The Year Without a Santa Claus
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|The Year Without a Santa Claus|
|Based on||The Year Without A Santa Claus|
by Phyllis McGinley
|Written by||William Keenan|
|Directed by||Jules Bass|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Voices of||Shirley Booth|
George S. Irving
|Narrated by||Shirley Booth|
|Country of origin||United States|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Running time||48 mins|
|Production company(s)||Rankin/Bass Productions|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Preceded by||Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town|
|Followed by||Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July|
The Year Without a Santa Claus is a 1974 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. The story is based on Phyllis McGinley's 1956 book of the same name. It was originally broadcast on December 10, 1974 on ABC.
The film was Shirley Booth's final acting credit as she retired from acting after its completion.
Santa Claus wakes up with a cold sometime before Christmas. His doctor, who thinks nobody cares about him anymore, advises him to make some changes to his routine, so Santa decides to take a holiday instead of delivering gifts. Mrs. Claus unsuccessfully tries to convince him otherwise, so she enlists two elves named Jingle and Jangle to find proof that people still believe in Santa. Jingle and Jangle set out with Santa's youngest reindeer, Vixen, but are shot down by crossfire between the conflicting Miser Brothers: Snow Miser, who controls the world's cold weather, and Heat Miser, who controls warm weather.
Jingle, Jangle, and Vixen come upon Southtown, a small town in the southern United States. They try to ask around, but they find the populace, including a young boy named Iggy, are skeptical of Santa's existence. To make matters worse, Vixen is ticketed by a policeman and later sent to the dog pound after Jingle and Jangle disguise her as an "instant Rover". The policeman refers them to the town's mayor, who laughs at their story but agrees to free Vixen if they can prove they are elves by making it snow in Southtown on Christmas.
Jingle and Jangle call Mrs. Claus to pick them up. As she leaves, Santa discovers Vixen is missing and travels to Southtown himself to retrieve her, disguised as a civilian named "Claus". While there, he meets Iggy and his family. Iggy asks "Claus" if he believes in Santa, and he replies that he believes "like I believe in love". Iggy's father reveals that Santa personally visited him one Christmas, and he still believes. When "Claus" leaves with Vixen, Iggy realizes who "Claus" really is, and resolves to help Jingle, Jangle, and Vixen.
Iggy joins Mrs. Claus when she arrives to pick up Jingle and Jangle, and together they visit the Miser Brothers. They ask Snow Miser to send snow to Southtown for a day but he cannot, as it is part of Heat Miser's territory. They ask Heat Miser, but he will only comply if Snow Miser gives him the North Pole for a day in exchange. The Miser Brothers begin bickering, so Mrs. Claus asks their mother, Mother Nature, to help them. Mother Nature asks her sons to compromise, and they obey reluctantly.
As Christmas approaches, the world's children send their own presents to Santa, setting off international headlines. However, one girl misses Santa and writes him that she will have a "Blue Christmas". Santa, touched by the outpouring of generosity and appreciation, decides to make his journey after all. On Christmas Eve, he makes a public stop in Southtown during a snowfall. The next day, the children, including Iggy, are delighted to receive their presents.
As the special ends, Mrs. Claus narrates that somehow, "yearly, newly, faithfully and truly", Santa always comes. Santa is shown getting out of bed to prepare himself, his reindeer, and his gift-loaded sleigh, remarking he could never imagine "a year without a Santa Claus".
- Shirley Booth as Mrs. Claus, the narrator
- Mickey Rooney as Santa Claus
- Dick Shawn as Snow Miser
- George S. Irving as Heat Miser
- Bob McFadden as Jingle Bells, Additional Voices
- Bradley Bolke as Jangle Bells, Police Officer
- Rhoda Mann as Mother Nature, Mrs. Thistlewhite
- Ron Marshall as Mr. Thistlewhite, Mayor of Southtown
- Colin Duffy as Ignatius "Iggy" Thistlewhite
- Christine Winter as the Blue Christmas Girl
- The Wee Winter Singers as the Children Choir
- Produced and Directed by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass
- Teleplay by William Keenan
- Based on the Novel by Phyllis McGinley
- Music and Lyrics by Maury Laws and Jules Bass
- Design: Paul Coker, Jr.
- Continuity: Don Duga
- Sound: John Curcio, Don Hahn
- Production Supervisors: Akikazu Kono, Ichiro Komuro
- Musical Director: Maury Laws
- "Sleigh Ride" (instrumental)
- "The Year Without a Santa Claus"
- "I Could Be Santa Claus"
- "I Believe in Santa Claus"
- "It's Gonna Snow Right Here in Dixie"
- "The Snow Miser Song"
- "The Heat Miser Song"
- "Blue Christmas"
- "Here Comes Santa Claus"
- "The Year Without a Santa Claus (reprise)"
The special premiered in 1974 on ABC, and currently[when?] airs annually on Freeform during its 25 Days of Christmas programming block. Warner Bros. is the show's current[when?] distributor through their ownership of the post-1974 Rankin/Bass Productions library.
The special was first released on VHS by Vestron Video on September 5, 1991 as part of their Christmas Classics Series, which is distributed by Family Home Entertainment. Warner Home Video released the special on VHS on September 2, 1992, and re-released it on VHS on September 28, 1999. The special was then released on DVD on October 31, 2000, and re-released on the Deluxe Edition DVD on October 2, 2007. Warner Home Video released the special on Blu-ray on October 5, 2010, making it the first Rankin/Bass production to be released on that format.
- Release date: October 31, 2000 (Original DVD), October 2, 2007 (Deluxe Edition DVD), October 5, 2010 (Blu-ray)
- Full Screen
- Region: 1
- Aspect Ratios: 1.33:1
- Audio tracks: English
- Special Features:
A sequel, titled A Miser Brothers' Christmas, was produced in 2008 by Cuppa Coffee Studios, and also used stop-motion animation. Mickey Rooney, age 88, reprised his role as Santa Claus, and George S. Irving, age 86, reprised his role as Heat Miser. Juan Chioran and Catherine Disher replaced Dick Shawn and Shirley Booth as Snow Miser and Mrs. Claus, respectively, Shawn and Booth having died prior to the film's production.
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