that special is (in a good way), it has my all-time favorite moment from a Rankin/Bass Special.

It's when Rudolph finally meets Happy the Baby New Year near the end of the special after One Million, Sev, and Sir 1023 end up trapped inside giant snowballs after Aeon notices them. Rudolph decides to talk to Happy about how similar his situation with his big ears is with Rudolph's red nose. He actually makes Happy not ashamed for his ears and how people only laughed at him because it made them feel happy after telling him the story of his red nose. That scene alone is why I always tune in to watch it when it's airing because of how genuinely sweet and heartfelt Rudolph and Happy's interactions is. To a similar degree, Red Skeleton's performance as Father Time alongside his singing throughout the special because of how welcoming and charming it is.

I don't care if Rudolph's Shiny New Year has gained mixed reception from Rankin/Bass and Christmas Special fans. I will defend that special until the day I die! I still love the musical numbers all sung by Father Time especially "The Moving Finger Writers" and "Turn Back The Year". Red Skeleton's role is on par with Burl Ives in terms of perfectly capturing that timeless Christmas feeling to boot.


inkista t1_itsgphc wrote

Just me, though, Rudolph's Shiny New Year looks like a dramatic masterpiece compared to the mess that is Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July, even with Ethel Merman's singing. ;)

The really hard to find Rankin-Bass holiday specials are The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold and Pinocchio's Christmas (which I believe do end up on Freeform/AMC some years), and the non-Christmas ones, Mad Monster Party and The Easter Bunny is Comin' to Town (where Fred Astaire reprises his mailman role).

And the two more obscure Rankin-Bass specials I will defend to the death are probably The Story of the First Christmas Snow (Angela Lansbury!), and Nestor, The Long-Eared Donkey. :)

But aside from the Japanese stop-motion holiday specials like Rudolph, Rankin-Bass's Japanese 2D drawn animation movies of The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit were what grabbed me the hardest.


brb1006 t1_itsppd1 wrote

You're almost correct, "The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold", "Pinocchio's Christmas", "The Story of the First Christmas Snow", and "Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey" all air on AMC during the Christmas (since all post-1974 Rankin/Bass specials are owned by Warner Bros) alongside Rudolph's Shiny New Year and "A Year Without A Santa Claus". Glad to know the lesser-known Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials still air on television.

I also loved "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey" because of how perfectly executed they handled talking animals set during The Nativity. To this day, I can't think of any other fictional donkey that looked as adorable as Nestor. Fun Fact, the special is actually the voice acting debut of Brenda Vaccaro who voiced Tilly (best-known as Bunnie Bravo from Johnny Bravo and Scruple from the Smurfs).


Bobby_Marks2 t1_ittbp54 wrote

They did one way back called Cricket on the Hearth, which is both not a great film but also the greatest messed up kids movie ever. I love it for two reasons:

  • The cricket is kidnapped by a bunch of animal thugs, who crate him up and put him on a boat to China. They ask the boat captain for payment, and he blows them all away. In a kids' movie.
  • It presents toys as living creatures, which hide and stay still when humans are around and then go on adventures otherwise. Roughly 20-25 years before Toy Story.

brb1006 t1_ittgen3 wrote

They also made an animated series starring Smokey Bear.


Xemone t1_itreoir wrote

Aw, that's terrible. And so close to the holidays, too. :( Rest in peace, and thanks for the memories.


brb1006 t1_itrmnbb wrote

He passed just a few months after Paul Coker Jr's passing (designer for Rankin/Bass) and weeks after Angela Lansbury (who voiced a Nun in "The First Christmas Snow").


AwesomeManatee t1_itt46st wrote

In addition to all of the Christmas specials he made with Arthur Rankin Jr, they also directed an animated TV movie version of The Hobbit which will always be a personal favorite of mine. The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


--Blackjack- t1_itsmbax wrote

Damn. The Year Without a Santa Claus, indeed.


brb1006 t1_ittgmbn wrote

Going to be rewatching the airings of Rudolph's Shiny New Year, the original 1964 Rudolph special, and The Story of the First Christmas Snow in honor of both Jules Bass and Angela Lansbury (loved her cover of "White Christmas").


lucillep t1_itswc44 wrote

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol was my favorite. Still holds up. Gppd songs, too (and razzleberry dressing).


brb1006 t1_ittghnp wrote

Wait did Jules Bass work on that special?


ComoSeaYeah t1_itvvzol wrote

I’ve been trying to find some information about his ancestors (genealogy research) because his surname is the same as one close branch in mine but so far I haven’t been able to find much about his family who first emigrated to the US.