The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006 film)
|The Year Without a Santa Claus|
|Based on||The Year Without a Santa Claus
by Phyllis McGinley
|Written by||Larry Wilson
|Directed by||Ron Underwood|
|Theme music composer||Deborah Lurie|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Mark Wolper|
Robert J. Wilson
|Cinematography||Don E. FauntLeRoy|
|Running time||85 min.|
|Production company(s)||The Wolper Organization
Warner Bros. Television
The Year Without a Santa Claus is a 90-minute 2006 live-action remake of the Rankin-Bass classic The Year Without a Santa Claus which premiered on NBC December 11, 2006. A widescreen DVD was released on December 12, 2006 (UPC 085391115120).
This remake follows the same basic concept as the original: Santa, disillusioned by children's lack of belief in him and in the spirit of giving, decides not to deliver toys this Christmas Eve, despite the arguments by Mrs. Claus and two of his helper-elves, Jingle and Jangle. They decide to provide Santa with some proof that children still believe and that they still deserve toys from Santa, so the elves visit the United States in search of Christmas spirit.
They face setbacks both in South Town, which is celebrating its annual Winter Festival, and in their dealings with the jealous, competitive Miser Brothers, who refuse to compromise long enough to permit a Christmas snow in the southern town. Finally, Santa's faith in children is renewed with the help of the boy Iggy Thistlewhite.
Differences from original
The most obvious differences are in the setting, which is moved to the 21st century present day, and the music, which is all but gone. Only the iconic "Miser" songs are retained (though they are mixed together and instead of being sung when the Misers are approached, the song is sung during their feud).
The remake also includes two subplots which do not appear in the original: The commercial coup of Santa's toy-making operation by the ambitious elf Sparky, who wants a more modern and lucrative approach; and the family troubles of Iggy. His father (here, the mayor) is too busy to focus on his family, even at Christmas. Mayor Thistlewhite is a foil both for Santa, in his journey to rediscover the Christmas spirit, and for Sparky, in his efforts to sell out the town's historic district to an out-of-town commercial enterprise. In addition, the movie attempts to give more depth to the relationship between Mrs. Claus and Santa. Another difference is that it is Santa who sees the Miser Brothers about having it snow in South Town instead of Mrs. Claus. Like in the original, the brothers refuse to cooperate, but change their minds when Santa threatens to go to their mother.
A number of pop-culture references pepper the script, including a glimpse of the original Year without a Santa Claus special on Jangle's portable TV. Faced with the prospect of losing his job because of Santa's retirement, Jangle muses that he could go to work for his cousin, who is a dentist; this refers to Hermey in Rankin-Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The script also works in a reference to A Christmas Story: When a disgruntled marksman tells Santa he wanted a gun last Christmas, Santa flatly remarks, "You would've shot your eye out, kid!" Then he comically mimics the marksman having (hypothetically) done just that.
- John Goodman as Santa Claus
- Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus
- Michael McKean as Snow Miser
- Harvey Fierstein as Heat Miser
- Ethan Suplee as Jingle Bells
- Eddie Griffin as Jangle Bells
- Chris Kattan as Sparky
- Dylan Minnette as Ignatius "Iggy" Thistlewhite
- Billy Slaughter as Nerd Elf
- Carol Kane as Mother Nature
- Carson Kressley as the elf costumer
- Laura Schlessinger, "Dr. Laura", as herself
- Jack LaLanne as Hercules