The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Animation, Comedy, Family  |  10 December 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,289 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 13 critic

When a weary and discouraged Santa Claus considers skipping his Christmas Eve run one year, Mrs. Claus and his Elves set out to change his mind.


(teleplay) (as William Keenan) , (novel)
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When a town learns that Santa Claus has struck it off his delivery schedule due to an insulting letter, a way must be found to change his mind.

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Stars: Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes, John McGiver


Complete credited cast:
Mrs. Santa (voice)
Santa Claus (voice)
Snow Miser (voice)
George S. Irving ...
Heat Miser (voice)
Bob McFadden ...
Jingle Bells (voice)
Rhoda Mann ...
Mother Nature (voice)
Bradley Bolke ...
Jangle Bells (voice)
Ron Marshall ...
Colin Duffy ...
Christine Winter ...
The Wee Winter Singers ...
Chorus (voice)


Mrs. Claus tells us about the time Santa had a bad cold and decided to take a vacation from Christmas. Two of his elves, Jingle Bells and Jangle Bells decided to go out (with Vixen) to find children to convince Santa that the Christmas spirit is still important to everybody else. But they have to get past Heat Miser and Snow Miser, first, before they land in Southtown, USA, where it never snows for Christmas. But the Miser Brothers can't agree to let it snow in Southtown. But Mrs. Santa knows their mom--Mother Nature. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mikulás szabadságon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the "Snow Right Here In Dixie" song, a character can be seen that resembles Charlie Chaplin. See more »


When Santa reads the card from the sad little girl, the words written on it are "I'll have blue Christmas", the word "a" is omitted. See more »


Heat Miser: Oh, some like it hot, but I like it REALLY hot.
See more »


Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 10 December 2014 (2014) See more »


Snow Right Here in Dixie
Performed by the Mayor of Southtown
See more »

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User Reviews

Oh, some like it hot, but I like it REALLY hot! Hee hee!
11 December 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I grew up on the Rankin-Bass specials such as The Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph and The Year Without a Santa Claus. When I got to be in the 6th grade or so I thought I was too 'mature'(yeah, right) for them, but I still secretly watched TYWASC just to see the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser do their thing. One night when I was a teenager a bunch of us were sitting around flipping channels and landed on the Snow Miser about to start. You can imagine how it went after that, since we were all trying to act nonchalant and cool:

me:"oh MAN, this dumb special."

teen #1: "You want me to change it?"

teen #2:"I don't care if you don't"

me: "OK, whatever, I guess we'll leave it." By the time Heat Miser was halfway through his big number we all had big grins on our faces. The next time it was on I taped it and we watched it every year. At some point, the tape broke (probably from overuse), but a few years ago I finally tracked down a copy of the video. Now it's back in print!

The whole special is cool (can't beat that RB stop-motion) but we bought it just to see the Miser brothers do their thing. It's worth the price of admission even though they only have about 10 minutes of screen time. This year we actually were going to give the whole movie a try, but lost patience after about 10 minutes (though kids might enjoy this more) and just cut to the chase and fast-forwarded to the Snow Miser. Usually when we dust off the copy every Christmas, my husband is the one hitting the rewind button after the big finish, "TOO MUCH!"and sheepishly saying " OK, uh, just one more time..." Warning: you will NOT be able to get the song out of your head. Those are catchy-ass songs! Even better, they sound like something Danny Elfman would write- the Heat Miser song especially could be an early-80's Oingo Boingo song. You will walk around for days with, "They call me Heat Miser, what ever I touch, starts to melt in my clutch..." running through your head. To this day I have yet to meet one person who hasn't seen the special, loved the song, and in fact most of them know all the lyrics. You'll start singing it to yourself at work- "he's Mr. White Christmas he's Mr. Snow"...and without fail you'll hear someone else, "I'm Mr. Icicle, I'm MIS-ter Ten below..."

I agree with the other reviewers-they are crazy not to repackage the special prominently featuring the Miser bros, because it would fly off the shelves. At least put a little sticker with a picture of Heat Miser on the box or something, people will get the idea.

I'm also glad I'm not the only adult who has thought about who they would cast in a live-action version...we were thinking James Woods (who unfortunately looks more like Snow Miser every year) and--hey, as long as we're dreaming here anyway--Chris Farley. Anyway, if you watched the special as a kid, and are holding off on purchasing a copy because you think it won't stand the test of time, trust me on this- IT WILL! It's...too much. TOO MUCH! (BA-da-da-da).

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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