One of the cornerstones of my childhood are the sweet memories of Christmas back in the 80’s. As a kid, things felt magical at that time of the year, especially thanks to all of the animated specials that aired on TV before the holidays. Famed company Rankin/Bass was a powerhouse back then, as they released hit after hit of Christmas programs such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Now these classics are available together along with some others in high definition in The Original Christmas Classics Collector’s Edition two-disc Blu-ray set. These wonderfully made specials are sure to rekindle the flame of any viewer’s childhood while becoming fond memories for a new generation of children.
In the 1964 classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the popular song became a stop-motion animated masterpiece. Narrated by Burl Ives, who also sang a few of the memorable songs in the special, the story follows the troubled life of Rudolph as he goes from being teased by others for his glowing nose, to making friends with Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist instead of making toys in Santa’s workshop, to being a hero that saves Christmas. This was followed up in 1969 with Frosty the Snowman, which featured comedy legends Jimmy Durante and Jackie Vernon as the narrator and star of the story. Here we get to see a traditional cel-animated treat of the song come to life, as some children lovingly create Frosty the Snowman who comes alive with the power of a magical hat.
Rankin/Bass would return to their stop-motion magic in 1970’s Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, which turns the classic song into an origin story of Santa Claus and how he came to be the famous legend that children (and some some adults) look up to. This special is fondly remembered for starring Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney, both who give wonderful performances at the narrator and star of the show. There’s also plenty of other specials included in this collection, such as Frosty Returns, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, The Little Drummer Boy, and Cricket on the Hearth that will keep families entertained for hours on end.
To say I enjoyed these classics would be an understatement, as viewing them was akin to going back in time to my childhood. It also didn’t hurt seeing them in high definition, as they look and sound better than ever. There aren’t any extra features, but having these seven features is special enough and will keep any viewer happy as they watch.
The Original Christmas Classics Collector’s Edition makes a perfect gift for the holidays or anytime for that matter. I’m glad to know that these seven specials will be around for ages to come, and will entertain and delight those who watch, young and old. If you’ve never seen these or have but don’t own them yet, do yourself a favor and pick this set up, as Christmas (or life in general) isn’t the same without them.