The Year Without a Santa Claus is yet another Rankin/Bass stop motion Christmas special. It was released in 1974. Unlike many of the Rankin/Bass productions, this one is not based off a song. It is based upon a children’s book.
This is my favorite of the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, and it is the last of them that I will be watching this year. I think the reason that I like this one so much more than the others, is because it is a much more original story. The ones based upon the songs all have stories that I’ve heard so many times that there is very little novelty to them. This one, though, is a very interesting story. In fact this one was so interesting, that a live action film of the same name, was based upon it. I’ve never seen that, however, and I can’t imagine that it was very good.
Like all of these TV specials, this one has some serious plot holes. The elves, Jingle and Jangle, receive a ticket from a policeman for “wearing funny suits on a Sunday”, that same day, Iggy tells his parents that he met the elves at school. Now I’ve never heard of school being held on the weekend, and I doubt things were any different in the 60s. That was just a minor plot hole. The really big one, was that Mrs. Santa Claus sent Jingle and Jangle to Southtown, to find some Christmas spirit, in order to motivate Santa to make his deliveries that year. About half way through the show, the plot completely changes, and the characters are now trying to find some Christmas spirit, so that the world will be kind enough to give Santa a day off. He was going to take the day off anyway! They were trying to get him not to take the day off. How come all of the sudden they want him to take the day off? I’m not sure how such a big shift in plot went unnoticed, but there it is.
Like I said, though, this is my favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas special. It has the best songs of all of the specials. The Snow Miser and Heat Miser songs are especially good, but all of them are fun.
There will be two more days of TV specials for me, then I will get into feature films, so check back for my comments on them.