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Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

  • Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July on Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

    (#2) Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July

    • Mickey Rooney, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Ethel Merman, Don Messick, Paul Frees, Darlene Conley, Harold Peary, Billie Mae Richards, Nellie Bellflower, Alan Sues, Jackie Vernon, Shelby Flint

    Despite the presence of Rudolph and Frosty, this is not really a Christmas special. It's more of a Fourth of July special - despite first airing in November - and there's a couple of oddball plotlines going on in this one.

    First, a mad sorcerer named Winterbolt is trying to best Santa, forcing Kris Kringle to summon Rudolph for help. Second, Rudolph and Frosty are inexplicably trying to prevent a circus from closing due to unpaid debts. Happy holidays?

  • Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey on Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

    (#8) Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey

    • Roger Miller, Brenda Vaccaro, Don Messick, Paul Frees, Linda Gary Howerton

    Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey tells the story of Mary and Joseph's donkey. He guides the young couple to Bethlehem, where Mary gives birth to Jesus. It's a sweet tale, but like Jack Frost, it's a heartbreaker.

    All the animals in the stable mercilessly bully Nestor because of his oversized ears, to the point that Nestor's mother gives him socks to cover up his floppy appendages. Then Nestor is separated from his mother when his owner throws him out into a blizzard.

    Listen to the title song, if you dare. But bring Kleenex. Some of the lyrics include:

    And all the camels teased him

    The other donkeys, too

    They said, look at little Nestor

    There's nothing he can do

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

    (#10) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    • Janis Orenstein

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer portrays Santa as having something of a messiah complex. He forces the elves to sing about what an incredible boss he is and how lucky they are to work for him. Also, the female reindeer are relegated to second-class citizens, confined to their caves and forced into problematic and archaic stereotypes.

    Furthermore, there's an uncomfortable message being sent regarding acceptance and inclusivity. To name two examples: Rudolph is only loved and accepted when he's found to be useful to Santa, and defective toys - those toys deemed less than perfect - are exiled and banished forever.

  • Jack Frost on Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

    (#9) Jack Frost

    • Buddy Hackett, Don Messick, Paul Frees, Larry Storch, Dave Garroway, Robert Morse, Dina Lynn, Sonny Melendrez, Debra Clinger, Dee Stratton

    You'd be forgiven if you thought this was a lighthearted fairytale about that little winter sprite who's always nipping at your nose. But joyous it's not. In fact, Rankin/Bass's Jack Frost is a major downer of a holiday special.

    The title character is briefly made human, only to be returned to sprite form in the end. And he doesn't even win the heart of Elisa, the woman for whom he transformed. Instead, he has to watch as she falls in love with someone else.

  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus on Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

    (#4) The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

    • Alfred Drake, Bob McFadden, Earle Hyman, Earl Hammond

    The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was the last stop-motion animation Christmas special produced by Rankin/Bass. And, boy, does it deal with some weirdly heavy subject matter for kids' programming.

    Based on the L. Frank Baum book of the same name, this special makes no bones about the fact that Santa is a mythical being. In fact, he's living in a mythical world full of nymphs and fairies and fantastical creatures. There's a whole good-versus-evil thing going on, but the story mainly centers on whether the mythic folk who inhabit Santa's world will make him immortal.

  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town on Random Rankin/Bass Stop-Motion Christmas Stories From Your Youth Are Weirder Than You Remember

    (#3) Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

    • Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, Keenan Wynn, Paul Frees, Robie Lester, Joan Gardner, Dina Lynn, Gary White, Greg Thomas, Andrea Sacino

    On the Rankin/Bass weirdness scale, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town falls on the calmer end of things, but there are two standout moments that deserve mention. First, the villain, Burgermeister Meisterburger, is a walking stereotype. Also, Jessica - who falls in love with Santa - has a song about how head-over-heels she is for Kris Kringle. As she's singing, she seems to go on an acid trip.

    Creepiest of all is what isn't in the film. Rumor has it there was a song that ABC removed before air that centered around the pleasure Santa gets when kids sit on his lap. Some of the alleged lyrics went:

    If you sit on my lap today

    A kiss a toy is the price you'll pay

    When you tell what you wish for

    In a whisper

    Be prepared to pay

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About This Tool

Rankin/Bass Animation Entertainment has created the longest-lasting holiday TV specials ever, the red-nosed reindeer and Rudolph, Frosty Snowman are the most popular animated Rankin/Bath characters, and more classic Christmas stories are familiar to children. The first Rankin/Bass animated Christmas special is also the most famous, since its premiere on NBC in 1964,  the TV shows have been regularly broadcast every Christmas holiday.

The Christmas holiday is not complete without Rankin Bass's Christmas purpose. Which are your favorite Christmas stories when you were a kid? Here the generator introduced 11 Rankin/Bass Christmas Stories that are weirder than your memory.

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