R.I.P. Arthur Rankin Jr

The man whose animated holiday TV specials have touched generations of fans died Thursday at his home in Bermuda. Arthur Rankin Jr was 89. His death was reported by local newspaper The Royal Gazette. With his partner Jules Bass, Rankin mined popular Christmas songs to create enduring stop-motion TV classics including Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) — which beat The Voice and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 18-49 demo when CBS aired it Thanksgiving Eve last year – The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1970) and The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974). The Jimmy Durante-narrated Frosty The Snowman (1969) was done in tradition cel animation and was the first of their Christmas specials done as a half-hour rather than an hour. Rankin and Bass founded their company in 1960 as Videocraft International, and the name was changed to Rankin/Bass Productions eight years later. They also produced plenty of non-holiday fare as well,
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