44 user 16 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.



(fairy tale "Thumbelina")

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


The amazing story of Santa in big trouble... And his exciting rescue by the daring ice cream bunny ... It's breath-taking, fun for all. See more »


Family | Fantasy


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 November 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Санта и мороженый кролик  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last movie filmed at Pirate's World, which closed in 1975. See more »


The Mississippi River is over 100 miles from the nearest Florida beach. 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 »


Edited from Thumbelina (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

Oh woe is me, oh woe is me
14 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

Allow me to summarize the movie.

Santa's sleigh ends up on a beach in Florida, buried in an inch of sand. Santa summons a bunch of kids and they basically just go along with it and get a bunch of animals (not all at once, hello?) to pull the sleigh free, including a horse, a cow, a sheep, and even a guy in a gorilla suit. Santa, meanwhile, fans himself and mumbles "oh it's hot ooh golly oh my gosh i have never been so hot in my life oh ho ho ho oh gosh oh my golly".

Santa takes a break from sweating to tell the kids the story of Thumbelina, and then they pretty much just play this older film called 'Thumbelina', made by the same guy who made this. It's meant to "inspire" the kids or whatever, but it never gets referenced after it's finished, the kids don't seem to take much from it, it's unbelievably bland and forgettable, it has nothing to do with Christmas or Santa or anything to ever happen in the history of mankind, AND (possibly the worst of all), it's actually LONGER than the segment with Santa Claus. It's literally a lazy way of padding the film out to over an hour.

It's like, if they made a new Harry Potter movie, and they didn't have enough for a whole film, so they had Harry experience a flashback, then they just play one of the previous films, then that ends, then we get ten minutes of nothing happening, then it ends. That is EXACTLY what this is.

Anyway, when the Thumbelina segment is over, the kids go back to running around looking for help, and Santa goes back to "oh my golly it is hot oh my gosh look at that sun glaring down oh ho ho ho i have never been so hot in my life ho ho ho". The kids return with the Ice Cream Bunny.

I'm dead f*cking serious.

The "Ice Cream Bunny" drives a fire truck (what, you were expecting a fire truck? You're an idiot!) and Santa climbs onto the back of the truck and they drive off into the woods and that's the last we ever see of them. Then the sleigh vanishes into thin air, leaving the audience wondering, say, why was this such an issue if the sleigh could vanish at will? Where does Santa go; is he supposed to deliver presents all around the world on the fire truck now, or what? Who the hell is the Ice Cream Bunny? Was he supposed to be the Easter Bunny? There's no mention of ice cream in the film, he's literally just a guy in a generic, creepy white rabbit costume that never speaks.

Also, the Thumbelina segment is incredibly weak. Terrible acting, slow and tedious dialog and pacing, and the costumes and visuals make me feel like I'm in a bad fever dream. Seriously, is it just me, or are those moles nightmare fuel? So, here's my overall summation: Go see it. I know. I know, I just bashed it and criticized it, but it's actually fascinating. I don't know why on earth it was made, I don't know what the people behind it were thinking, I don't know what the hell is going on here. But, I'll be honest, it's oddly hilarious that way.

I'm pretty sure the whole thing is on YouTube for free, which is probably the best way to look for it because I strongly doubt you can still get your hands on a VHS copy of this thing anymore.

Also, you should check out the RiffTrax commentary on it; it's even funnier than this.

This film is hypnotically terrible, with appalling acting, questionable writing, embarrassing effects, and an overall strange, unsettling, somewhat creepy vibe. You absolutely need to see it.

Merry Christmas.

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