Today's essay is on Rankin/Bass' 1974 animated TV special 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. It comes to us from Mickster. This essay is not the first time Mickster has shared her views on Rankin/Bass animated specials. She also wrote two essays for Kindertrauma, a site that is a fun look back at popular culture that has traumatized us as children. Check out Mickster's essays about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Year Without a Santa Claus. Her essays are fun, irreverent, and express feelings that a lot of us have about programs that we grew up with.
|Father Mouse explains the problem.|
Junctionville has a problem. The residents find that their letters to Santa have been returned unopened. Unfortunately, Santa is quite angry about a letter he received calling him a “fraudulent myth.” He blames the residents of Junctionville because the hurtful letter was simply signed, from “All of us.” Now, the townsfolk must devise a plan to make Santa happy again before he passes them by on Christmas Eve.
|Signed All of us.|
Why this is one of my all-time favorite Christmas specials-
This special is one of many (Rudolph, Year Without a Santa, The Grinch, etc.) that convinced me that Christmas could be canceled due to some problem. I found it especially troublesome that a child (Albert the mouse) would write a letter saying that Santa was not real. I did, however, find it heartwarming that two adults would try to make things right with Santa.
|I broke the clock.|
The clockmaker Joshua Trundle decides the solution is to make an enormous clock that would play a special song for Santa on Christmas Eve. Father Mouse attempts to convince his troublemaking son that Santa is indeed real.
|Give Your Heart a Try|
The music is another thing that makes TNBC so special to me. “Give Your Heart a Try,” sung by Father Mouse to the doubtful Albert is catchy and fun. “Even a Miracle Needs a Hand,” sung by Joshua Trundle to his sad children to raise their hopes simply makes me smile with a hint of a tear. “Christmas Chimes are Calling Santa,” played for an annoyed Santa on Christmas Eve brought relief to me as a child because I knew Santa would forgive the town and come after all.
|Even a Miracle Needs a Hand.|
There was plenty of suspense in TNBC for me as young child. Would Albert fix the clock in time? Would Santa forgive the town? Bottom line-Believe in Santa and be good or there could be dire consequences!
P.S. Santa looks weird without a mustache!