This newest week of Christmas special reviews has no particular theme, and it won’t just be Rankin/Bass. This Friday, we have a sort of bonus review, if you will, of It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992) because, frankly, I just didn’t know where else to put it. But today, we’re going to be talking about the Rankin/Bass animated short, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas from 1974!
Based very loosely on the poem of the same name by Clement Clarke Moore, this was a really cute animated special about a town called Junctionville that inadvertently ticked off Santa Claus. The first sign that something is amiss is when everyone’s letters to the normally jovial Saint Nick are returned. Well, Father Mouse, assistant to the human clockmaker Joshua Trundle, soon comes to understand what has Santa so angry after he reads an anonymous letter in the town’s newspaper that states Santa doesn’t exist. Considering the rather large words found in the letter, Father Mouse realizes it was his son Albert who “ruined everyone’s Christmas with [his] opinions”.
To sort out this problem, Joshua tries to appease Santa by building a clock tower that will sing a special song, while Father Mouse manages to convince Albert to believe even in things he can’t see. All seems well until Albert causes trouble once again by messing around in the clock tower out of curiosity. When his father finds out, he tells Albert a very important message that you don’t hear much nowadays. Being sorry is not enough. You have to make it right.
To summarize, this special was really cute and had some good music, not to mention a great message that isn’t taught nearly as often as it should be. My only nitpick is Santa Claus’ appearance, which is…kind of terrifying. But that’s just me being picky. I would definitely recommend this one if you get the chance, though I can’t say as much for our next review, It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown from 1992.
Previous Rankin/Bass Reviews (and other similar holiday specials)
- Cricket on the Hearth (1967)
- Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)
- The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
- The First Easter Rabbit (1976)
- Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976)
- Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976)
- The Easter Bunny is Comin’ to Town (1977)
- Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)
- The Stingiest Man in Town (1978)
- Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)
- Pinocchio’s Christmas (1980)
- The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (1981)
- A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008)