26
Dec
09

The One With The Miser Brothers

I admit that “The Year Without a Santa Claus” is my second-favorite animated Christmas special behind “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”   My partiality toward this particular cartoon has everything to do with the presence of the Miser Brothers, the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser. ABC first showed this Rankin-Bass production in 1974,

In the vein of the animated “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, “The Year Without a Santa Claus” follows the theme of Christmas being in jeopardy and someone having to save it.   In this case, it’s up to Mrs. Santa Claus and Santa’s two main elves, Jingle and Jangle, to try to rescue the Yuletide holiday when Santa falls ill and, under the advice of his doctor, issues a press release saying that Christmas has been cancelled for the year.  This suits Santa just fine since he thinks no one cares about Christmas anymore, anyway.

After Santa’s press release, Mrs. Claus asks Jingle and Jangle to travel from the North Pole to a town where they can find some Christmas cheer.  Jingle and Jangle, along with Santa’s reindeer Vixen, happen upon Southtown USA where  a young boy named Ignatius Thistlewhite is trying to revive a Christmas festival.    Jingle and Jangle encounter various problems in their efforts, not the least of which is the presence of the Heat Miser and the Heat Miser’s half-brother, the Snow Miser.

Santa eventually travels to Southtown to try and help Jingle, Jangle and Vixen (who, by now, is imprisoned in the dog pound and sick due to exposure to the heat of Southtown).  While in Southtown, Santa comes across Ignatius and his parents, who invite him into their home for some tea in an effort to help Santa get over his cold.   The Thistlewhites don’t know the man at their door is Santa Claus because he uses an assumed name.  Ignatius tells Santa that he has come across Jingle, Jangle and Vixen.   Santa is able to track down Jingle and Jangle, who have been unable to get Vixen out of the dog pound.  Santa, Jingle and Jangle  travel to the office of Southtown’s mayor and tell him their story.  The mayor says  he will believe their story only if they can make it snow in Southtown.   When Santa leaves Southtown to return Vixen to the North Pole, Jingle and Jangle call Mrs. Claus  and tell her what’s going on.  Mrs. Claus, Jingle, Jangle and Ignatius travel to see the Snow Miser, who agrees to making it snow in Southtown if his half-brother, the Heat Miser, will allow it.

Mrs. Claus and the others travel to Southtown to discuss their proposal with the Heat Miser.   Although he doesn’t want to, the Heat Miser goes along with the idea–if the Snow Miser will, in turn, allow the North Pole to experience one warm day. 

In an effort to secure the cooperation of the Misers with one another, Mrs. Claus calls on their mother, Mother Nature, who uses her influence to get her sons to cooperate so that Christmas can resume.   When it snows in Southtown, Santa decides to declare the resumption of Christmas.

Among the voice artists in “The Year Without a Santa Claus” were Shirley Booth (Mrs. Claus), Mickey Rooney (Santa Claus), Dick Shawn (The Snow Miser), George S. Irving (The Heat Miser) and Rhoda Mann (Mother Nature).  I have attached a YouTube video which features the musical performances of the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser.  The sources of my information for this entry were the Big Cartoon Database and the Christmas Specials Wiki.

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