Jimmy Steal

Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass were men of genius. The stories they devised and cultivated or adapted and created into their own have made generations of children and adults find the true meaning of Christmas right in their own living rooms. The holidays are just not the holidays until you see Rudolph on the screen. Now with streaming services so prevalent, you can watch old Rudy and his buddies on the Island Of Misfit Toys any day, any time of the year!

The key to the success of the Rankin/Bass animated holiday classics was twofold, really. First, the stop-action animation from Japan was fantastic. Rankin/Bass was one of the first Western to outsource this low-budget technology from a Japanese studio, Moshi Productions. That’s why they stand out so much because here in the United States, there weren’t that many children’s shows using that type of technology. Funny thing is, the reason that Rankin/Bass chose to use Moshi Productions’ stop animation, was because it was cheap! So low budget turned into high ratings.

The second key to success for the Rankin/Bass team was the voice actors they used. Since the early days of their studios, they employed their own stable voice-over talent. Names you may not have ever heard of, but if you are a Rankin’/Bass fan, you know the sounds of! Names like Paul Soles, Larry Mann, Paul Klingman, and Paul Frees to name a few. They were in many many Rankin/Bass shows. Furthermore, legendary celebrities were hired to lend their voices to key characters in many of the most popular shows. Fred Astaire, Vincent Price, Berl Ives, Jimmy Durante, Mickey Rooney, and Shirley Booth all had major voice roles in the most famous of Rankin/Bass holiday classic shows.

Here are the best from Rankin/Bass.

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