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.

Larry Roemer (1964)

Please enjoy this animated Christmas classic.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1964 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. It first aired Sunday, December 6, 1964. The special was based on the Johnny Marks song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer which was itself based on the poem of the same name written in 1939 by Marks’ brother-in-law, Robert L. May.

As with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph no longer airs just once annually but several times during the Christmas and holiday season. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest continuously running Christmas TV special. The 50th anniversary of the television special was marked in 2014.

Ray Charles plays the Johnny Marks Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (2011).

Arthur Rankin, Jr. & Jules Bass (1977)

An animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale of the adventures of a hobbit on a quest to regain a dwarf king’s gold. Smaug is a dragon and the main antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit. He is a powerful and fearsome dragon that invaded the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor 150 years prior to the events described in the novel.

My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!

Smaug was a fire drake of the Third Age, considered to be the last “great” dragon to exist in Middle-earth. He was drawn towards the enormous wealth amassed by the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain during the reign of King Thror, and laid waste to the neighboring city of Dale and captured the Lonely Mountain, driving the surviving Dwarves into exile.

For 171 years, Smaug hoarded the Lonely Mountain’s treasures to himself, staying within the mountain, until a company of Dwarves managed to enter the Lonely Mountain and awaken him from hibernation. Correctly believing that the dwarves had received assistance from the men of Lake-town in entering the Lonely Mountain, Smaug left the mountain to wreak destruction upon Lake-town, nearly destroying it before being slain by Bard the Bowman.