Rankin-Bass Holiday Specials
For nearly two decades during the late 60's to the early 80's, few television events got kids so excited as did the stop-motion-animated specials produced by Rankin-Bass. These programs remained beloved even as the children grew up into adults, turning many of the shows into holiday classics to be enjoyed again and again, year after year.
Here's a list of the Rankin-Bass holiday programs, beginning with the most famous reindeer of all:
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Stop-motion animated special based on the song made famous by Gene Autry and written by Johnny Marks. Narrated by Burl Ives and featuring the voices of Billie Richards as Rudolph and Stan Francis as Santa. Rankin/Bass Productions' best loved holiday special still airs every year on network television at Christmas time, making it the longest running holiday special of all time. Songwriter Johnny Marks, who wrote "Rudolph" in the late '40s, was a friend of Arthur Rankin and wrote many new songs ("Holly Jolly Christmas," "Silver And Gold," "We're A Couple Of Misfits," etc.) just for the special.
Cricket On The Hearth (1967)
Based on the story by Charles Dickens. Starring Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas, Hans Conreid, Paul Frees, and Roddy McDowall as the Cricket.
The Mouse On The Mayflower (1968)
Thanksgiving special done in cel animation. Narrated by Tennessee Ernie Ford and featuring the voice of Eddie Albert as Miles Standish.
The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
Stop-motion animated Christmas special featuring the voices of the Vienna Boys Choir, Jose Ferrer, Paul Frees, June Foray, and Greer Garson.
Frosty The Snowman (1969)
Cel animation Christmas special based on the famous song by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. Narrated by Jimmy Durante and starring the voice of Jackie Vernon as Frosty.
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (1970)
Stop-motion special based on the song by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. Narrated by Fred Astaire and featuring the voices of Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle, Keenan Wynn as Winter, and Paul Frees as Burgermeister Meisterburger.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)
Stop-motion animated Easter special based on the song by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. Narrated by Danny Kaye and featuring the voices of Casey Kasem as Peter, Paul Frees as Santa, and Vincent Price as Irontail.
'Twas The Night Before Christmas (1974)
Cel animated special based on the famous poem by Clement Moore. Featuring the voices of Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes, and George Gobel.
The Year Without Santa Claus (1974)
Stop-motion Christmas special based on the book by Phyllis McGinley. Starring the voices of Shirley Booth as Mrs. Claus, Mickey Rooney as Santa, Dick Shawn as Snow Miser, and George S. Irving as Heat Miser.
The First Christmas (1975)
Stop-motion animated special featuring the song "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin. Starring the voices of Angela Lansbury as Sister Theresa and Cyril Richards as Father Thomas.
The First Easter Bunny (1976)
Cel animated Easter special featuring the song "Easter Parade" by Irving Berlin. Narrated by Burl Ives as The Great Easter Bunny, and starring the voices of Robert Morse as Stuffy, Stan Freberg as Flops, and Paul Frees as Zero and Spats.
Frosty's Winter Wonderland (1976)
Cel animation Christmas special featuring the song "Winter Wonderland" by Dick Smith and Felix Bernard. Narrated by Andy Griffith and starring Shirley Winters as Crystal, Dennis Day as Parson Brown, Paul Frees as Jack Frost, and Jackie Vernon as Frosty.
Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976)
Stop-motion Christmas special. Starring the voices of Red Skelton as Father Time, Frank Gorshin as Sir Tentworthree, Morey Amsterdam as One Million B.C., Paul Frees as Santa, and Billie Richards as Rudolph.
The Little Drummer Boy, Book II (1976)
Stop-motion Christmas special. Narrated by Greer Garson and starring the voices of Zero Mostel as Brutus, David Jay as Aaron, and Bob McFadden as Plato.
The Easter Bunny Is Comin' To Town (1977)
Stop-motion Easter special. Narrated by Fred Astaire and featuring the voices of Skip Hinnant as Sunny The Easter Bunny and Bob McFadden as Chugs.
Nestor The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)
Stop-motion Christmas special based on the song by Gene Autry. Starring the voices of Brenda Vacaro as Tillie and Paul Frees as Olaf.
The Stingiest Man In Town (1978)
One hour cel animated Christmas special based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Starring Tom Bosley as B.A.H. Humbug, Walter Matthau as Scrooge, Dennis Day as Fred, Paul Frees as The Ghost Of Christmas Past, and Debra Clinger as Martha.
Jack Frost (1979)
One hour stop-motion animated Christmas special featuring the songs "Me And My Shadow" by Billy Rose, Al Jolsen, and Dave Dryer and "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme and Robert Wells.Pinocchio's Chrstmas (1980) Stop-motion animation special based on the classic fairy tales by C. Collodi. Featuring the voices of Alan King, George S. Irving, Robert McFadden, and Todd Porter.
The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold (1981)
Stop-motion animated special. Featuring the voices of Art Carney, Peggy Cass, Robert McFadden, and Ken Jennings.
The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus (1985)
Stop-motion Christmas special. The final R/B Holiday special, based on the story by "Wizard Of Oz" creator L. Frank Baum.