Rudolph's Shiny New Year
|Rudolph's Shiny New Year|
|Developed by||Rankin Bass|
|Starring||Billie Mae Richards
|Narrated by||Red Skelton|
|Country of origin||US|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Rankin/Bass Productions|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Original channel||ABC (1976) ABC Family (present)|
|Original run||1976 – present|
|Preceded by||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)|
|Followed by||Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979)|
Rudolph has just come back from delivering Christmas presents with Santa Claus when he is asked by Father Time to find the missing Baby New Year before midnight on New Year's Eve. The baby, named Happy, ran away because everyone laughed at his large ears, although no one meant it in a cruel way. Unless Happy is returned before December 31 to take his position as the new year, the current year will not end and the date will perpetually remain December 31 forever. If this happens, the evil buzzard named Aeon will rule the world forever.
Father Time speculates that Happy is hiding out in the "Archipelago of Last Years", where the Old Years retire and rule over an island styled to resemble the year over which they ruled. Sent to assist in this journey are some agents of Father Time including General Ticker (a military clock), The Great Quarter-Past-Five (a camel with a large timepiece in his hump), and Big Ben (a whale with a clock attached to its tail).
Upon arrival in the Archipelagos, Rudolph first travels to the island belonging to the caveman One Million B.C. ("O.M." for short). O.M. inhabits an island anachronistically inhabited with friendly dinosaurs and other prehistoric and long-extinct creatures. As Rudolph and his friends search for the baby, they repeatedly encounter the villain of the special, a giant buzzard named Aeon. Aeon is destined to live for exactly one aeon after which he will turn into ice and snow and disintegrate. As his particular aeon will end at the turn of January 1 of the New Year, he plans to kidnap Happy to prevent the year from ending and thus prevent his predestined death on January 1. After other off-screen visits to the islands of 4000 B.C., 1492, 1893, and 1965 have been completed without success, Rudolph and O.M. head for the island of Sir 1023 (pronounced ten-two-three), a knight whose island is filled with medieval trappings along with several fairy tale and Mother Goose characters. The group then travels to the island of 1776, which reflects Colonial America and is ruled over by "Sev" (AKA 1776), who resembles Benjamin Franklin.
Following Happy's seeming rejection on the Island of 1776, Aeon kidnaps the baby and takes him to his lair on the Island of No-Name, which is said to be located "due north of the North Pole". The group (which now includes O.M., Sir 1023, and Sev) now leaves the Archipelego in pursuit. Catching up to the buzzard, they attempt to rescue the baby. However, Aeon thwarts them by sending an avalanche down on the group and trapping them inside giant snowballs. Managing to melt his way free using his nose, Rudolph climbs up to Aeon's nest where he finds Happy who refuses to leave. Rudolph shows Happy his nose and tells him his own story of being shunned because of his "non-conformity" before asking Happy to let him see his ears. Happy does so, and Rudolph, like everyone else before him, laughs at the sight. Although Happy is again upset, Rudolph explains that the sight of Happy's ears had made him feel so wonderful that he had to laugh out loud, just like it had done with everyone else.
As Happy shouts out with joy at this declaration, Aeon is awakened. Rudolph quickly instructs Happy to take off his hat and leave it off for good. At the sight of Happy's large ears, Aeon bursts into uncontrollable laughter which sends him tumbling down the side of the mountain and into the snowball, freeing Sev, O.M. and Sir 1023. Rudolph realizes that Aeon, since he is now so full of warmth and happiness, that it would be impossible for him to turn to ice and snow. With Santa's help, Happy is returned to Father Time's castle just in time for the beginning of the new year, which is designated "nineteen-wonderful". After the celebration, everyone wishes the viewers a happy new year and Rudolph adds, "And may it be shiny, too!"
Archipelago of Last years 
Among the islands of the Archipelagos of Last Years are:
- 1,000,000 BC: Represented as a prehistoric island that consists of dinosaurs and cavemen. O.M. lives here.
- 4000 BC: Rudolph mentions that all its inhabitants wanted to do was build pyramids.
- 1023: Represented as a medieval island filled with fairytale characters. The year 1023 is said to be when all the well-known fairy tales and nursery rhymes actually happened. Sir 1023 lives here.
- 1492: Rudolph mentions that the people on that island were too busy discovering things to help them (a reference to the year of Christopher Columbus's voyage to the New World).
- 1776: Represented as a Colonial American island that celebrates American Independence Day on a daily basis. 1776 (AKA "Sev") lives here.
- 1893: Rudolph mentions that the inhabitants have never heard of Happy due to the Panic of 1893.
- 1965: Rudolph stated that island was "too noisy" to search for Happy. This is theoretically in reference to Beatlemania (which revolved around the British Invasion of The Beatles) and growing political unrest in the United States brought on by inner city rioting and the escalation of the Vietnam War.
- Red Skelton – Father Time (Narrator), Baby Bear
- Billie Mae Richards – Rudolph
- Morey Amsterdam – One Million BC
- Frank Gorshin – Sir 1023, Quarter Past Five
- Paul Frees – 1776, Santa Claus, General Ticker, Aeon the Buzzard, Humpty Dumpty
- Don Messick – Papa Bear, Rumpelstiltskin
- Harold Peary – Big Ben the Whale
DVD details 
Released with The Year Without a Santa Claus
- Release date: October 31, 2000
- Full Screen
- Region: 1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Audio tracks: English
- Second extra: Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
Production notes 
- In one scene, the group is on a boat using a calendar page as a sail. The calendar page is "August 1928", a reference to writer Romeo Muller's August 7, 1928 birthdate.
- In the "The Moving Finger Writes" sequence, the calendar dates seen accurately reflect a common year starting on Monday.
- Other than Rudolph and Santa, none of the other characters from the original special appear in speaking parts. Rudolph's parents and Clarice are seen only in flashback and the rest of the Santa's team is seen when Santa delivers Happy to Father Time.
- The special currently airs annually on ABC Family as part of its 25 Days of Christmas programming block. It is occasionally aired on the parent network, ABC, in the week between Christmas and New Years Day.
- The reindeer puppet used for Rudolph in this special was significantly different from the one used in the original special, most notably in that it had a wider, rounder mouth and a more blunt face as opposed to the elongated model used in the original. This model was used again for the 1979 finale Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.
- While Rudolph's Shiny New Year was filmed after Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer, Rudolph appears in this film as a fawn, without a full set of antlers. This seems to be out of continuity with the end of Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, where he has fully grown antlers.
- The camel puppet who carries Rudolph and General Ticker to Father Time's castle is also used as "Joshua" in The Little Drummer Boy (another Rankin-Bass production). Big Ben appears briefly at the end of Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.
- Rudolph's Shiny New Year at the Internet Movie Database
- ABC Feature Page for Rudolph's Shiny New Year
- Archived ABC Feature Page for Rudolph's Shiny New Year