Favorite Xmas Scene Theatre: The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)

I don’t need to extoll the iconic virtues of the Rankin/Bass seasonal specials that dominated the airwaves of the 1960’s and 70’s. With lovely stop-motion “Animagic” by Tadahito Mochinaga and catchy clever songs by Maury Laws, it was never officially Christmas until Rudolph’s nose went bright with an electronic beep or the Burgermeister Meisterburger sang of his difficult responsibilities. He could have written a great Broadway musical, and since the specials featured stage folk like Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, and Fred Astaire, it probably wasn’t far from his mind. In fact, Laws arguably greatest moment, the dueling songs of the irrepressible Snow and Heat Misers, from 1974’s THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS, is the definition of a “show stopper.” Perfectly voiced by Dick Shawn and George S. Irving (natch), the binary team kick up an animated jazz storm and it doesn’t get much better then when the mini-heat miser chorus do their side-step tribute around their fiery boss as he wails, “Sing it!”

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2 Responses to “Favorite Xmas Scene Theatre: The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)”

  1. I was gonna complain that the vid has lodged the tune in my cranium, but the truth is, the mere mention of it was enough to do the trick. But at least now I’ll get the lyrics right.

    I like how the Snow Miser song is brisk while Heat Miser’s version is languid and bumpy-grindy. That’s the sort of detail you don’t appreciate as a brat.

    Is there a cover album of these? Seems inevitable that there would be. Tom Waits doing Heat Miser…. a no-brainer.

  2. i remember these from when i was but a lass. merry christmas everyone.

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