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December 14, 2015

advent: day 14
posted by soe 2:32 am

Rankin/Bass productions are especially loved at this time of year, being known, as they are, for their animated and stop-motion children’s holiday programming. Many of you are familiar, I’m sure, with their first production, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which first aired in 1964, and Frosty the Snowman, which came out five years later.

Less well remembered, however, is one of my favorites, the 1974 animated version of “‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” populated with humans and mice. ‘Twas the Night before Christmas pairs the poem with the backstory of how a town so pissed off Santa Claus that he declared he wasn’t going to visit and how the town reacted. (I think I won’t be alone in thinking that Santa doesn’t come off so well in Rankin/Bass productions, often seeming mean or vindictive or whiny.) The big name in this production, playing Father Mouse, is Joel Grey (who is not, I am surprised to discover right this moment the same Joel (Higgins) who played the dad on Silver Spoons), best known for originating the role of the Master of Ceremonies in both the stage and film versions of Cabaret. It also included, among others, comedian George Gobel, Tony winner Tammy Grimes, and character actor John McGiver.

Here’s one of the three songs, “Even a Miracle Needs a Hand,” featured:

And if you haven’t seen it in a while, the entire half-hour special is quite charming:

Category: arts,christmas/holiday season. There is/are 2 Comments.