Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

Bass/Rankin (1970)

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is a 1970 stop motion Christmas television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions in New York, New York. The film stars the voices of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn, Robie Lester, Joan Gardner and Paul Frees, as well as an assistant song performance by the Westminster Children’s Choir. The film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be. It is based on the hit Christmas song Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, which was written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie for Leo Feist, Inc. and introduced on radio by Eddie Cantor in 1934, and the story of Saint Nicholas.

The special was created using Japanese stop motion animation called Animagic, in which all the characters are made out of wood and plastic and animated via stop-motion photography. The special was originally telecast December 14, 1970 by ABC, which continues to air the special every year along with its sister network Freeform as of 2020 (commemorating the special’s 50th anniversary), though both channels have at times edited the special to make room for commercials.

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