Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970)

One of the "Big Four" in the Rankin/Bass stable, Santa Claus is Coming to Town tells the story of the origins of Santa Claus and includes the voice talents of Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn, and Fred Astaire. 

 At the start of the film, a brief newsreel (narrated by Paul Frees) is shown, depicting kids worldwide awaiting Santa Claus. Then, Special Delivery "S.D." Kluger (Astaire) is introduced. His mail truck breaks down, so he begins to tell the story of Santa Claus, in order to answer children's letters to Santa. The show presents a bleak world where children aren't allowed to play with toys until Kris Kringle (adopted son of the Kringle family, a group of elves) brings his toys to the children upsetting the Burgermiester Miesterburger who then makes Kris an outlaw. Kris then changes his name to Claus, a name he had with him when found by the Kringles. The burgermiesters sort of "die off" and Kris, now Santa Claus, is free to distribute his toys to all of the children. But, he has to pick one night of the year due to the amount of requests from children. So, he picks the holiest night of the year, Christmas Eve. 

 The film ends as S.D. Kluger reflects on what Santa's real meaning is all about. Just then, though, S.D. remembers that he still has a load of letters to deliver to Santa. Then, joined by a parade of children, S.D. begins to sing Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. The film's closing scene has Kris and Jess (Mrs. Claus now) in silhouette, as he puts his old hat back on his head. Then, Santa steps out of his Palace, revealing himself in full splendor. 

 The special airs on ABC television and currently on ABC Family during it's 25 Days of Christmas.


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