Remember These Classics?

If you were a young person living in the USA over the last few decades then you will surely remember these classic films from a period spanning roughly from 1964 through to 1974 (anything after just wasn't quite the same). Brought to you by Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. (originally known as Videocraft International, Ltd.), stop-motion films like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and Little Drummer Boy (just to name a few from their output) became synonymous with the holiday period. Of course, when they first started appearing, they were considered features and, as such, you could only really see them at Christmas time. We seem to think that they were only shown one time during that period. Now, it is easier to come by them all. In fact, we've had a tough time trying to convince our 3 year-old daughter that the Frosty the Snowman DVD can only be watched during Christmas time and not in the blazing heat of July!

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was the first Christmas special produced by this team in 1964 (ugghhh, that's 45 years ago now!), and to this day remains one of the longest running TV specials ever! There remain many memorable scenes, many favorite songs, and in hindsight many popular actors and performers. We argue over which film is the better one, and everyone who is asked seems to have a different character or song that is their favorite. How about you?

Who could forget such characters as Santa's elves Jingle and Jangle. How about the Heat Miser, or Snow Miser? Then there's Herbey the Misfit Elf, Sam the Snowman, Clarice the Reindeer, the Bumble, the Island of Misfit Toys, the Burgermeister, and on and on. These films are truly classics. And even though they might have lost a bit of luster and magic over the ensuing decades, especially in comparison to todays children's movies, they are still enchanting. And, if your kids see them - you'll see that they are just as special today as they were when we were kids!

We wanted to share this idea with you just before Halloween when we were reminded of another lesser known classic Rankin/Bass stop-motion presentation from 1969 called 'Mad Monster Party.' Even though it doesn't rank as a Christmas classic, it may still be worth something to see - just for nostalgic reasons perhaps! Featuring such great actors from the period as Phyllis Diller and Boris Karloff (we believe it was the last film he was a part of before his death) - as well as the vocal similarity and visual likeness of the great Peter Lorre (as the character 'Yetch') and Jimmy Stewart (as the more vocal than visual character Felix). This was a film created as much for adults as it was for children (and you thought Pixar got their first) and included a whole host of musical/dancing numbers.... the most popular being when a group of skeleton rock musicians bang out a song called 'Do the Mummy.'

If you haven't seen them in a long time, or your children have not had the pleasure of watching them yet..... you simply must indulge them. Oh how exciting it was when you got to see these movies during this time of year. They just fit in with the growing excitement leading up to Christmas day! How exceptional those days were.... and still can be!

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