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 American 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 Barry 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 in the North Pole, Santa's elves sing about Christmas nearing and Santa's absence. Meanwhile, on a beach in Florida, Santa's sleigh has become mired in the sand, and his reindeer have flown away to escape the heat, leaving him stuck. Santa sings a song bemoaning his troubles, then falls asleep.
Several local children hear Santa calling them telepathically and run to him. Santa awakes and explains his predicament. One boy asks why Santa does not fly back to the North Pole on a plane; he explains that he cannot abandon his sleigh and needs their help pulling it out of the sand. The kids bring him several animals, including a pig, a sheep, a donkey, a horse, and a gorilla.
When all the children's attempts fail, Santa encourages them not to give up hope, and tells them a story about a girl who visits the theme park Pirates World and hears the story of "Thumbelina" as an example. A previously produced film of Thumbelina plays, complete with its original credit sequence, and runs longer than its frame story (alternate prints of the film use another Mahon adaptation, Jack and the Beanstalk, as Santa's story).
After the story, Santa encourages the kids to "always believe". One girl tells Santa that her dog, Rebel, can do anything. The kids leave. Santa takes off his coat and falls asleep once more. He wakes up and puts his coat back on when the kids return in an antique fire engine, singing about how they will help Santa. The engine is being driven by the titular Ice Cream Bunny, whom Rebel has summoned. The Ice Cream Bunny offers to drive Santa to the North Pole and they depart. The children realize Santa's sleigh is still stuck in the sand and wonder what to do before it teleports to the North Pole, waiting for Santa's arrival.
- 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 alternate 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.
In 2011, the film was made available on DVD as a bonus feature on the RiffTrax: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny DVD from Legend Films. However, just like the version shown in the RiffTrax episode, the film is cut down to a runtime of 83 minutes due to the removal of certain musical numbers.