Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

And here I have the problem with doing Fishing in the Discount Bin months in advance.  It's September, but I'm doing a Christmas special!  I originally jotted this one down on January 6, 2017, so it seems like I was always running a little behind on this one.  Anyway, my thoughts on Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.

A long time ago, I questioned the logic of buying a Christmas special on home media.  I mean, the one time of year you're going to watch it is the one time of year it's on TV ad nauseum.  But I finally figured out why you'd want to buy one.  Over the years, they edit them more and more to make room for more commercials.  So getting it on home media is the only way you're going to get it complete and uncut.  Which is why I finally broke down and bought Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.

Rankin-Bass is still famous for their animated Christmas specials, the their core trilogy is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is Comin' to TownSanta Claus is definitely my favourite, because it's so dated.  Made in 1970, it portrays Santa as dirty hippie fighting against the Man.  It's awesome. 

These specials always had a celebrity narrator, and here, it's the legendary Fred Astaire voicing mailman SD Klueger.  While fixing his snowmobile as he delivers letters to Santa, he begins to tell us the secret origin of Santa.  Many years ago, in a bleak town called Sombertown, there was an orphan.  His identity unknown, save for a pendant in his basket labeled "Claus."  A twist of fate sees the baby taken in by a family of elves, the Kringles, who name him Kris.  The Kringles were once master toymakers, but they cannot deliver their toys, for they have to venture to Sombertown through the domain of the Winter Warlock.  When he comes of age, Kris vows that he will deliver the toys to Sombertown. 

Turns out, though, that the ruler of Sombertown, Burgermeister Meisterburger, once tripped over a toy, so in a petty act of vengeance, he banned toys from Sombertown.  And so, Kris Kringle adopts many of his mannerisms as a way to circumvent the Burgermeister's laws.  Imposing a curfew so Kris can't come through the front door?  He starts sliding down the chimney!  Houses are routinely searched for toys?  Kris starts hiding them in the stockings, hung by the fireplace to dry!  Kris eventually makes an ally of the Winter Warlock, and thanks to some magic spells Kris learns from him, he can see you when you're sleeping, and know if you're awake. 

So what's my favourite part that they always cut?  Well, Kris soon makes an ally of Jessica, Sombertown's schoolmarm.  And when Jessica starts realizing that she has feelings for Kris, she has the very psychedelic musical number where she discovers her womanhood.  I kid you not!  I can see why it's cut, because it's the only psychedelic animation in the piece, and it does seem out of place.  While this special is dated enough, this is the most dated part. 

So now that I have it on Blu-Ray, I can enjoy it every Christmas!  For about the past five years, I've been taking to Twitter to complain about its deletion.  But now I can enjoy it. 

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