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Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus/Nestor The Christmas Donkey (Double Feature) (1985)

Earl Hammond , Earle Hyman , Jules Bass , Arthur Rankin Jr.  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)

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Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus/Nestor The Christmas Donkey (Double Feature) + Rankin/Bass TV Holiday Favorites Collection + Jack Frost (Remastered Deluxe Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Earl Hammond, Earle Hyman, Larry Kenney, Roger Miller, Brenda Vacarro
  • Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: November 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VA5A0M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,708 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus/Nestor The Christmas Donkey (Double Feature)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A bizarre, pagan take on the Santa Claus legend, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, which is based on a story by L. Frank Baum (The Wizard of Oz), was produced and directed by Rankin and Bass, the reigning kings of the Christmas special (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), using their brand of puppet animation. In the forest of Burzee, the immortals gather to discuss the fate of Santa Claus. Found when he was an abandoned baby by the Great Ak (a wizard with big wooden horns on his head), the boy was named Claus because that means "little one" in the language of the forest. Raised by immortals and knowing nothing but peace and harmony, the adolescent Claus is taken on a tour of the mortal world by the Great Ak, and he discovers the world is rife with misery and injustice. This is when he decides he will dedicate his life to making kids happy, and he learns the best way to do this is to give them toys. After years of service, the immortals must decide whether or not to give him eternal life. Indeed, this is a very strange Christmas tale. --Andy Spletzer

Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey is a wondrous story of Christ's birth told by an unlikely source: Nestor, a gentle donkey with incredibly long ears and a first-hand knowledge of life in a stable. This simple tale, which takes place in the days of the Roman Empire, is about a humble couple about to take a long journey to Bethlehem and a small, insignificant donkey who is destined to help them along. By all outward appearances, Nestor is undeserving of such a privilege. Stable animals tease him incessantly for his long appendages until, finally, he is cast out of the barn into the winter cold. Snow and ice bring about even greater calamity for Nestor until he receives a dose of divine goodness. Nestor meets Tilly, a heavenly cherub (voiced by Brenda Vaccaro) who imparts guidance to the despairing burro and tells him that soon he would be chosen to participate in a miracle involving a star and a baby, a lowly stable and some travelers named Mary and Joseph. Short and sweet, this stop-motion Christmas gem from Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass is narrated by Roger Miller. Get out the hanky for an understated holiday classic that will appeal to families of all ages. --Lynn Gibson

Product Description

The Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum penned the story that inspired The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. A babe born in the woods near the forest of Burzee is named Claus. As Claus grows up, the gods send him to the land of mortals to spread joy and happiness where there is none. Claus carves a small wooden cat for an orphan and decides that all children rich or poor should receive toys for Christmas.

A long time ago the little donkey Nestor lives in a country stable. Mocked for his ears, Nestor and his mother are cast out of the stable. In the snowy cold, Nestor sacrifices herself to protect her child. In the spring a cherub arrives to guide Nestor so he may save another as his mother saved him. Two travelers choose him for a trip to Bethlehem and Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey fulfills his destiny.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was very pleased to finally have this Rankin/Bass animagic film on DVD. I've waited over a decade to replace the poor quality bootleg VHS copy I had.

I would say that of all the Rankin/Bass Christmas-related stop motion "animagic" work this one is the most strikingly unusual. It has some excellent qualities that are lacking in other productions by the company.

A thumb high up for the script by Julian P. Gardner that manages to reduce the original source material by L. Frank Baum into a concise and remarkably true-to-spirit reworking.

The score by Bernard Hoffer is excellent. Including original songs (with lyrics by Mr. Gardner) that are a welcome departure from other productions that employ Jules Bass as a lyricist. I have no complaint with Maury Laws, the musical director of works like "The Year Without A Santa Claus", his work is always of a high standard. Unfortunately, Mr. Bass often produces labored and strained-for-a-rhyme lyrics to Law's melodies. After Johnny Marks work on "Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer" the bar was raised high and everything subsequently produced by the Laws/Bass team pales by comparison. There is always a striking distance between the song the piece is based on ("Frosty The Snowman", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town") and the new songs. (I will credit them in one regard, I much prefer the Laws/Bass team's work to the horribly forgettable music written for the "Rudolph" sequel, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Island of The Misfit Toys". But that isn't much of a compliment.)

Other areas where this piece work very effectively are in the actors chosen for voice work: Alfred Drake (noted Broadway musical actor) makes an admirable "Ak", Master Woodsman of The World.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why no DVD? November 20, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
With all of the other DVDs of the old Rankin & Bass shows that are out, you'd think they would have found room for this one by now, but noooo...
Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, creator of "The Wizard of Oz," this unique interpretation of the Santa Claus legend is a stop-motion animation film by the same people who created the classic versions of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman." Young Claus is a human child found and raised by fairies, battling monsters and finding joy in bringing gifts to children. There was a traditional animated version in 2000 which was okay, but this stop motion version is a real masterpiece if you can find it.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Captain
This movie is a Rankin/Bass classic and should be treated as such. (This is a DVD-R, unrestored version). About two years ago, WB finally released The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold and Pinocchio's Christmas in a boxed set with other Rankin/Bass classics.

The only Rankin/Bass stop motion Christmas classics that have not been restored and released on DVD as of today (Dec 11, 2009) are:
1. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
2. The First Christmas (aka The Story of the First Christmas Snow)
3. The Little Drummer Boy Book II

All three are owned by WB. Sooooo, hopefully these three will be released in a new Christmas boxed set - perhaps as early as next year - Christmas 2010!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A. Haus
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For afficionados of the Rankin-Bass franchise this strange story is a must-own.

This stop-motion version of L. Frank Baum's wild tale of a group of mythic immortals who (along with Shiegra the lioness) raise the child who will soon be known as Santa Claus is nothing less than a fantastic head trip.

Other reviews have already noted noted the high caliber of the script and score, and I couldn't agree with them more.

For children of the 70s and 80s, however, 'The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus' is probably one of the Christmas specials you've seen once or twice over the years on TV, but not enough times to necessarily remember it in its entirety. Decidedly, fabulously pagan in nature, it wasn't aired with the regularity other Rankin-Bass shows were over the years.

I rate this highly for it's unusual subject matter, and the care with which the story was told with respect to the source material by Baum. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus will tickle the recesses of your memory and transport you back to your youth with it's mythic magic.

I suggest this product for Rankin-Bass fans wanting to complete their collection, those who appreciate a rich reinvention of a well-known tale, or anyone who wants to watch a seriously trippy show.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fear not, DVD is on it's way! December 8, 2005
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I have loved this film since I was a little tyke and faithfully watched it every Christmas. While a little darker than the other R&B specials, it still has that almost tangible sense of wonder. My wife had never seen it growing up and when we watched it together she was amazed.

I have searched dilligently for the last 4 years for news of a DVD release. I finally have that news. According to Rick Goldschmidt of [...], The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus will be released as part of a Rankin & Bass box set in 2006. Of course, this could change but it is a positive step.

So be patient and hold out hope that this great special will be under your tree on DVD by the next holiday season.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought as a present for my sister. She loves it.
Published 4 days ago by Thanna Avilea Setliff
5.0 out of 5 stars Ears Nestor!
I love both these movies. Nestor is my favorite movie of all time. I actually cry every time I even think about this movie or explain the plot to people who aren't familiar with it... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Tivvums
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Movie!
Published 1 month ago by Hillary R Guillory
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My daughter just loves it, very hard to find
Published 1 month ago by Ellen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it
Published 1 month ago by Darlene Pimenow
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good like it..
Published 1 month ago by ernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great dvd
Published 1 month ago by dave carl
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I finally found this on Amazon!
Looking for this video on DVD for such a long time. Glad I finally found it here on Amazon. Such a wonderful story from a different angle on Santa Claus.
Published 3 months ago by SJ Blouse
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD's of 2 Christmas videos
I love these DVD's. The picture is clear and the voice/volume is great. They're Christmas movies and they are precious. Kids and their parents alike would appreciate these DVD's
Published 5 months ago by Brenda Yates
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Childhood Memory
A friend was looking for the movie Nestor on DVD... and this was the only way to buy it so the extra movie was a bonus... It made her day and was a great Christmas surprise :)
Published 5 months ago by Tenntalker
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