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The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974, Rankin-Bass)

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TOO MUCH!

I grew up on the Rankin-Bass specials such as The Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph and The Year Without a Santa Claus. When I got to be in the 6th grade or so I thought I was too 'mature' (yeah, right) for them, but I still secretly watched TYWASC just to see the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser do their thing. One night when I was a teenager a bunch of us were sitting around flipping channels and landed on the Snow Miser about to start. You can imagine how it went after that, since we were all trying to act nonchalant and cool:

"oh MAN, this dumb special."

"You want me to change it?"

"I don't care if you don't" (everyone starts sneaking glances at each other out of the corners of our eyes)

"I guess if you don't care I don't care."

"Hey, whatever." (maintaining cool)

"OK, whatever, I guess we'll leave it."


By the time Heat Miser was halfway through his big number we all had big grins on our faces. The next time it was on I taped it and we watched it every year. At some point, the tape broke (probably from overuse), but a few years ago I finally tracked down a copy of the video. Now it's back in print!

The whole special is cool (can't beat that RB stop-motion) but we bought it just to see the Miser brothers do their thing. It's worth the price of admission even though they only have about 10 minutes of screen time. This year we actually were going to give the whole movie a try, but lost patience after about 10 minutes (though kids might enjoy this more) and just cut to the chase and fast-forwarded to the Snow Miser. Usually when we dust off the copy every Christmas, my husband is the one hitting the rewind button after the big finish, "TOO MUCH!" (where they all throw their hats up in the air) and sheepishly saying " OK, uh, just one more time..."

Warning: you will NOT be able to get the song out of your head. I am completely serious when I say this. Those are catchy-ass songs! You will walk around for days with, "They call me Heat Miser, what ever I touch, starts to melt in my clutch..." running through your head. To this day I have yet to meet one person who hasn't seen the special, loved the song, and in fact most of them know all the lyrics.

You'll start singing it to yourself at work- "he's Mr. White Christmas he's Mr. Snow"...and without fail you'll hear someone else go, "I'm Mr. Icicle, I'm MIS-ter Ten below..."

They really should repackage the set featuring the Miser Bros, because it would fly off the shelves (usually people have trouble remembering which special they were on). At least put a little sticker with a picture of Heat Miser on the box or something, people will get the idea.

I'm also glad I'm not the only adult who has thought about who they would cast in a live-action version...we were thinking James Woods (who unfortunately looks more like Snow Miser every year...sorry, Jimmy) and-- hey, as long as we're dreaming here anyway-- Chris Farley for Mr. Heat Miser. My husband says Jerry Stiller.
Hey, email me with your suggestions. Or maybe I should set up a new vote.

Anyway, if you watched the special as a kid, and are holding off on purchasing a copy because you think it won't stand the test of time, trust me on this- IT WILL! It's...too much (BA-da-da-da).

grade - A

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