Ricky Hanson Videos: Classic Christmas Movies Compilation
0:07 Frosty the Snowman
25:17 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
1:16:52 Santa Claus is Coming to Town
2:07:17 The Little Drummer Boy
“Frosty the Snowman” is a popular Christmas song written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 and later recorded by Jimmy Durante in that year. It was written after the success of Autry’s recording of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the previous year; Rollins and Nelson shopped the new song to Autry, who recorded “Frosty” in search of another seasonal hit. Like “Rudolph”, “Frosty” was subsequently adapted to other media including a popular television special.
Frosty the Snowman is a 1969 American animated Christmas television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. It is the first television special featuring the character Frosty the Snowman. The special first aired on December 7, 1969 on the CBS television network in the United States, airing immediately after the fifth showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas; both scored high ratings. The special has aired annually for the network’s Christmas and holiday season every year since.
The special was based on the Walter E. Rollins and Steve Nelson song of the same name. It featured the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante (in his final film role) as the film’s narrator, Billy De Wolfe as Professor Hinkle, and Jackie Vernon as Frosty.
The special’s story follows a group of school children, led by a girl named Karen, who build a snowman called Frosty and place a magician’s hat on his head, which makes him come to life. Unfortunately, however after noticing the high hot temperature and fearing that he would melt, Frosty, along with Karen and a rabbit named Hocus Pocus, must go to the North Pole to be safe from melting.
Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass wanted to give the show and its characters the look of a Christmas card, so Paul Coker Jr., a greeting card and Mad magazine artist, was hired to do the character and background drawings. The animation was produced by Mushi Production in Tokyo, Japan, with Yusaku “Steve” Nakagawa and then-Mushi staffer Osamu Dezaki (who is uncredited) among the animation staff. Durante was one of the first people to record the song when it was released in 1950 (though at the time the song had slightly different lyrics); he re-recorded the song for the special.
Rankin/Bass veteran writer Romeo Muller adapted and expanded the story for television, as he had done with the “Animagic” stop-motion production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
TV Guide ranked the special number 9 on its 10 Best Family Holiday Specials list.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer created by Robert L. May. Rudolph is usually depicted as the ninth and youngest of Santa Claus’s reindeer, using his luminous red nose to lead the reindeer team and guide Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. Though he initially receives ridicule for his nose as a fawn, the brightness of his nose is so powerful that it illuminates the team’s path through harsh winter weather. Ronald D. Lankford, Jr., described Rudolph’s story as “the fantasy story made to order for American children: each child has the need to express and receive approval for his or her individuality and/or special qualities. Rudolph’s story embodies the American Dream for the child, written large because of the cultural significance of Christmas.”
Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by May and published by Montgomery Ward, the department store.
The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, LP and has been adapted into numerous forms including the song by Johnny Marks, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July from Rankin/Bass Productions, as well as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys from GoodTimes Entertainment. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, LP and DreamWorks Classics. In many countries, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore. 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of the character and the 50th anniversary of the Rankin/Bass television special. A series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph was issued by the United States Postal Service on November 6, 2014.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town is a 1970 stop motion Christmas television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions in New York, New York. The film is narrated by Fred Astaire and stars the voices of Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn, Robie Lester, Joan Gardner, and Paul Frees, as well as an assistant song performance by the Westminster Children’s Choir. The film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be. It is based on the hit Christmas song “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”, which was written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie for Leo Feist, Inc. and introduced on radio by Eddie Cantor in 1934, and the story of Saint Nicholas.
The special was created using Japanese stop motion animation called “Animagic”, in which all the characters are made out of wood and plastic and animated via stop-motion photography. The special was originally telecast on December 13, 1970 by ABC, which continues to air the special every year along with its sister network Freeform as of 2022 (commemorating the special’s 50th anniversary), though both channels have at times edited the special to make room for commercials.
The Little Drummer Boy is a stop motion television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions, based on the song of the same name. It was first televised in Canada on December 19, 1968 on the CTV Television Network, followed four days later by its American nationwide release on NBC. A sequel was broadcast in 1976.
A young Jewish boy named Aaron lives a peaceful and happy life with his parents on a farm with their three farm animals, Samson the Donkey, Baba the Lamb, and Joshua the Camel. On his birthday, Aaron’s parents give him a drum as a gift, to which the animals dance when he plays it. One night, bandits from the desert steal their livestock, kill Aaron’s parents, and burn the farm down. Emotionally scarred from the tragedy, Aaron begins to hate all humanity. Because his drumming can make the three animals dance, Aaron is kidnapped and forced to join Ben Haramed’s caravan with rather inept performers against his will. When performing in Jerusalem, Aaron becomes infuriated by the townspeople’s amusement and lashes out at them for being thieves and knaves.
Some time later, the troupe comes upon the Magi caravan who are following a bright star in the sky. Seizing his chance, Ben greedily attempts to perform for the Magi, but they are uninterested as they try to make haste to get to the star’s destination. One of the caravan camels becomes too weak to continue traveling and the Magi has no extra camel, so Ben seizes Aaron and bargains with them that they use Joshua in exchange for some of their gold, but Aaron refuses to take any gold from Ben and leaves for Bethlehem with Samson and Baba. Later Aaron and his two remaining animal companions Samson and Baba escape, climb the tallest hill and join up with the Magi as they follow the star and then journey toward Bethlehem. There, upon recognizing Joshua and trying to reunite with him, Baba is struck by a Roman chariot. Aaron takes the injured lamb to the Magi to be healed, but they insist that maybe the baby can help. Having no gift to give to the baby, Aaron decides that his “gift” to Him and His parents will be his playing his drum for them. As a sign of gratitude, Baba is healed and rushes into Aaron’s arms, filling Aaron’s heart with joy at last.