44 user 21 critic

Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)

When Santa's sleigh gets stuck in Florida, he tells a group of kids the story of Thumbelina.


R. Winer


Hans Christian Andersen (fairy tale "Thumbelina")

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Cast overview:
Jay Ripley Jay Ripley ... Santa Claus (as Jay Clark)
Shay Garner Shay Garner ... Thumbelina (archive footage)
Pat Morrell Pat Morrell ... Mrs. Mole (archive footage)
Bob O'Connell ... Mr. Digger (archive footage)
Ruth McMahon Ruth McMahon ... Mother (archive footage)
Heather Grinter Heather Grinter ... Witch (archive footage)
Sue Cable Sue Cable ... Flower Girl (archive footage)
Mike Yuenger Mike Yuenger ... Flower Prince (archive footage)


Poor Santa Claus. This live-action feature finds his sleigh stuck in the sand on a Florida beach only days before Christmas Eve. He psychically summons prepubescent aid from a nearby subdivision. In order to extricate Santa's sleigh, the local children bring many different animals (presumably the sheep was someone's housepet), but nothing works, and the kids are afraid they won't get any gifts this year. To boost their spirits, Santa tells them the story of Thumbellina, and the setting dissolves into a "fantasy within a fantasy". Thumbellina is a beautiful but very tiny girl, "not much larger than a clothes pin". She becomes lost in the forest during the winter and finds refuge in the underground home of Mrs. Mole. A neighbor mole, Mr. Digger, falls in love and wants to marry Thumbellina, but she's having none of it. When warm weather returns, she runs back into the forest and deserts the two kindly creatures who saved her life, crushing their spirits forever ... the end. As Santa is ... Written by Richard Westmoreland

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What A Story! A Daring Rescue! See more »


Family | Fantasy


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

18 November 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Санта и мороженый кролик See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn make "cameos" because Barry Mahon tried to make a Tom Sawyer movie, but gave up after one day of filming. The footage was likely included to help pad the film because Mahon's earlier Thumbelina (1970) (or Jack and the Beanstalk (1970), in some prints) was used. See more »


If the sleigh could be teleported back to the North Pole, why wasn't it teleported earlier in the film, instead of trying to pull it out of the sand? See more »


Santa Claus: What is that? What is that I hear? Where's it coming from? I hear a siren, but I don't see any fire, I don't see any smoke. Whenever there's a siren, it means there's a fire, but I don't see any smoke. That siren. Where is it coming from? Where's that sound coming from?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Two sets of opening credits and end tags are used in the movie (one for the Santa portion and one for the fairytale portion). See more »

Alternate Versions

The VHS release from United Home Video, and the "Rifftrax" edition DVD from Legend Films, feature Thumbelina. When the "Rifftrax Live!" version was shown in theaters on December 3, 2015, it featured Jack and the Beanstalk. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Magic Christmas Tree (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Enough to put you off Christmas.
9 December 2009 | by jimamilsteadSee all my reviews

I just watched this movie online... Wow!! It's so hideously bad it makes some notoriously bad movies by Edward D. Wood look like Citizen Kane, the only motivation I could think that this abomination was produced in the first place was simply because some guys had a couple of tacky-looking fancy dress outfits laying around in the loft and decided to make a movie with them.

The plot (or lack of) consists of a particularly creepy Santa stranded on a beach in Florida because his sleigh is trapped beneath two grains of sand (we learn that his reindeer have already flown back to the North Pole courtesy of some grainy-looking stock footage). Santa sings a song and waves his hand around a lot and telepathically enlists the help of some neighbourhood kids to bring their household pets to help him out of this pickle. One girl turns up with a guy in a Gorilla suit, while others with a variety of farmyard animals. Even Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer join Santa's helpers, but this is all to no avail, so he decides to tell the story of Thumbelina to some REALLY bored looking children...

Now, the version I watched didn't have the story of Thumbelina at this point (like the original release) and it simply fades to black and then back to Santa being creepy.

For no reason whatsoever, some other guy in a white rabbit costume drives a Fire Truck with an awful lot of children passengers towards the beach only to detour through an amusement park and finally get to the beach while the children sing songs. Santa and the rabbit character mumble to each other and then they take off. The kids run back to Santa's sleigh and it mysteriously vanishes.

Then comes the Thumbelina adaptation, which, in a nutshell is a fairly pretty girl singing songs around the same amusement park Mr. Rabbit took an inane detour through. The narration of the story sounds like it's coming through a PA system and the sets look like something in the average 4th graders Christmas nativity. However, this is the best part of SC&TICB simply because the girl who plays Thumbelina can carry a tune when she sings.

I can only imagine that the intention of this movie was to advertise "Pirate World", the amusement park where most of it is based, quite the way Santa Claus (1985) advertised a certain fast food restaurant and soft drink brand.

As a movie, this is the poorest you could ever find. Everything about it is amateur, from the acting to the set design to the photography, editing and direction. Even the songs are akin to the type a 6-year-old could come up with. The kazoo-heavy score is also inferior. This could surpass for entertainment as a movie, and if it's intended to be a 90-minute advert, it fails at that too. Pirate World shut down around 1975. With this movie to advertise it... I'm expecting Santa's wake very soon...

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