A Miser Brothers' Christmas
|A Miser Brothers' Christmas|
|Written by||Eddie Guzelian|
|Directed by||Dave Barton Thomas|
George S. Irving
|Theme music composer||William Kevin Anderson|
|Country of origin||United States
|Running time||49 mins|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Animation
Cuppa Coffee Studios
Warner Home Video
|Original network||ABC Family|
|Original release||December 13, 2008|
|Preceded by||The Year Without a Santa Claus|
A Miser Brothers' Christmas is a stop motion spin-off special based on some of the characters from the 1974 Rankin-Bass special The Year Without a Santa Claus. It is the final television special by Rankin-Bass. Distributed by Warner Bros. Animation under their Warner Premiere label (the rights holders of the post-1973 Rankin Bass library) and Toronto-based Cuppa Coffee Studios, the one-hour special premiered on ABC Family on Saturday, December 13, 2008 during the network's annual The 25 Days of Christmas programming. Mickey Rooney and George S. Irving reprised their respective roles as Santa Claus and Heat Miser at ages 88 and 86. Snow Miser, originally portrayed by Dick Shawn who died in 1987, was voiced by Juan Chioran, while Mrs. Claus, voiced by Shirley Booth in the original, was portrayed by Catherine Disher (because Booth had died in 1992). The movie aimed to emulate the Rankin/Bass animation style. This is the last Christmas special to feature Mickey Rooney as Santa Claus, as he died in 2014.
Santa's chief mechanic, Tinsel, makes a new Super-Sleigh, which Santa decides to test the next day. Meanwhile, the feuding Miser Brothers attend their family reunion, where their brother, North Wind (voiced by Brad Adamson), passively asks Mother Nature what might happen if Santa would be unable to complete his duties on Christmas. She responds that North Wind would take control instead. Self-absorbed and vain, North Wind becomes fixated with the idea of replacing Santa Claus as a way to achieve personal glory. Despite his dashing appearance and veneer of flattery and devotion toward his mother, North Wind is far more malevolent than either of his brothers. Beginning his machinations, North Wind sends two minions to sabotage the Super-Sleigh. The crippled sleigh causes Santa to injure his back after falling in the middle of a fight between the Miser Brothers as he unintentionally crosses into their domain.
Despite what she told North Wind before, Mother Nature assigns the Miser Brothers the responsibility of running the toy factory after they were blamed for Santa's injuries. Their fighting continues as they move through several stations of the North Pole workplace. North Wind hatches a new plan to keep them fighting so it would appear as if they ruined Christmas themselves, but Mrs. Claus convinces the Misers to put aside their differences and cooperate by showing them the Naughty/Nice list station. The history of the brothers is revealed, showing they've been on Santa's "naughty list" for mutual bickering since infancy. This history would contradict The Year Without a Santa Claus, in which they identify each other as stepbrothers, as they appear this time to be fraternal twins. Upon learning the error of their ways, the two begin working together, and successfully get work back up to speed. However, North Wind hatches a plan to destroy their truce and get them fighting again, leaving Santa to deliver the toys and giving North Wind the chance to finish him off.
On Christmas Eve, North Wind's minions surreptitiously attach heating and cooling units to the sleigh, apparently capable of heating or cooling entire regions of the planet. The discovery causes the Miser Brothers to blame each other. With them fighting again, Santa has no choice but to drive the sleigh as North Wind planned. After Santa leaves, Tinsel discovers the super-sleigh has been sabotaged, which stops the Misers' fight as they realize that neither of them was responsible for injuring Santa. Upon finding one of North Wind's Christmas cards with him dressed as Santa, the Misers realize the truth about their brother and comprehend his plan. Meanwhile, North Wind attacks Santa's sleigh in flight, whipping up a vortex to consume Santa but the Miser Brothers, with the aid of Tinsel and a team of young reindeer, save Santa in the nick of time. North Wind's cover is blown and Mother Nature sentences him to household chores for the next several thousand years as punishment for trying to finish off Santa and making his brothers fight. With North Wind thwarted, the Brothers learn they've finally made the "Nice List." The Miser Brothers then volunteer to replace the recuperating Santa in delivering the toys to children, giving gifts to each other in the process, making peace between them and ending their feud.
The movie had 3.7 million viewers in its first airing, as determined by Nielsen ratings. It received a nomination for "Best Animated Television Production Produced for Children" in the 36th Annual Annie Awards.
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