Rudolph's Shiny New Year
|Rudolph's Shiny New Year|
Cover of the 1999 VHS release
|Written by||Romeo Muller|
|Narrated by||Red Skelton|
|Theme music composer||Johnny Marks|
|Country of origin|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Rankin/Bass Productions|
|Preceded by||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)|
|Followed by||Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979)|
Rudolph's Shiny New Year is an American-Japanese 1976 Christmas/New Year's stop motion animated television special and a sequel to the 1964 special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. The special premiered on ABC on December 10, 1976. Three years later, it was also aired on TV Asahi in Japan on December 24, 1979 under the Japanese dub title 赤鼻のトナカイ ルドルフ物語 (Akahananotonakai Rudorufu Monogatari).
Just after many hours of delivering Christmas presents from around the world (the events depicted in the last scenes of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), Santa Claus receives a letter from his friend Father Time asking for help to find Happy the Baby New Year before midnight ("the 12th bong") on New Year's Eve or else it will be December 31 forever. Santa sends Rudolph out to find him due to the snowstorm currently happening outside.
An evil giant vulture named Eon the Terrible is supposed to live for exactly one Eon after which he will turn into ice and snow and disintegrate. As his particular Eon will end January 1 of the New Year, he plans to kidnap Happy to keep the year from ending and stop time, thus preventing his predestined death.
General Ticker (a military clock) and the great Quarter-Past-Five, or Quart for short (a camel with a clock in his hump), bring Rudolph to Father Time's castle beyond the Sands of Time. Father Time speculates that Happy, who ran away due to his big ears being laughed at when they were first seen by Nanny Nine O'Clock, 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. When Rudolph is attacked by Eon on the ocean while en route to the Archipelagos, he is saved by Big Ben (a sperm whale with a clock attached to his tail) who transports Rudolph across the ocean.
Upon arrival in the Archipelagos, Rudolph first travels to the island belonging to a caveman named O.M. (short for One Million B.C.). O.M. inhabits an island anachronistically inhabited with friendly dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. As Rudolph and his friends search for Happy (who left after his hat accidentally fell off saving a baby Pterodactylus and revealing his big ears, causing the dinosaurs to laugh), they repeatedly encounter Eon.
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 1023 (pronounced "10-2-3"), belonging to a Scottish knight with a long beard named Sir 1023 whose island is filled with medieval trappings along with several fairy tale and Mother Goose characters. Meanwhile, Happy manages to befriend the Three Bears, but becomes saddened when he removes his hat and exposing his big ears to them, causing him to leave again despite Baby Bear begging him not to go.
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 following the daily parade, Eon kidnaps him 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 now leaves the Archipelego in pursuit. Catching up to Eon, they attempt to rescue Happy. However, Eon (upon being awakened by the sound of O.M. tumbling) 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 Eon's nest where he finds Happy, who refuses to leave. Rudolph shows Happy his nose and tells him his own story of being bullied because of his nonconformity before asking Happy to let him see his ears. Happy does so, and Rudolph, like everyone else before him, laughs at the sight. Happy once again gets upset, but 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. With this declaration, Happy shouts out with joy, but causes Eon to awaken. Rudolph quickly tells Happy to take off his hat and leave it off for good. At the sight of Happy's large ears, Eon bursts into uncontrollable laughter which sends him tumbling down the side of the mountain and into the three remaining snowballs, freeing O.M., 1023, and Sev. Rudolph realizes that Eon 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, they return to Father Time's castle with Happy just in time for the beginning of the new year before the 12th bong, which is designated "19-Wonderful". After the celebration, everyone wishes Happy a happy new year. Rudolph proclaims to the viewers that "it may be shiny, too."
Archipelago of Last Years
When the old year has been retired, they settle on an island in the Archipelago of Last Years where time remains still on that island. Among the islands of the Archipelago of Last Years are:
- 1,000,000 BC Island: Represented as a prehistoric, anachronistic island that consists of dinosaurs, other prehistoric creatures, and cavepeople living together. O.M. lives here.
- 4,000 BC Island: Rudolph mentions that all its inhabitants wanted to do was build pyramids.
- 1023 Island: Represented as a medieval island filled with fairy tale characters. The year 1023 is said in Father Time's narration to be when all the well-known fairy tales and nursery rhymes actually happened. Sir 1023 lives here.
- 1492 Island: Rudolph mentions that the people on that island were too busy discovering things to talk to Rudolph and O.M.
- 1776 Island: Represented as a Colonial American island that celebrates American Independence Day on a daily basis with none of the revolutionary war. 1776 (Sev) lives here.
- 1893 Island: Rudolph mentions that the inhabitants have never heard of Happy. 1893 was indeed an unhappy time as a major economic depression called the Panic of 1893 hit the United States that year.
- 1965 Island: Rudolph stated that island was "too noisy" to search for Happy. Among the noisy world events of 1965 included Beatlemania (and other British Invasion-related hysteria) and growing opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.
- Red Skelton as Father Time (Narrator), Baby Bear
- Billie Richards as Rudolph
- Morey Amsterdam as One Million BC
- Frank Gorshin as Sir 1023, Quarter Past Five
- Paul Frees as 1776, Santa Claus, General Ticker, Eon the Terrible, Humpty Dumpty
- Don Messick as Papa Bear, Rumpelstiltskin, Prince Charming, Seven Dwarfs
- Harold Peary as Big Ben the Whale
- Iris Rainer as Mama Bear, Nanny Nine O'Clock
- Producers/Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin, Jr.
- Writer: Romeo Muller
- Music/Lyrics: Johnny Marks
- Design: Paul Coker, Jr.
- Sound Recording: William Bell, John Curcio, Don Hahn
- Effects: Tom Clack
- "Animagic" Production Supervisors: Ichiro Komuro, Akikazu Kono
- Post Production Supervisor: Irwin Goldress
- Music Arranger/Conductor: Maury Laws
- The Moving Finger Writes
- Turn Back The Years
- It's Raining Sunshine
- What A Wonderful World We Live In
- Fourth Of July Parade
- Have A Little Faith In Me
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Have a Happy New Year
Home media release
Rudolph's Shiny New Year was first released on VHS by Warner Home Video in 1992. It is also re-released on VHS in 1999, and for the first time on DVD on October 31, 2000. The special, along with other Rankin/Bass Christmas specials and Chuck Jones' animated TV adaptation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, was bundled in Warner's Christmas Television Favorites DVD box set, released on October 2, 2007. On October 7, 2008, these same titles are released in another holiday-themed DVD set, Classic Christmas Favorites. Once again and this time, Warner Home Video released seven different original Rankin/Bass holiday classics along with Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on the third DVD box set, Santa's Magical Stories, released on October 4, 2011. A Miser Brothers' Christmas, a sequel to the 1974 special, The Year Without a Santa Claus, is also included.
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
- Hyatt, Wesley (2004). A Critical History of Television's The Red Skelton Show, 1951–1971.
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