Sunday, December 13, 2015

Countdown to Christmas: The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

Christmas without Santa Claus? Impossible, you say.

Well, there was a book that was adapted into the 1974 Rankin-Bass special, The Year Without a Santa Claus. Told from the point of view of Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth, ex-Hazel, in her final performance), it seems that after a routine physical examination, Santa (Mickey Rooney) is convinced by his doctor to "change his routine". So, Santa goes on vacation, leaving two of his elves to try to pick up the slack with just one reindeer, Vixen.

Of course, that spells trouble, and the introduction of fan favorites, the Miser Brothers (Dick Shawn & George S. Irving). This is also a rarity in that the incomparable Paul Frees, usually present for a R-B special, isn't in the cast of this one.

 Note that I said this was based on a book, which, to be honest, I'd never heard of. Good luck finding it in a library.

Rating: C.


SaturdayMorningFan said...

This is my favorite of the Rankin-Bass specials. I particularly love the Miser Brothers' song & dance routines (and I usually hate musicals, so that says a lot). I was quite frustrated when it was neglected for many years by the networks. I was so relieved when it was released on DVD and I could finally see it again and show it to my kids.

hobbyfan said...

ABC stopped running it after a few years. ABC Family reached a deal with WB, which owns the rights, a few years ago. Once ABCF becomes Freeform next month, I wonder if that will continue.....