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This is my favorite of all the Rankin/Bass specials (and they are all
excellent). Many people get all the "Animagic" cartoons confused...so
I'll try to pinpoint this one. This is not the one with Rudolph
("...the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and not the one with the Heat Miser and
Snow Miser ("Year Without A Santa Claus"). This is the one with the
toy-hating Burgermeister Meisterburger and.....the Winter Warlock!!
We get to see Santa Claus go from an orphaned baby raised by elves to a groovy, red-haired hip young adult who is outlawed for delivering toys to finally becoming the toy making/giving king of Christmas! We also get to see Mrs Claus as a groovilicious babe in her own right and she finally gets a name, Jessica.
Some charmingly dated scenes only add to the warm innocence of this show: like when Jessica realizes "her own town has turned against her" and begins singing of her love for and desire to be with Kris Kringle....transcending into a cornucopia of hippy-trippy flowers, swirls and polka-dots and finally catching a glimpse of her paper cutout reflection in the water fountain in the center of town. Remarkable!!
But, the show's main message is one of love and the courage to follow your heart and do what you know is right regardless of the obstacles that come in your way. A wonderful Christmas special that no holiday season is complete without.
I will be 33 in January 2002. I only mention this so that readers will be
able to gauge my review of this classic based on my age. While I was
growing up, prior vcr tapes and dvd players, I and my friends would wait
year to view the various Christmas specials that aired each year. I
remember sitting glued to the tv taking in every second of the shows. Back
then if you missed part of the show or even the whole show you were border
line depressed because you knew you couldn't see it again for a whole year.
In some ways anticipation made the viewing of Christmas specials that much
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN(SCICTT) is in my top five Rankin/Bass specials. Right along with RUDOLPH, FROSTY and The Year WITHOUT SANTA CLAUS. I enjoy the 1970's feel this classic has. The flowers that appear when Jessica sings, the simple toys the kids play with and the songs that are sung throughout this show. I can only imagine what a modern version of this show would sound like with its boy band sounding songs and electric toys and video games. Instead of watching Kris and Jessica court each other and wed we would probably see them live together while they consider marriage. This was a scary classic. The Winter Warlock was very scary when I viewed this as a kid. No matter how many times I saw this as a kid I would always wonder if Kris would make it past the warlock.
I suppose the best thing about this type of Christmas classic is that when people my age view it they can escape back to their innocent youth for a short while. Even though I now own the vhs of SCICTT and soon hope to purchase the DVD I make myself and my kids wait until Christmas season to watch it. It's not quite the same as when I was a kid but anticipation still increases the viewing pleasure once we do watch it.
I am an adult, and probably shouldn't watch Christmas cartoons, but I love
them anyway! "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" is my favorite of all
Christmas cartoons. Anyone who knows me knows that I love this cartoon!
was a kid in the 70's when all the Rankin/Bass cartoons were on during
Christmas, so I remember and have most of them!) The mailman (Fred
is just adorable! Mickey Rooney as Santa was such a perfect choice! I
to settle in a comfy chair, knowing I won't be interrupted, and put this
tape in my vcr.
I agree (a little bit) about the cartoon being dated. Yes, it has those tones mainly in the middle of the cartoon, but it can easily be dismissed. I would like to explain about the wedding celebration between Santa and Jessica in the forest. They got married in the forest because "no church would have them". This a wonderful, innocent Christmas cartoon - a joy for anyone to watch.
Out of all of the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, this one has the
best writing of the bunch. Why? Because the songs are at there
best (who can forget the one foot in front the other song), and even
though it is ficticious, the storyline is actually pretty convincing.
And the Burglar Meister is easily the best of the antangonist of the
special with his sinister plan. The only downfall to this special is
the animation, which in this one, it's unbelivably bad (compared to
their other specials). But still, with the great character
development, a memberable storyline and songs, and the great
voice overs (Frees, Wynn, Rooney, Astaire etc.) , this emerges as
the one the lives up to it's popular song.
This one is good, right in keeping with the others Rankin Bass did at the
time. Personally, I have always liked anything with Keenan Wynn, Fred
Astaire or Mickey Rooney-and the Burgomeister with Paul Frees doing the
honors-is a riot.
Rankin Bass did a fine job retooling the Santa myth here, and I think that this oughta be shown more. Certainly worth your while.
Why have so many of the best and special Xmas cartoons been discarded
for Xmas shows that are non existent.We couldn't wait when Xmas came
around to watch this show, I feel so sad for kids today, who grow up
with no real Xmas shows, like the ones of the 60's and 70's!Why can't
our TV stations make a special Xmas night, where all the great Xmas
shows are on TV.Xmas Eve is a special night, and so many stupid and
meaningless program's are displayed. Santa Claus is coming to town
should be brought back. along with the little drummer boy, frosty the
snow man, and any other Xmas cartoon of that time.
I really hope someone does read this, and gives me some info on where I could buy all the good old Xmas cartoons.I ALSO hope someone out there feels like I do.How great Fred Astaire was as the postman, and MICKY ROONEY as Santa. You can't beat these or this show. please!!! won't someone bring them back? It's not too much to ask really!
Great show. I loved it as a kid and my kids love it too. It's VERY early 70's from Santa's (or Kris Kringle's)Bobby Sherman-like haircut to the psychedelic song sung by Jessica (aka the future Mrs. Claus). I just saw it again last night and it was a trip. It's very cute and very innocent and I absolutely agree with the other posters here that this is from another time. I'm cynical also but I appreciate something that is done with the best intentions and with heart. Today's "holiday" fare has to be hip with lots of pop references and such. Nothing like that here. The animation here appears ancient by today's standards but the show believes in itself and it's overall very charming. But that song that Jessica sings. Whoo boy...right back to '70 alright.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! Sadly, while "Peanuts" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are sentimentally celebrated, digitally remastered and shown in their original entirety in network primetime, this classic has been shuttled off to cable hell. Don't get me wrong, I love those specials as much as I love this one, but it deserves a lot more respect than it gets. If you get this one confused with the other Animagic specials, just remember this is the one with "Put one foot in front of the other." Need I say more? Of course you know it. And you are probably doing it now! By all means, if you or your children have never seen this, be sure to rent or buy it. What you see now on cable is a watered-down excuse to run a bunch of Christmas commercials. Watch it and you will swear you have developed Attention Deficit Disorder. Oops, here's a clip of the show! Hey, quick, three commercials! Now, another clip of the show! OOh, two commercials... The show itself seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought. If you read the other reviews and have only seen this version, you may ask yourself, when did Jessica break into song, surrounded by the psychedelic swirling colors? When did the Burgemeister burn all the toys? Not happening in this cut-and-paste version; trust me. I personally took offense to the deletion of the song that starts "If you sit on my lap today, a kiss a toy is the price you pay..." Someone with half a merchandising brain would release a holiday CD of these songs (I've looked; it doesn't exist) and a line of Christmas ornaments (Fred Astaire's mailman in that adorable mail truck come to mind)and plush toys (picture The Winter Warlock and the penguin Topper). Three boos and coal in the stocking for the cable Scrooges that have deemed this a holiday afterthought. Ignore them and go enjoy yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town is one of my all-time holiday favorites
and it's hard for me to believe it was made in 1970 because I was fully
12 at the time and I used to think I'd grown up seeing it as a kid. Oh
well, memory plays tricks on us from time to time. But it's a timeless
classic and is suited for family members of all ages.
How can a children's story hold the interest of adults? Well, aside from the wonderful animation, singing and the extraordinary talents of the various artists -- Fred Astaire as the postman, Mickey Rooney as Santa, Keenan Wynne as Winter Warlock and Paul Frees as the Burgermeister (did you know his most famous vocal role was Boris Badenov in the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle? If the voice sounds familiar that's why!) -- there's more than meets the eye to this simple tale.
Just look at it and you eventually discover that Sombertown is a metaphor for Germany. I mean, the scenery, the sounds of people's accents, especially the Burgermeister's (Burgermeister, after all, means mayor in German), and the like, make it quite plausible. But that pesky Burgermeister ... bullying, isn't he? And he's so hung up on making kids miserable and he bans toys and every time Kris Kringle comes by with a load and foils his plans he gets madder and madder and at one point he sets fire to a whole load of toys in the town square while the kids cry.
This particular segment of the plot -- I'm not saying, of course, that the WHOLE story is about this -- is a thinly disguised observation on how Hitler banned books and other materials from Jewish artists and everyone dubbed "degenerate" in Germany. The children of Sombertown are metaphors for the Jews in pre-Holocaust Germany during the Nazi years.
Now don't get me wrong; the story is mainly an answer to many children's questions about why Santa comes down chimneys, why he lives at the North Pole and so on. But when you look at the story and read between the lines you discover that the writers, in dealing with that one particular aspect of the script, were carefully concealing a very powerful political statement.
And as Santa is the spirit of giving and love, of course he triumphs over the Burgermeister!
The 1977 TV movie "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" is by far the best Rankin/Bass movie and one of the best Christmas movies altogether. This family classic is about the early life of "Kris Kringle" and his road to becoming the man everyone knows as Santa Clause. Its humorous comprehensible plot and excellent character building make this movie a keeper. The catchy songs easily get stuck in your head and the brilliant animation style is fun to watch. All of the new Christmas movies so far have failed to impress me. The (Jim Carrey) Grinch was in my opinion a cheesy shallow take on what Christmas is all about and the Polar Express was too caught up in the special effects. However, Santa Clause is coming to Town takes you back to the true meaning of Christmas. So next time you're wondering how reindeer fly or why Santa goes down chimneys, watch Santa Clause is Coming to Town.\ Christmas Movie Score (8.5/10) Overall Movie Score (8/10) Recommended
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