Show Notes for Episode 19: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Show notes, courtesy of Anthony
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- I like the conceit of using S.D. Kluger (the mailman) to explain the origins of Santa via addressing the questions children have. (He does the same thing for the Easter Bunny in a spiritual sequel a few years later.)
- Out of all of the Rankin/Bass specials, I find this is the one that holds up best from a pure story standpoint. It has the strongest narrative structure, and the least excess fat/filler. The extensions this film adds to Santa’s story feel a lot more organic to his story and mythology than the Rudolph extensions were. It’s the one I could see eventually being remade/adapted for the big-screen as a feature film by expounding upon certain elements.
- I generally find the songs in this film a lot catchier and more memorable than Rudolph. (For the most part, personally. Rudolph may have one or two that are more iconic, but I prefer the songs in this film overall.)
- Burgermeister = Chief Magistrate. (He’s a Mayor in this film.)
- Clearly people in Sombertown are afraid of Burgermeister – why would Claus’ birth mom leave him on his doorstep?
- Winter Warlock – love him.
- Not sure how I feel about Santa being a ginger…
- I like that the animals teach Kris a lot in life, and that Kris maintains a good relationship with them throughout his life. I’ve always imagined Santa is very good with animals, like he is with kids. He has to have a good relationship with them if he wants to get in and out of houses with pets.
- How flippin’ adorable is Topper? Seriously. So cute! Love his character. Though I can’t help but wonder if maybe they should have made him a reindeer instead of a penguin? Given Santa’s longstanding closeness with reindeer?
- I like that Kris turns himself in to save Topper.
- Jessica’s song is the only boring one.
- “The custom started long, long ago. When first the wise men three gave gifts to a newborn baby.”
- “He’s very good isn’t he?” “Uh huh.” “Is that why he’s called Santa?” “That’s why.”
- “I’m afraid I’m going to have to limit my journeys to one a year. But which night should I choose? I wonder.” “It wasn’t a hard decision to make. They chose of course the holiest night of the year. The night of profound love. Which of course was the perfect night for giving.” “Christmas Eve?” “Christmas Eve. And that’s how it all started.”
- The story is set in Germany and all of the characters are necessarily Germans but only the evil characters actually speak with German accents or have stereotypical German mannerisms. The other characters are depicted as being essentially Americans.
- Kris Kringle says his first line after the first eight minutes of the program.
- When it originally aired the Penguin’s name was actually Waddles. In the early 1980s it was inexplicably change to Topper
- In the ABC version, the songs “If you Sit on My Lap Today” and “My World is Beginning Today” are cut, while the ABC Family version cuts out scenes that may be traumatizing for younger viewers, most notably the scene where Burgermeister Meisterburger burns all of the toys belonging to the children of Sombertown.