Have a holly, jolly Christmas....
December 9, 2003 9:48 AM   Subscribe

'tis the season for ... Rankin-Bass TV specials! The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass is a fan-site devoted to the distinctive animation of Arthur Rankin, Jr and Jules Bass. In addition to extensive and interesting background information on your favorite Christmas specials (like Rudolph), you can also learn about lesser-known specials such as The Ballad of Smokey the Bear. The site also includes some rare video clips, including a pencil-test from Frosty the Snowman. There is also a very complete section on the Rankin-Bass TV series, Thundercats. Please also see additional note inside....
posted by anastasiav (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Before anyone else says it, yes, this is one of the worst designed and slowest loading websites I've seen in a long time, which is a shame, 'cause there's some super information here. I've tried to dig out the best parts of the site and highlight them in the post.
posted by anastasiav at 9:48 AM on December 9, 2003

Rats. Here's the correct link for extensive and interesting background information -- its a great article called "Rudolph: Behind The Scenes" and its one of the most interesting articles on the entire site.
posted by anastasiav at 9:53 AM on December 9, 2003

I LOVE these shows - such a major touchstone of the holidays for some of us of a certain age. I work with a short, roundish, red-headed lawyer who has a tendency to pitch fits. I sing, "He's Mr. Heat-Miser, He's Mr. Freeze!" in my head when it happens. It helps me amuse myself until he calms down.
posted by pomegranate at 9:58 AM on December 9, 2003

ABC Family showed a whole bunch of Rankin Bass stuff last Saturday--so I finally got to see the Heat-Miser/Mr. Freeze one, as well as the extra-depressing Jack Frost one.

Rudolph is on tonight, just in time for the annual mocking: "It was time to get the women back to Christmastown!" Rudolph is my very favorite Christmas special. Well, I'm fond of the Grinch and Charlie Brown, too, but Rudolph is good for mocking and the others aren't.
posted by eilatan at 10:29 AM on December 9, 2003

I watched those too last weekend--I'm immediately 8 years old again when they come on! I love the Heat Miser/Mr. Freeze (Year Without a Santa Claus) one too, and Shiny New Year where they go to all the different time islands looking for the big-eared baby new year, and Burgermeister Meisterburger. : > (I don't care too much for Little Drummer Boy, or the donkey one tho)
I recently downloaded a new computer-generated Rudolph that was weird, but it had Herbie and Yukon Cornelius and everything
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on December 9, 2003

You'd THINK that if his BOOK had indeed SOLD OUT he'd be ABLE TO HIRE SOMEONE to EDIT THE SITE without a WONKY CAPS LOCK KEY. Just SAYIN'. The RUDOLPH link is WORTH IT, THOUGH.
posted by jalexei at 10:44 AM on December 9, 2003

I just posted about my love for the Burgermeister last night...
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:49 AM on December 9, 2003

does anyone else have fond memories of seeing mad monster partry? i need to hunt that one down....
posted by bluno at 10:53 AM on December 9, 2003

I caught part of the Rankin/Bass love-in on ABC Family the other night. It was disturbing to see the Rudolph story extended into some nonsense about saving Baby New Year (but maybe I'm just jealous that there's never been a Rankin/Bass special about how Rudolph saved Chanukah one year - although it is heartening to see that you can buy Chanukah chew toys for Fido)
posted by adamg at 11:09 AM on December 9, 2003

"including a pencil-test from Frosty the Snowman"

Some very, very wrong part of me is thinking of Frosty trying to trap a pencil under his breasts to see if gravity and age have made them sag.
posted by pomegranate at 11:18 AM on December 9, 2003

thank-you, abc family channel (and anastasiav)! years ago, when i was looking to buy a domain-name, my top choice was islandofmisfittoys.com, which, i see, is still being squandered.
posted by steef at 11:23 AM on December 9, 2003

...such a major touchstone of the holidays for some of us of a certain age.

Just thinking about the intro drum and horn music that played while the word "SPECIAL" spun on the screen still gives me stomach butterflies. SPECIAL!!! IT'S ON!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember being almost as excited for the Christmas specials as I was for Christmas itself.
posted by jennyb at 11:32 AM on December 9, 2003

Ahh i love listening to Burl ives. too be he was a McCarthy collaborator.
posted by MrLint at 12:13 PM on December 9, 2003

Holy crap, I remember that jennyb. It was just this burst of bossa nova type drum and horn to denote a special. I think it was CBS that did that.
posted by dr_dank at 12:29 PM on December 9, 2003

There is one (or maybe all of them start this way, I don't know) Homestar Runner cartoon that opens with that, too. I don't remeber which one it was, but I got all giddy hearing it again.

It probably was CBS since we didn't have cable and I think the only channels we got were CBS and PBS, and sometimes ABC if the sky was clear. Never NBC, though. That was the exotic, forbidden broadcast station that I dreamed must be so very wonderful it was forbidden, and must play nothing but Hardy Boys, Land of the Lost, Herbie movies, and Christmas specials.
posted by jennyb at 1:06 PM on December 9, 2003

Just thinking about the intro drum and horn music that played while the word "SPECIAL" spun on the screen still gives me stomach butterflies.

What really pissed me off was when they ran that, and what followed wasn't a special for kids but something else entirely. They did that a few times and it has left me with a deep, abiding rage for the all-seeing eye.
posted by kindall at 1:08 PM on December 9, 2003

mad monster party was great too, but creepy (esp. at the very end)--it would always come on near halloween (there's an enormous difference between those of us were kids in a pre-cable and pre-vcr world--these rankin-bass shows were real highlights of the season)
*sings, "put one foot, in front of, the other, and soon you'll be walkin' out the do-oo-oor..."*
posted by amberglow at 1:41 PM on December 9, 2003

Those specials always creeped me out. Put me on edge. Like watching Mister Rogers.
posted by cortex at 3:27 PM on December 9, 2003

oh, Olive the Other Reindeer is on Cartoon Network tonight at 8:30est (one of the better new specials)
posted by amberglow at 4:33 PM on December 9, 2003

Ooo, Oo! I know the answer, jennyb! It's Strongbad's very moving rendition of O Holy Crap that has the Spinning-Special musical splash bit. It might be on the Halloween ones too? I dunno. But it just makes me love Homestarrunner.com all the more.

I can't see hear the tune without goosebumps and vivid memories of buttery popcorn and the Charlie Brown Christmas special.
posted by kittyb at 6:12 PM on December 9, 2003

oh yeah!!! : >
posted by amberglow at 6:34 PM on December 9, 2003

I hadn't heard of R-B in years, but seeing the name quickly brought back memories of some of the worst quality animation I can remember; certainly up there with the Kroft(?) crap I had to endure in the 1970's. The horreur!
posted by ParisParamus at 9:47 PM on December 9, 2003

Actually, permit to clarify that. I was speaking, strictly of the animation/cartoons of R-B; not other forms.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:52 PM on December 9, 2003

kittyb, that made my day. I haven't heard that music in ages, and there's something warped and wonderful about hearing it right before Strong Bad. Thanks.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:40 PM on December 10, 2003

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