Tuesday, 22 December 2020

i’m mister green christmas, i’m mister sun, i’m mister heat blister, i’m mister one hundred and one

Never able to resist the delightfully weird theology of Rankin/Bass productions, we’ve been rather enjoying the duelling melodies of the Brothers Miser from the 1974 special The Year Without Santa Claus. Having come down with a cold before the Christmas rush, Santa’s physician advises a change in routine, suggesting that his role is diminished in the modern era and that no one believes in him anymore, and despite objections by Mrs Claus (voiced by Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth) decides to take a sabbatical rather than deliver gifts.

Undeterred, Mrs Claus dispatches two elves, Jingle and Jangle, with Vixen the reindeer to gather proof that people do care about Christmas and believe in Santa. Flying from the North Pole, their mission gets blown off track by a weather front caused by the bickering of the Snow Miser (Dick Shawn) and the Heat Miser (George S. Irving) who control the world’s weather. Crash-landing in a place called Southtown, Vixen is caught and put in the dog-pound, city authorities find their alibi laughable but agree to free Vixen if they can prove that they are elves by making it snow for Christmas. The Clauses travel to Southtown separately to try to rectify the situation and free their friends—the Misers conceding after Mother Nature compels her sons to compromise. Upon learning what’s afoot in Southtown and that Santa Claus has grown despondent, the children of the world begin to send Santa presents, this gesture convincing him to undertake his annual route after all—appearing in public in Southtown as snow falls. The show ends with Mrs Claus’ commentary somehow, “yearly, newly, faithfully and truly,” Santa always comes and we could never imagine a Christmas without him.