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|Index||33 reviews in total|
I admit it!!! I am one of those grown ups (a Generation Xer to be exact)who
has never really fully grown up-at least not when it comes to watching
Christmas Specials like this one. I have this on DVD now and plan to collect
all the Rankin Bass Specials in addition to the Charlie Brown Holiday
A Year Without a Santa Claus is just great. You can't beat it in my opinion. I agree with all the other comments that the Miser Brothers are the highlight of the special and should be mentioned whenever this special is marketed. But unlike some of the other comments, I liked the ENTIRE story. Another person who commented, Oldra, seems to hit the nail on the head about the song "So You Don't Believe in Santa Claus". Call me silly, but my eyes get just a "little wet" whenever Ignatious's Father and Mr. "Clouse" start singing to him about the existence of Santa Claus. Even though in real life, a man does not come down chimneys in a red suit to deliver presents, the symbolism of what Santa stands for what the song is trying to convey-and it does a very good job in my opinion!!! To quote the song, "Just believe in Santa Claus, like you believe in Love, and just believe in Santa Claus, and everything he does". Happy Holidays and beyond!
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.
Almost everyone who was a child in the US during the early to mid-70s seems
to remember that Christmas special with Heat Miser and Snow Miser, but no
one can remember the title, or much else about the show. After finally
tracking it down and watching it again after all these years, I can
understand why. The non-Miser Brothers parts don't hold up so well for this
adult, at least. I guess the thought of a sulky, depressed Santa isn't as
dramatic as it seemed when I was five. However, my brother and I greatly
enjoyed the opportunity to sing along again with "He's Mister Heat Miser,
he's Mister Sun...."
It's a mystery to me why the folks marketing the video give only a plot summary on the package with no mention of what kids find most memorable. This is also true of most the guides to holiday viewing in the entertainment magazines. Hint to marketing people: make sure you advertise this as the one with Heat Miser and Snow Miser in it, and everyone born between about '66 and '72 will be buying it for their kids, if not themselves.
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
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
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
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).
I find this holiday made-for-T.V. movie to be one of the more charming
of its kind, maybe because it's not as well known as "Rudolph" and
"Frosty" and other holiday perennials.
In this one, Santa (voiced by Mickey Rooney, who also did Santa honors in "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town") decides he's had enough of Christmas and those who don't appreciate him and cancels the holiday. Mrs. Claus (voiced by Shirley Booth) decides it's up to her to prove to Santa how much everyone still loves and admires him, so she sends off two elves on an around-the-world fact-finding mission to compile evidence of a belief in Santa and what he stands for. From there, the plot goes all over the place and nothing makes a whole lot of sense, but it's all harmless enough. The film's biggest selling point, of course, are the miser brothers, Heat and Snow, who each get a showstopping burlesque number complete with mini back up singers. I wish these two had been given a Christmas movie of their own.
I loved this one as a kid; and its right-CBS had all the best Christmas
specials in the '70s-Rankin Bass' in particular. Who can not like this
one-Santa takes a holiday, Heat Miser and Freeze Miser, 'Blue Christmas'
being done with some oomph for a change....
A certified must-see if you saw this as a kid or want your kids to see it . *** outta ****, it still works today.
OK, so this film came out 4 years before I even existed...I still absolutely love it! I've always adored the Rankin/Bass classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" but it hasn't been until more recent years that I began really getting into other Rankin/Bass movies. Rudolph will always be my favorite, but I think TYWASC is my next favorite, largely due to the Miser Brothers, Snow Miser and Heat Miser. They definitely steal the show! Their catchy theme songs will get stuck in your head, and you'll find yourself humming them! ("I'm Mr. White Christmas, I'm Mr. Snow...I'm Mr. Icicle, I'm Mr. Ten Below!") Other highlights in the movie is the absolutely adorable baby reindeer, Vixen, who falls ill after being subjected to the heat in South Town (but fully recovers!) and of course Ignatius (Iggy) who's the boy who learns to believe in Santa. I love the part when Mrs. Claus starts talking about Iggy and she says "nice name too," in kind of a sarcastic manner.(I think someone else mentioned that in an earlier post, but I have to agree, it's hilarious!) Over all, it's not an edge-of-your-seat thriller by far, but it's not meant to be. It's a nice classic Christmas tale with that stop-animation that Rankin and Bass are so famous for. I highly recommend this to children and adults alike. And if you don't like the movie as a whole, you can't help but love those Miser Brothers!
Based on the book by Phyllis McKinley, The Year Without a Santa Claus
really gets to the heart of Christmas. It's a fun, 'what if tale' that
commences when, one year, Santa (Mickey Rooney) has lost heart because
he believes the world no longer believes in him, so he decides to takes
the holiday off. But Mrs. Clause (Shirley Booth) won't have it, so she
sends two of Santa's finest, but clumsiest elves and a young reindeer
to Earth to find someone that truly believes...but she also has ways of
helping out herself.
So, why is this special so dear to me? Well, for one thing it's an interesting, what if spin on Christmas, about Santa taking a year off and Mrs. Claus finally taking center stage and taking on the challenge of returning the Christmas spirit to her once-jolly husband. Furthermore, the characters are all fun and interesting, but there is one...sorry, two, that seem to stand out not only for me, but the rest of the Rankin/Bass fans out there.
Introducing the Miser Brothers, those two rapscallions who control hot and cold climate under the watchful eye of Mother Nature herself. Snow Miser, who controls snow, hale, and overall chilly weather is carefree and easygoing, having a great enthusiasm for all things below 32 degrees. His stepbrother, Heat Miser, is the complete opposite: a temperamental windbag who controls all things warm, like the sun, volcanos, and generally blistering heat. The two are opposite forces, often butting heads, but do take to Mrs. Claus' pleas to bring cold weather to a town under Heat Miser's Territory...with a little 'persuasion' from Mother Nature herself, of course.
Overall, check this movie out and get into the holiday spirit!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
[MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS]
One morning, Santa Claus has a bad cold. It looks like he may not be able to make his rounds on Christmas Eve. But he's also not so shook up about it. He thinks no one believes in him and has lost the Christmas spirit so when he feels better, he won't be going out. Mrs. Claus is quite concerned. She thinks maybe she can dress up as Santa and deliver the toys herself. She then decides that isn't a good idea, so tries to think up something else. She and some reindeer fly to Southtown to see if the legend of children not believing in Santa Claus is true. What she doesn't know is that Santa is in Southtown, incognito as Mr. Clouse. He also talks to kids.
The children all wish it would snow, so Mrs. Claus goes to The Snow Meiser. He would like to help, but Southtown is over his brother's territory. His brother is the Heat Meiser, so they go see him. He wants to make a sunny day in the North Pole, but that's his brother, the Snow Meiser's territory. They won't agree to one another using eachother's territory so Mrs. Claus goes to Mother Nature and everything turns out okay. The children also send Santa a bunch of letters that say
they'll have a blue Christmas without him. Santa's confidence is restored and he agrees to go outr Christmas Eve and deliver presents to the girls and boys.
This is a cute doll animation cartoon from the makers of Rudolph and Frosty. This one follows Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.
Catch it this Christmas. You'll like it.
If you were alive and cognizant during the 1970's, you must remember the
"Heat Miser" and "Snow Miser" songs, but less remembered is one other...
"So you don't believe in Santa Claus", which is, imho, one of the most
important that Rankin & Bass ever produced. It is about faith backed with
personal experience, but in a non-religious-specific way that everyone can
relate to alike. The only other Rankin/Bass special that even comes close
is "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", and its song about belief in the
world's true magic, a belief that some children hold and most adults sadly
The animation in "The Year Without A Santa Claus" is stop-motion in the tradition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", and "Rudolph's Shiny New Year". I call this a must see for every child -- and adult.
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