Christmas specials always appear on television during the holiday season. Most are from the 60s and 70s and are animated. In honor of Christmas fast approaching, here are the top 5 TV Christmas specials.
5. “The Year Without a Santa Claus”
Released in 1974, “The Year Without a Santa Claus” deals with Santa (Mickey Rooney) taking a break from the delivering presents. He sends two elves, Jingle (Bob McFadden) and Jangle (Bradley Bolke) to try and find proof that people still believe in Santa Claus. However, they and their reindeer, Vixen, are shot down over the fortresses of Snow Miser (Dick Shawn) and Heat Miser (George S. Irving). It’s now up to Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth, in her last acting role) to save the Christmas.
4. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”
Narrated by Fred Astaire, this hour-long special focuses on the origin of Santa Claus (Mickey Rooney), from his upbringing by a family of elves, to his first delivering of gifts. Claus tries to bring happiness to Sombertown, a town run by the notorious Burgermeister Meisterburger (Paul Frees), and not get captured by the infamous Winter Warlock (Keenan Wynn).
3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
The iconic special, based off of Dr. Seuss’ book of the same name, [deals with] the Grinch (Boris Karloff) and his plot to steal Christmas from Whoville dressed as Santa Claus. The film is known for the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.
2. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Narrated by Burl Ives, this special focuses on everyone’s favorite reindeer, Rudolph (Billie Mae Richards). Rudolph is an outcast in society due to his bright red nose. In his travels, he meets two more outsiders, an elf named Hermey (Paul Soles) and a prospector named Yukon Cornelius (Larry D. Mann). Together the three try to find their place in the world and evade the Abominable Snow Monster of the North.
1. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
With a jazz score and no laugh track, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” deals with Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) finding himself depressed during the holiday season. Lucy (Tracy Stratford) encourages Charlie to direct a Christmas play at their school. Meanwhile, Snoopy (Bill Melendez) enters his doghouse into a lights and display contest for cash. Also, Charlie’s sister Sally (Kathy Steinburg), has her brother write her Christmas list for Santa. She wants large sums of money (tens and twenties) for Christmas. This special is most famous for the Christmas tree, a small one with almost no leaves on it. The tree has become a staple around Christmas, with many people in search of the “Charlie Brown tree.” The special airs at least twice before Christmas, and helps continue the “Peanuts” phenomena.
Feature Image from @Peanuts_comics on Twitter.