Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!
I’m a little torn by this one… On the one hand, a pimptastically-dressed, strapping young man struts into town and starts bribing children to sit on his lap and kiss him? Seems like he’d fit right in with Brandon and the other pedos. Except that his interaction with minors is always in public, and he sparks-up a romance with the very first full-grown, age-appropriate woman he meets. (Rankin/Bass and their curvy redheads… See MAD MONSTER PARTY from a few weeks ago.)
On the other hand, Kris Kringle’s story is all about non-compliance with arbitrary authority. That’s a lesson a lot of Americans need to revisit these days. Better to be declared an outlaw and a rebel than to let pathetic Little Tin Gods run your life!
This one tends to get butchered quite a bit on TV. Not for the cringe of children exchanging kisses with strange adults for toys… Mostly so they can squeeze-in a few more commercials, avoid traumatizing wee snowflakes with the burning toy pile, and minimize the rebel message.
Note the quick Rudolph cameo. Unlike Santa, the elves, and the eight original reindeer, who were all public domain, Rudy was the property of Robert L. May, who created the character for Montgomery Ward in 1939, so they had to brush him off as “another story”, though the producers had licensed him before, and would do so again.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN came in 1970, when Rankin/Bass Animagic was at it’s peak… They’d do a rather different origin story for Santa 15 years later as the form’s swan song. More from the OldHorseman.