Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is a 1970 stop motion Christmas television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. The film stars Fred Astaire as the narrator S.D. Kluger, Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle / Santa Claus, Keenan Wynn as the Winter Warlock, and Paul Frees in various roles.
The film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be. It is based on the hit Christmas song “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”, which was introduced on radio by Eddie Cantor in 1934, and the story of Saint Nicholas.
- Starring :
- Genre : Animation / Adventure / Comedy / Family / Fantasy / Musical
- Country : United States / Japan
- Language : English
- Director : Jules Bass / Arthur Rankin Jr.
- Production : Rankin/Bass Productions / Video Tokyo / Videocraft International
- Distributor : Anderson Digital / ABC Family / American Broadcasting Company (ABC) / Broadway Video / Classic Media / Family Home Entertainment (FHE) / Freeform / Genius Products / Golden Books Family Entertainment / International Video Entertainment (IVE) / Live Entertainment / Live Home Video / MCA Distributing Corp. / MCA Home Video / Sony BMG Music Entertainment / Sony Music Entertainment / Sony Wonder / Time-Life Video / Viacom / Vivendi Entertainment
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town movie
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town release date
- December 14, 1970 : USA
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town cast
- Fred Astaire as Narrator – S.D. Kluger(voice)
- Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle / Santa Claus(voice)
- Keenan Wynn as Winter Warlock(voice)
- Paul Frees as Burgermeister Meisterburger / Grimsley / Soldiers / Townsmen / Doctor(voice)
- Joan Gardner as Tanta Kringle(voice)
- Robie Lester as Miss. Jessica / Mrs. Claus(voice)
- Andrea Sacino as Child(voice)
- Dina Lynn as Child(voice)
- Gary White as Child(voice)
- Greg Thomas as Child(voice)
The special was created using Japanese stop motion animation called “Animagic”, in which all the characters are made out of wood and plastic and animated via stop-motion photography.
The special was originally telecast December 13, 1970 by ABC and continues to air every year on sibling channel ABC Family (now Freeform) though both channels have at times edited the special to make room for commercials (ABC has cut two key songs, as well as two other songs in half; ABC Family/Freeform has cut several scenes that they believe may be traumatizing to younger viewers, like Kris climbing, and leaping to escape to prevent children from doing dangerous stunts, Winter Warlock knowing Kris will return, and telling him he will never escape including the scene where the Burgermeister torches the seized toys in front of the children of Sombertown). The DVD releases include these deleted scenes vital to the story’s plot.
Special Delivery “S.D.” Kluger the mailman (voiced by and resembling Fred Astaire) is introduced after a newsreel prologue, telling how children around the world are preparing for Christmas and Santa Claus’ arrival. When his snowmobile/mail truck breaks down, he tells the story of Santa Claus, answering the children’s letters to Santa.
The story begins in the gloomy city of Sombertown, ruled by the abusive, and ill-tempered mayor Burgermeister Meisterburger (voiced by Paul Frees). A baby arrives on his doorstep with a name tag reading “Claus” and note requesting that Meisterburger raise the child. He instead orders his lawkeeper Grimsley (also voiced by Paul Frees) to take the baby to the “Orphan Asylum”.
On the way there, a gust of wind blows both sled and baby to the Mountain of the Whispering Winds, where the animals hide him from the unkind Winter Warlock (voiced by Keenan Wynn) and convey him to an Elvish family by the name of Kringle in Rainbow River Valley. Led by Tanta Kringle (voiced by Joan Gardner), the elf queen, she and the five Kringle elf brothers (Dingle, Wingle, Bingle, Tingle and Zingle, all voiced by Frees) adopt the baby and name him “Kris”. A few years later, Kris hopes to restore the Kringle family as “The First Toymakers to the King”.
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