on November 2, 2000
Plenty of other folks have gushed (properly so) about the nostalgic content of "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (hereinafter "TYWSC") so I'll concentrate on the technical quality of the DVD release:
The picture on this disc is unbelievably bright and sharp -- undoubtedly worlds better than it looked when we all watched the original CBS transmission in 1974. It makes me wonder if they did any digital processing and cleaning up of the original print. I really enjoyed the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" DVD release earlier this year, but the picture quality on TYWSC is far superior both in terms of clarity and vividness, and the animation and set design are also more detailed and elaborate than in "Rudolph." While not of Nick Park caliber, perhaps, the stop-motion animation is more than adequate: Both our 7- and 3-year old were transfixed throughout the whole show. You will be surprised by how great the picture looks. The original mono soundtrack is well balanced, with no audible hiss; both the characters' speech and the (many) musical numbers come through very clearly.
The "extras" include two additional Rankin-Bass holiday specials, making this disc a triple feature and a great value. They include "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" and "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey." Both are of similarly high technical quality. Notwithstanding its goofy name and lower profile in the Rankin-Bass pantheon, "Nestor" is a half hour, animal-based gem that gives a welcome nod to the religious underpinnings of the Christmas holiday.
Whether for nostalgia value or your own youngsters, this DVD is a fine purchase.
on December 12, 2007
First, let me say that I own this movie because it still retains it's charm more than three decades later, and still get a kick out of it. I can recall watching it on TV when I was a kid, and would sing the catchy Miser's songs. So having it on hand to watch it every year at Christmastime is a pleasure.
I was looking forward to upgrade from my older DVD of YWASC to this "Deluxe Edition" since I was keen on seeing a couple of documentaries and noted the product being advertised as "Newly Remastered". Well, in looking at the ORIGINAL 2000 DVD release, I realized that it is quite sharp in picture, as well as having a decent mono audio track. I noticed there were scarcely any grain or dirt on this print. So maybe I could not see a need to upgrade after all, and, as it turns out, I was correct in my assumption. I rather like to make picture comparisons with different DVD releases of a favorite movie, and I did the same with YWASC. Much to my surprise, the image is not only NOT an improvement, but to my eyes, in some instances has less sharpness and is duller in the colors! Again, in the first DVD release, one can see the finest details in say the puppet's hairs. Great clarity. With this new edition, there are periodic (though admittedly minor) inconsistancies in image. It is indeed puzzling that such a reduction in clarity (and I do know that the overwhelming majority of folks wouldn't know of them--and further, would not detract from their viewing enjoyment).
Sorry, I know I could get flack for what might be considered a minor quibble, but I feel that, apart from two (fairly interesting) documentaries, one could just as well not bother to invest in this repackaging of what was an already very adequate DVD release.
But either way, by all means enjoy and share with the family. Along with Rankin and Bass' other, earlier classic, Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer, Year Without A Santa Claus is a gem that will charm for generations. So let me make very clear that the two-star rating is for this DVD release, of which the content is a decent four star.
on December 30, 2001
For entertainment value for the kids (and those of us who are kids at heart), this DVD is TOUGH to beat. Three classic Rankin-Bass stop-motion films together on one DVD. A great testemonial to the DVD format.
The Year Without a Santa Claus is the "main" feature of the DVD. If you've never seen it, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. As others have stated, Heat Miser and Snow Miser have to be the highlight of this special. Their songs are hilarious little vaudeville-type tunes, made all the more catchy by each brother's little army of "Mini-Me"-like clones that perform the back-up vocals. I think these bits are also the best of R-B's stop-motion, from a technical point of view. The part where Snow Miser is spinning around in a blur, then suddenly you see his head stop and he sings out "that's right!", is VERY well done. Of course, Snow Miser and Heat Miser are not the focus of the special, though they steal the show. The basic plot is this - Santa has a cold, and he's tired and feelng worn out. So, he decides to take a year off. Well, Mrs. Claus won't have this, so she sends out the bumbling elves Jingle and Jangle, plus the reindeer Vixen, to find some Christmas spirit. Naturally, they immediately get themselves in trouble, so first Mrs. Claus, then Santa himself, have to get involved in order to straighten the whole mess out. While he's traveling incognito out in the world, Santa finds out that he IS appreciated after all. Besides the Heat Miser and Snow Miser tunes, this special contains more great music, including the classic "I'll have a blue Christmas Without You."
Also here is Rudolph's Shiny New Year, another fond favorite of all of us who were kids in the '70s. It's a little bit short in the music department, but overall very enjoyable. Happy, the Baby New Year, is missing, and Father Time sends for help to his old buddy Santa Claus. SC decides to send a search party, and who else is better equipped for a nighttime search that a flying red-nosed reindeer? Rudolph joins forces with a large bunch of characters as he combs the Archipelago of Last Years to find the missing kid. Complicating matters, the evil buzzard Eon is also trying to find Happy for reasons for his own, and he does NOT want Happy to make it home.
Finally, this DVD includes Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. This tale, set in Roman Empire-dominated Palestine, chronicles the adventures of Nestor of the long ears as he is thrown out of his home, loses his mother, and generally suffers through life until he meets his destiny helping a certain young couple on their way to Bethlehem. A very moving and touching story, but I highly suggest you keep the supply of tissues handy, as this one is a real tear-jerker.
A great DVD with three holiday classics. It's fun for both the thirty-somethings and today's kids. Don't miss it!
"The Year Without a Santa Claus" is one of the classic Rankin-Bass stop-motion animated holiday specials. In this installment, Santa Claus (voiced by Mickey Rooney), feeling poorly and convinced that people don't care about Christmas anymore, decides to cancel his annual sleigh ride around the world. Fortunately, Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth) sets in motion a chain of events that restores Santa to his jolly self.
"Year" is great fun from start to finish. The producers achieve a nearly perfect balance of musical numbers, fantasy, sentiment, and humor. Booth is outstanding as Mrs. Claus (who also narrates the tale). She gives a particularly spirited rendition of the fun song "I Could Be Santa Claus" (in which Mrs. C contemplates taking the reigns of Santa's sleigh on Christmas night). The vocal performances are excellently complemented by the whimsical stop-motion puppets and other superbly realized visual elements.
This film also introduces two of the most unforgettable characters of the Rankin-Bass mythos: Heat Miser and Snow Miser, the respective overseers of hot and cold weather phenomena. Each one is accompanied by his own chorus line of look-alike mini-Misers, and each gets his own outrageous theme song.
"Year" has a subtle feminist twist, since Mrs. C is such a pivotal character, and also because Mother Nature emerges as perhaps the most powerful figure in the story. Religious fundamentalists will probably dislike the fact that this special seems to distance the Christmas holiday from its traditional religious implications (some may even see a touch of goddess-worshiping neo-Paganism in the character of Mother Nature). But for most audiences, I believe that this holiday special will be an entertaining delight.
Surely, everyone knows how special these specials all were growing up, with the exception of Nestor, which certainly didn't get as much TV airing as the other two. And I needn't go too much into each one.
The Year Without a Santa Claus has truly gained cult status, with it's quirky characters like the Heat Miser and Snow Miser. In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, everyone always loved watching Rudolph save the ultra cute Baby Happy (Baby New Year), and they always seemed to air it on TV the day after Christmas in the 70's and 80's. Nestor is a classic narrative of the Christmas Donkey with the long ears that is the least known and least replayed of the 3, but an excellent, heart warming, family tale.
Now, let me get to the best part! The DVD quality is amazing! I think Nestor is the sharpest of the 3, with Nestor nearly looking 3-D like you can touch him on screen. You can see every hair fiber on the claymation figure! They really did an incredible job with the DVD transfers of these 3 classic Rankin/Bass specials.
Don't even hesitate, this one has to be in everyone's holiday collection, and stop motion animation on DVD is visually stunning! All 3 for one price, it's a no brainer!
"The Year Without a Santa Claus" is a true Christmas classic from the masters of "Animagic." Mickey Rooney reprises his role from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," voicing a tired ol' Kris Kringle who decides to take a year off. Well, Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth) won't have that and sends two enterprising elves, Jingle and Jangle, out to find some Christmas Spirit.
As everybody knows, the true show stealers in this perennial favorite are Mr. Heat Miser and Mr. Cold Miser, Mother Nature's feuding sons. They sing the best songs ("I'm mister Green Christmas, I'm Mr. Sun, I'm Mr. Heat Blister, I'm Mister Hundred and One." "I'm Mister White Christmas, I'm Mister Snow, I'm Mister Icicle, I'm Mister Ten Below.") and they have the best lines. They also have a chorus of little copies of themselves to sing along. This one reigns as my favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas special. Also features the classic tune "I'll have a blue Christmas without you."
And let's not forget what else is on this DVD! "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" features the adventures of Happy the New Year's baby ("those ears!") as he journeys through the Archipelago of Last Years. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer follows in hot pursuit accompanied by Big Ben the Whale, the knight Sir 1023, the caveman 1 Million B.C., and 1776 (looking like Benjamin Franklin). "Nestor the Long Eared Donkey" is inspired by a Gene Autrey song, and tells the tale of a donkey with VERY long ears, who is turned out by everyone. He finally finds his destiny with a man and his pregnant wife on their way to Bethlehem.
on December 13, 2002
What a difference that a DVD makes. The company that released this film has cleaned up the visuals and sound to look like it was filmed just yesterday. It is an eyepopping WOW! that can compete with any of the new computer generated films for visual. But the great colors, memorable songs, and nostalgia factor make this a better film. Actually there are 3 films on this DVD, making it well worth the purchase price. I had the feature story on VHS and I just can't get over the difference. Rankin & Bass always made great films for our generation in the 60's and 70's. Whether it was their stop-animation, or fully animated films, they are fun for all ages.
I was born in 1963, before we had full time cable TV, satellite, VHS, cartoon network, etc. The Rankin/Bass studios made the best holiday specials. It was a time when kids and even whole families plopped down to the TV specials at Christmas and it was an EVENT! We only had kid shows on Saturday mornings back then, and you had to wait a whole year to see these great shows again. We are very lucky to be able to buy these now and to enjoy them without the tons of commercials. I remember rushing to get snacks or bathroom breaks during commercials too. Now my son is enthralled with these shows that have passed the 40 year test of time.
If you want to see more treasure by this great studio, search for films by Arthur Rankin, or Jules Bass. Some are animated, some are stop motion Animagic, some are traditional cel animation but they all have great story, design, and music. Not all have made the jump to DVD yet, but buy the ones that have so they will be encouraged to release more of their library. I highly recommend:
"Here Comes Peter Cottontail"; "The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town"; "The Hobbit"; "The Year Without a Santa Claus" this DVD also has a rare treat "Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey"; "The Flight of Dragons"; "The Mad Monster Party" (a 90 minute theatrical film); "The Daydreamer"; "The Wacky World of Mother Goose"; Little Drummer Boy Book 2"; "The Emperor's New Clothes"; "Rudolph's Shiny New Year"; "Mouse on the Mayflower"; "Twas the Night Before Christmas"; "The Stingiest Man in Town"; "The First Christmas"; "Jack Frost"; and more all available at Amazon.com.
There are also 2 books sold here that I know of on this studio and their films, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Making of The Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic", and "The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass".
on December 6, 2002
This is an outstanding release of three of the very best Christmas specials ever.
The Year Without A Santa Claus is an extraordinary work. The plot is intriguing, the music is devine, and the voice actors are extraordinary. Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth are the quintessential Santa and Mrs. Claus. Much has been written about the dynamic duo of Heat Miser and Snow Miser, but has anyone else noticed that Snow Miser bears a striking resemblance to James Woods and that Heat Miser looks just like John Goodman? One of the lovliest songs ever written about Christmas is included in this special: "I Believe In Santa Claus," sung touchingly by Mickey Rooney. When the special first came out in the 70's I was just about at that age where I started to question Santa's existence, but after hearing Mr. Rooney sing that song, I believed once more. "I believe in Santa Claus, like I believe in love. I believe in Santa Claus, and everything he does. There's no question in my heart that he indeed exists. Just like love, he's always there, waiting to be missed."
"Rudolph's Shiny New Year," is a gem itself. Red Skelton steals the show with his many voices, and the whimsical animation is charming. How many of us wouldn't like to go back to the archipeligos of time and find our joy again?
"Nestor," is a three-hanky boo hoo, and absolutely wonderful. It shares the message of the hope of the Christ Child without becoming a preachy mess.
You can't go wrong with this set of joyful entertainment.
on June 2, 2000
Thank you to whoever saw fit to re-release this film onto video! I grew up watching it on TV every Christmas, and just love Heat Miser & Snow Miser! For the longest time, you couldn't purchase this on video, and my local video store's rental copy had mysteriously vanished. I was overjoyed to see it available again and snatched it up. My young daughter now is addicted to this wonderful stop motion animated classic, and watches it frequently. For those who enjoy the songs, you might want to check out the CD, A Classic Cartoon Christmas Too by Nick at Nite records, as it features both the Heat Miser and Snow Miser songs on it! Too much fun!
on December 5, 2005
Wow..What can I say? I grew up with this great Christmas show and even today,it still makes me feel good to watch it! I can't believe that some people are dissing it! I mean,what's to not like?? It's got great songs-great animation(even their fingers move!)and a happy ending for everyone! One reviewer went into alot of details and I'd like to answer it!
#1. Innocence does Not equal immaturity!
2."65% of the movie is made up of songs"..well..it's a Musical ! Hello?!
3."immature songs that are always happy, even in a dangerous situation"...Say what? It's a Kid's Christmas show! Did they expect ominous sad songs? And Dangerous situations?? Guess I missed em,cause,as far as I can see,the only "dangerous" part was Jingle and Jangle falling off for a few seconds of the reindeer,and no one was singing...and even then,they were caught right away! Did they mean when Mrs. Claus was talking to the Misers? Dangerous? Where? They never menaced any of them-in fact they even sang and danced for them!
4.Jingle and Jangle weren't clearly made out early on to be main characters? They should have Announced this??
5. Characters are lacking "development"..uhh..it's a CARTOON?? Not Gone With the Wind..
6. Flip-flopping story..hmm..let's see...a kid that didn't believe in Santa Claus "suddenly" believes in him Right After he actually Meets him..yep that's weird. And Santa being sick and in bed getting motivated into trying to save his friends Right After he hears about the trouble they've gotten into...again...Verrrry weird....
7. Butttt..now that "gaping plothole" ! Jingle and Jangle ride down on the tiniest most fragile young reindeer("Vixen?? She's just a Baby..")into a hot Southern town where she gets sick,but Santa rides down Dasher-a burly tough older veteran male reindeer and Dasher's okey for the short while that Santa is there. Hmm...guess I'm a "fool to not notice this error"...probably for the simple reason that there Isnt any error...Big tough older male reindeer...tiny fragile young female reindeer...one gets sick-one doesnt! ! Amazing ! !
For Pete's Sake,people! It's a Cartoon-made for Kid's! And one that everyone apparently Loves from all the reviews I've read here! Some people just try to think too much and like ruining things for others,I guess! It's got a full Five Star rating from almost 80 reviewers-only 1 or 2 seem to hate it! That's a little over 2% against to 97+% for ! There's a Real Easy solution to the problem! If you don't Like it-don't Watch it! But for the Rest of the world who already know what a great little cartoon this is-we'll just keep on watching it and Loving it each Christmas and so will our kids-for years and years to come! ! Santa is happy-Kids are happy-and the Miser brothers find out once again that they shouldn't mess with Mother Nature ! A Super Christmas Movie ! !