Christmas

Jeri Jacquin

Now on DVD and Bluray in the Deluxe Edition from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment are five holiday favorites that let us all know the fun is here with THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS COLLECTION.

What is on the collection you ask? Only the best of Rankin & Bass with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman,  Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy and Cricket on the Hearth.

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On December 6, 1964, the shape of holiday programming was about to change as Sam the Snowman tells the story of Santa and Mrs. Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph is born to the lead reindeer on Santa’s team, Donner. The parents are quite surprised when they see that their young son’s nose glows a bright red. Santa sees it and Donner realizes that they will have to cover the glow so Rudolph can be seen as normal.

Going out for reindeer games a year later, Rudolph meets doe Clarice and one word from her makes him fly – literally. Unfortunately, the covered up nose comes off and he ends up being pushed away by the other reindeer. Deciding to run away, Rudolph meets Hermey, an elf who is having a similar identity crisis. He wants to be a dentist and not be just a toy maker.

While on the snowy road, they meet Yukon Cornelius who wants nothing more than to find silver and gold. Following them is the Abominable Snow Monster and they manage to allude him to the Island of Misfit Toys and King Moonracer who asks Rudolph that if he ever go home to tell Santa about all the toys on his island looking for homes.

Taking off on his own to avoid troubling his friends, Rudolph becomes a young stag and returns home only to find from Santa that his parents and Clarice have also been gone a long time. Looking for him has put them in danger and now he must find them. With the help of Hermey and Yukon, Rudolph finally discovers who he is and where his place is among his family, friends and the community he loves.

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Cricket on the Hearth tells the story of a cricket that seems to be the guardian angel of the Peerybingle family. The 50-minute production contains Animagic and songs that were composed by Maury Laws and Jules Bass.

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On December 19, 1968 The Little Drummer Boy the story of Aaron, and orphan boy, plays drums for the animals. After a tragedy at home, Aaron joins a caravan that performs in Jerusalem but in his anger he lashes out at the townspeople. When the troupe comes across a Magi, Aaron discovers they are following a star to Bethlehem. When one of his friends his hurt, he wishes to play his drum to make him well but something even more special changes for the young boy.

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Frosty the Snowman sang and danced its way into homes on December 7, 1969 as a group of kids build a snowman and name him Frosty. What they don’t realize is that once they place a hat on his a little holiday magic brings him to life. Young Karen notices that the temperature is starting to melt her friend and, along with rabbit Hocus Pocus, know they must get him to the North Pole as quickly as possible.

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On December 14, 1970, Fred Astaire becomes a part of our holidays at S.D. Kluger, the special delivery mailman who knows the story of Santa Clause. The ruler of Sombertown is the grouchy ole Burgermeister Meisterburger. When a baby is left on his doorstep with the name Claus, he is suppose to be taken to an orphanage. Instead a wind takes him to the Mountain of the Whispering Winds and taken to Tanta Kringle who names him Kris.

As Kris grows up, he wants to deliver toys to the kids in Sombertown only to discover that the Burgermeister has banned them. That doesn’t seem to stop Kris, especially when he meets the town’s school teacher Miss Jessica. The Burgermeister has taken all the toys that Kris delivered away but Kris promises to fix the problem even though he knows there is a trap set for him. Instead, he finds a safe place to make toys and one night a year makes us all believe in everything good.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Enchanting Bonus Features in the include The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass – An all new documentary celebrating the legacy of the holiday specials created by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass including interviews with the filmmakers and historians, Restoring the Puppets of Rudolph – Discover how the puppets from the beloved special were restored and Reimagining Rudolph in 4D – A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer attraction film.

Also, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Attraction Film A short stop-motion film originally created for a Rudolph 4D experience, T.E.A.M. Rudolph and the Reindeer Games – A video storybook including the untold story of the Reindeer Games, Frosty the Snowman Pencil Test and Commentaries on Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.

There hasn’t been a Christmas since I was four that I haven’t watched these classic holiday specials. It was quite easy to pass that tradition on to my own kids who are now sharing them with children of their own. What makes this such a magnificent set to own is that now we can watch them any time we like!

Also, as they only air once during the holiday season, the entire family can watch them again and again leading up to Christmas Day. For my family that’s pretty important because we can’t get enough of Rudolph, Santa, Frosty, the Drummer Boy or having a Cricket watching over us all.

Rankin/Bass brought so many animated specials to television and these five particularly stand out. The company was founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass with holiday specials that led to equally beloved specials. It must be said that in 1977, Rankin/Bass gave me such a gift when it animated J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and it still is one of my very favorites today.

The Animagic and animation of these specials are still as stunning and lovely today as they were beginning in 1964. It did not take long for each of these characters to become iconic and recognized in an instant by children and children at heart. Now having them all on DVD and the magnificent and stunning colors of Bluray, THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS SPECIALS COLLECTION needs to have a special place in everyone’s home entertainment library.

Now, if you will excuse me, my granddaughter and I have a holiday date starting with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

In the end – the holiday season has arrived as old friends wait to celebrate with the entire family!

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