December 4th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
The beloved television holiday specials known as the Original Christmas Classics ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" are the most well-known) are now available on Blu-ray.
"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," celebrating its 40th anniversary this year (and packaged with Rudolph and Frosty as part of "The Original Christmas Classics" Blu-ray box-set) tells the story of how Kris Kringle became Santa Claus and various holiday traditions came to be - such as gift giving, the origin of the Christmas tree, why people hang stockings, why Santa wears a red suit, why he keeps a list, and why children write him letters. The special features the voices of Fred Astaire as Special Delivery ("S.D. for short") Kluger and Mickey Rooney as Santa. (Incidentally, Rooney went on to portray Santa Claus six more times.)
For many people, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one viewing of these specials that remain among the top-rated year after year, often beating out more recent specials, which are arguably more sophisticated. Just goes to show that while it's easy to make a holiday movie or TV special, it’s hard to make one that will go down in history (like Rudolph!).
"Rudolph" was considered ahead of its time when it was produced in stop-motion back in 1964. The characters and sets in it, along with "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," were created using wood and plastic, not clay.
Of course, with the advent (pun intended!) of new technologies like Blu-ray and TiVo, we no longer need to rely on network broadcast schedules to enjoy them. But many people insist on watching them on TV for the holiday commercials (the M&M's bumping into Santa Claus "He does exist"/"They do exist!" commercial comes to mind).
Why do you think these specials (along with the equally popular "A Charlie Brown Christmas") remain fan favorites after all these years?
What are your favorite holiday specials? No judgments here! If you have a cheesy, guilty pleasure favorite we want to know what it is. Is there a particular scene that gets you every time?
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