Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny
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|Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny|
Original theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Barry Mahon|
|Written by||R. Winer|
|Narrated by||Dorothy Brown Green|
|Distributed by||R & S Film Enterprises Inc.|
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is a 1972 musical fantasy film written, composed, shot, edited and directed by R. Winer to frame Barry Mahon's Childhood Productions films for a Christmas release. The threadbare plot concerns Santa Claus's attempts to free his sleigh from the sands of a Florida beach, assisted by local children.
Different prints of the film feature one of two films-within-the-film (that takes up a majority of the film itself). They are Mahon's previously filmed 1970 adaptations of Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina or Benjamin Tabart's Jack and the Beanstalk.
Poor acting and production values have garnered Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny a cult following.
In Santa's workshop at the North Pole a few days before Christmas, Santa's elves sing about how they make toys while Santa is away. Santa's reindeer return, but without Santa or his sleigh, prompting the elves to wonder in song what has happened to Santa. Meanwhile, Santa has crash landed on a beach in Dania Beach, Florida, gotten his sleigh stuck in the sand, and been abandoned by his reindeer. Santa sings a song bemoaning his troubles, then falls asleep.
In his sleep, Santa telepathically summons several local children, who run to him and offer to help. Santa explains that they must find a way to pull his sleigh from the sand, as he cannot abandon it. The kids bring Santa several animals to pull the sleigh, including a horse, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a gorilla.
When all the children's attempts fail, Santa encourages them not to give up hope, and begins to tell them the story of Thumbelina as an example. The film then cuts away to instead show Barry Mahon's previously produced film version of Thumbelina, in which a girl visits the now-defunct theme park Pirates World, hears the story in a Hans Christian Andersen attraction, and imagines herself as the title character. The Mahon film plays in its entirety, complete with its original credits sequence, and runs twice as long as the frame narrative (alternative prints of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny use another Mahon fairy tale adaptation, Jack and the Beanstalk, as Santa's story).
After the story, Santa again encourages the children to "always believe" and they go to find help. Santa takes off his coat and again falls asleep. He wakes up to the sound of an antique fire engine, which is being driven by the titular Ice Cream Bunny, whom the children's dog Rebel has summoned. The Ice Cream Bunny drives the children through Pirates World to the beach. Santa puts his coat back on to prepare to meet them. He thanks the children for their help and accepts the Ice Cream Bunny's offer to drive him back to the North Pole. Santa reminds the children one last time to always have faith as they depart.
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn continue watching these events in silence.
The children realize that Santa's sleigh is still stuck in the sand. As they wonder what to do, the sleigh abruptly teleports to the North Pole, where it will wait for Santa's return.
- Jay Clark as Santa Claus
- Charlie and David as Fighting kids
- Kathy as Skateboard girl
- Mike as Skateboard donkey boy
- Kim Nicholas as Donkey girl / Doll elf
- Robin as Rebel's owner
- Sandy as Boy jumping off roof
- Scotty as Batter
- Steve as Catcher
- Shay Garner as Thumbelina
- Pat Morrell as Mrs. Mole
- Bob O'Connell as Mr. Mole
- Ruth McMahon as Mother
- Heather Grinter as the Witch
- Sue Cable as Flower girl
- Mike Yuenger as Flower prince
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Mitchell Poulos as Jack
- Dorothy Stokes as Jack's mother
- Renato Boracherro as the Giant
- Chris Brooks as Honest John
- John Loomis
- Sami Sims
- George Wadsworth
On December 17, 2010, the RiffTrax film-commentary project released Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, with their synchronous commentary, as a "Video on Demand" download. It has since been made available on DVD as well by Legend Films.
On December 3, 2015, RiffTrax presented a live screening of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny in theaters across the United States. For this performance, the alternative Jack and the Beanstalk version was used.
The Thumbelina version was released on VHS by United Home Video, but is different from the theatrical version in that the Thumbelina film is shown after the Santa portion rather than during it.
- RiffTrax [@RiffTrax] (19 February 2015). "@Rirse It's the alt print! A new HD transfer of a film element we acquired. @BillCorbett @kwmurphy @michaeljnelson" (Tweet) – via Twitter.