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Dave Barton Thomas
George S. Irving,
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
In the scene where Heatmiser eats two pieces of fire, a fishing line used to suspend the second piece of fire he eats is clearly visible. See more »
Snow Miser's Men:
He's Mister White Christmas, he's Mister Snow. He's Mr. Icicle, he's Mister 10 below.
Friends call me Snow Miser, whatever I touch turns to snow in my clutch. I'm too much.
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Why has THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS endured for so many years? I don't believe it's because of its scenario. The concept of an ailing Santa Claus, convinced the world doesn't care for him, deciding not to ride his sleigh one Christmas is promising. However, its execution is too low-key to provide conflict or pathos. There's a touching rendition of "Blue Christmas" by a child writing a letter to Santa, but the other characters' reactions to Santa's decision seem too mild to generate real drama. Most of the other songs are pleasant but unmemorable. The plot's resolution is too contrived to be affecting.
The two real reasons for THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS's popularity are Snow Miser and Heat Miser. They are minor characters with limited onscreen time, but they blow away the other characters. Those quarreling siblings provide the special with some much needed brio. As the voice of Snow Miser, Dick Shawn oozes with self-satisfied smarm. Yet he conveys such gleeful humor in his delivery that his oiliness endears viewers. As the voice of Heat Miser, George S. Irving is hilariously irascible, an overgrown brat who fumes over everything associated with snow. It is this very childishness that makes Heat Miser so amusing. Of course, their musical numbers stop the show not because of their lyrics, which are repetitive, but their snappy deliveries.
The Miser brothers are so delightful that their absence creates a void in THE YEAR WITHOUT SANTA CLAUS. One wishes that Rankin Bass, which produced this special, had produced a special focusing on them. It is too late now, at least with the voice of Dick Shawn, who has long passed on. One can still appreciate the fact these characters were devised at all. Without them, THE YEAR WITHOUT SANTA CLAUS would probably be forgotten by now.
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