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The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set [Blu-ray]
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This classic 1964 television special featuring Rudolph and his misfit buddies set the standard for stop-motion animation for an entire generation before Tim Burton darkly reinvented it in the early 1990s. Burl Ives narrates as Sam the Snowman, telling and singing the story of a rejected reindeer who overcomes prejudice and saves Christmas one particularly blustery year. Along the way, he meets an abundance of unforgettable characters: his dentally obsessed elf pal Hermey; the affable miner Yukon Cornelius and his motley crew of puppies; the scary/adorable Abominable Snow Monster; a legion of abandoned, but still chatty, toys; and a rather grouchy Santa. In addition to the title song that inspired it, this 53-minute tape is crammed with catchy tunes such as "Silver and Gold" and "Holly Jolly Christmas." Those who grew up looking forward to watching Rudolph every Christmas season will undoubtedly be able to recite the quotable quotes ("I'm cuuuute. She said I'm cuuuute." "Herbie doesn't like to make toys.") as well as any Casablanca cult audience. --Kimberly Heinrichs
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town:
This 53-minute, 1970 animated film may be the most delightful of those sundry, stop-motion animated Christmas perennials that show up on television during the holidays. The clay animation production, boasting a wonderful musical score and art direction that occasionally underscores the flower-power era in which it was born, tells the story of Santa's origins, in which Kris Kringle decides to get toys into the hands of poor children in gloomy Sombertown. Charmingly narrated by Fred Astaire and featuring voices by Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town presents a nice bridge between two generations of entertainment, the classic and the hip. --Tom Keogh
Frosty the Snowman:
Jimmy Durante narrates this Christmas story that is based on the song of the same name. To make up for the fact that her students are in school on Christmas Eve, the local schoolteacher hires the magician Professor Hinkle to entertain the kids. Unfortunately, he's not a very good magician. Frustrated in his attempt to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he throws it away in anger. Outside, the kids build a snowman (what to call it? Harold? Oatmeal? Frosty!), and when the hat blows onto it--Happy Birthday!--it comes to life. Professor Hinkle decides he wants the hat back so he can make money off of its newfound magical properties, but the kids want to save Frosty. When the temperature starts to rise, a new problem threatens Frosty's existence. Karen, the leader of the children, comes up with a plan to save him: take him on a train to the North Pole, where it's always cold. With a cameo by Santa Claus, and the promise of Frosty's return every year, this story of life, death, and holiday cheer is glazed with the sweet frosting of hope and happiness. A true holiday classic. --Andy Spletzer
n the same way that many a Hollywood sequel has little to do with the first film, Frosty Returns has almost nothing in common with the original Frosty the Snowman, aside from a man made of snow. The biggest difference is that this Frosty doesn't need a magic hat to come to life. The story: In the town of Beansboro, old Mr. Twitchell has invented an aerosol spray that can remove snow without the hassle of shoveling or plows. This frightens Frosty, who enlists the help of amateur magician Holly and her friend Charles to stop the old coot. Made in 1992, Frosty Returns has an animation style that looks like a cross between the old Schoolhouse Rock and Peanuts cartoons, with voice talent that includes Jonathan Winters, Andrea Martin, Jan Hooks, Brian Doyle-Murray, and John Goodman as Frosty. The story may be divisive, pitting children against adults and a pro-snow contingent against anti-snow people, but the songs are catchy and the message is one that ultimately empowers kids. Like a hero from an old Western, this Frosty is a wanderer who leaves when his job is done so he can work his magic elsewhere. --Andy Spletzer
Top Customer Reviews
1. Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964, 47 minutes)
2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970, 51 minutes)
3. Frosty, The Snowman (1969, 25 minutes)
4. Frosty Returns (1992, 23 minutes)
5. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962, 53 minutes)
6. The Little Drummer Boy (1968, 25 minutes)
7. Cricket On The Hearth (1967, 49 Minutes)
And YES, I encountered the same defect on "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" as others have found, the fade to black right in the middle of four scenes, with the first (at 8:31) and fourth (at 42:04) such errors being the most egregious. This defect is NOT on the 2012 Blu-ray or prior DVDs of this show. Other posters have provided a phone number where we can call for a POSSIBLE free replacement Blu-ray disc (888-223-4369, and it works! Though there was no replacement disc promised to me, just the possibility of one.).
[UPDATE - Dec. 15, 2015: I received the replacement disc yesterday, and played "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," checking the four points where the problems had been. All of the problems are NOW eliminated from that broadcast. This is literally a replacement disc, so it contains the other three items that were on the original, faulty disc, and those broadcasts appear to be exactly the same as before. "The Little Drummer Boy" continues to have just two chapters, as described below, and is the same as before in all other respects.Read more ›
"The Original Christmas Classics" DVD set includes the seven features listed below, while the Bluray set with the same name, the subject of this review, only includes the first four titles.
1. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964 47 minutes)
2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970 51 minutes)
3. Frosty The Snowman (1969 25 minutes)
4. Frosty Returns (1992 23 minutes
5. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962 53 minutes)
6. Little Drummer Boy (1968 25 minutes)
7. Cricket On The Hearth (1967 49 Minutes)
The Bluray set has two video discs. Disc One contains Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, while Disc Two features Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, and Frosty Returns. Apparently all of the features have been remastered and restored to full length. Presentation is full screen, with no subtitles. Some Bluray sets apparently have an audio CD with songs taken from the specials, and some do not.
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970): Rating 4.5 stars
While the legend of Santa Claus may be well-known, this delightful stop action feature delves into his early years, and also explains some of the common myths regarding Santa. The story is told partially through narration by a letter carrier (voiced by Fred Astaire) who delivers mail to Santa at the North Pole. An orphan baby boy is taken in and raised by the Kringle's, a family of toymaking elves.Read more ›
Overall, I'm fairly disappointed. I think Rudolph looks the least remastered. It might just be because the setting is so white but there's very little detail and often the lighting was inconsistant (though that's probably stuck in the original film). Santa Claus is Comin' to Town looks the best. There's lots of nice, vibrant colors in it. Frosty is somewhere in the middle. The audio is incredibly soft on all 3 and not really worth noting. I'd be very interested in a more professional review from someone who knows more about the original negatives and whatnot, but as for my eye-based review I'd give it an overall C-grade.
There are, of course, some improvements. I've yet to see a 1080p transfer that doesn't do any good, but, to be honest, I wish I had been able to resist and saved $30. At $15 I'd be satisfied, but not $30.
As for bonus features there aren't any except the not-so-classic "Frosty Returns" and a CD featuring a collection of favorite Christmas songs.
Here's the tracklist of the bonus audio CD:
01. Burl Ives - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
02. Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
03. Jackson 5 - Santa Claus is Coming to Town
04. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Jingle Bells
05. Jimmy Durante - Frosty the Snowman
06. Burl Ives - A Holly Jolly Christmas
07. Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock
This is a great value for family viewing, crisper and better than I remember, and it's sure to be a collection you enjoy every year as your family makes Christmas memories.
Disc 1 - Santa Claus is coming to town, and The Little Drummer Boy
Disc 2 - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty The Snowman
Bonus extra movies - The Little Drummer Boy, Cricket on The Hearth, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, and Frosty Returns
I received the *DVD version* of The Original Christmas Classic free from the publisher, in exchange for writing an honest review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this item as a xmas gift so they could experience a piece of my brothers and I childhood. Great price and fast shipping!Published 22 days ago by Zinger
these are not licensed items, they are counterfeit. you can plainly see under the disc the PS3 label that this disc once was.Published 28 days ago by Katface
I've always loved every one of these classics when I was a kid. I knew I wanted my boys to be able to share that experience, and in Blu-ray! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mitzi Hazleback
nostalgia aside, these classic animated videos are highly entertaining and lots of fun to watch, and the video quality is greatPublished 1 month ago by SAH
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