One of the Sweetest, Most Charming Christmas Specials Ever!
"Santa and the Three Bears" certainly lacks the flashier artwork, pace, and musical scores of other Christmas specials, before, during, and after its production. But, the tale told in "Santa and the Three Bears" is simply told, an almost-buried virtue in television programming which, wrongfully, believes it has to be flashy and quick in order to maintain a child's attention. In that, it remains a much more timeless and welcome work that only reveals its specialness as the years go by.
I saw "Santa and the Three Bears" when I was 10 years old. I loved it then and I love it now. The musical score is humble yet haunting, particularly the scenes in which the cubs prepare for Christmas and the hibernation of the bears just before Santa arrives. Again, a simple, simply-told, "bare bones" approach to storytelling that has the vastly-underrated Hal Smith playing a live-action and the animated Santa Claus (along with Mr. Ranger). I never tire of watching this because, unlike so many of its kind that hammer home the accepted notion of Christmas as a time of love, togetherness, and wishes fulfilled, "Santa and the Three Bears" stresses the importance of magic and wonder that come from belief in something unseen. Could it be God :-)? What a wonderful message to impart on people who cultivate cynicism as a badge of honor and do not see the impact that belief, magic, and wonder can play and produce in our lives. No other animated cartoon, in my memory, ever presented that message so gracefully, artfully, charmingly,and, for the third time (like the special itself), simply told.
I'm glad "Santa and the Three Bears" is out on DVD. Also, Nana is another example of the completely overlooked vocal proficiency of the fine character actress, Jean Van Der Pyl (also the voice of Wilma Flintstone).
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