Ghosts Of Christmas Specials Past: The Year Without A Santa Clause


Whenever the holiday season hits the first thing that comes to my mind is the stop motion animated Christmas specials by Rankin/Bass.  The one that really hearkens to my childhood is The Year Without A Santa Clause

The show was based on a book by Phyllis McGinley, that was printed in 1956 and later released as an animated Christmas special on Dec. 10, 1974. The main character isn’t Santa but two elves named Jingle and Jangle, who set out to prove to Santa that people still believe in Christmas.  Accompanying them on their trip is Santa’s youngest reindeer, Vixen.

They end up in a place called Southtown, where Vixen is ticketed and impounded for not having a license. The two elves try to explain their story to the town’s mayor but to no avail. His test was to have the elves make in snow in SouthTown to see if they were telling the truth.

They return to Mrs. Clause and report on what had happened on their excursion. They decide to take a trip to the brothers who control the climate in that area. First Cold Miser, and then Heat Miser.  This is the only thing I remember from the special word for word.

This catchy tune sang by actors Dick Shawn (Snow Miser) and George S. Irving (Heat Miser) was the one jewel in this family holiday special. With its long trombone slides this anthem buried itself in my mind since I was a kid and it never goes away like a song on the radio.

The other great fact about this show was that women took center stage as well. Mrs. Clause who always played a secondary role to Santa became front and center. She was played by the great actress Shirley Booth as her last role before her retirement. Mother Nature also played a big role as well as Mother Nature who was voiced by Rhoda Mann.

There were some marvelous holiday songs from this special other than the Miser Brothers. There is another holiday classic. I Believe in Santa Clause that really captures the spirit of the season.

Some points worth mentioning from Indiewire’s

  • Most accurate representation of Southern Californians in this special
  • How do people mistake reindeer for a dog
  • Best Holiday moment was a palm tree with christmas lights
  • Strangest easter egg, at the bottom of said palm tree is a pentagram