Old "Twas the Night Before Christmas" special—twisted and freaky, am I right?

Well, I caught most of the perrenial Rankin-Bass Christmas special “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” (It’s the one based around the poem of the same name, albeit with talking mice, and a clockmaker.) Boy, and all things considered…this flick’s kinda twisted, morally, isn’t it?

(SPOILERS ahead, for those who didn’t see this one since it’s been run in 1974)

First off, the blatant anti-intellectual theme has been creeping me out, ever since I was a kid. First, the premise doesn’t make sense, when you put just a little thought into it—one of the main characters, a nerdly little mouse, causes all the trouble when he publishes a newsletter stating that Santa obviously can’t and doesn’t exist. However, this is not only in a world where Santa does exist, but there’s no secret about it. There’s a telephone switchboard at and mail service to the North Pole. If you stay up on Christmas eve, you can SEE him in the sky when he flies to your area. He leaves presents behind. If you were any kind of scientist in this world, you would conclude he DOES exist, because the evidence supports it. Yet the mouse kid is misguided because he “thinks too much [!] with his head, and not with his heart.” Like hell. If anything, he’d have to be the oppisate—some kind of fanatic.

Second, Santa Claus…what the hell’s HIS deal? He sees ONE letter in a small town newspaper—and what kind of obsessive freak goes over every newspaper in the world, looking for references to himself, with 1890s technology and resources? Can you imagine the kind of manpower that would require, in addition to the NORMAL miracles he has to pull off as part of his usual duties—and gets ticked because he sees ONE letter saying he doesn’t exist, signed “all of us”…and, even though he apparently has the ability to read every letter to the editor ever published, he doesn’t have the ability to figure out that by “all of us” the letter’s author meant “me and my half-dozen drinking buddies, all of whom are subhuman vermin.” Thus, he takes the reasonable course of action of canceling his christmas delivery to the entire town—informing them of this by returning, unopened all the Christmas letters that the town’s Santa-believers had sent hi.

Apparently, if I spraypainted “SANTA—either you don’t exist, or u just don’t have the stones to blow up the Earth’s sun!..signed, every human who ever lived. P.S., We slept with your she-elf whore of a wife. Repeatedly.” on the side of a barn, I could get him to destroy civilization.

So, either this Santa’s a complete moron…or he’s just a vain, short-tempered bully who at the smallest slight unleashes indiscriminate punishment until he’s publicly begged for forgiveness. If the latter, I think I’ve just solved the old quandry of why the Old Testament God seems so different than the God from the New Testament; they’re two different deities; the old one was forced to resign for some reason, and now he has to make ends meet by working as Kris Kringle. Sure answers a whoooole lot of nagging questions, doesn’t it? :eek:

Plus, another unsettling message of Twas the Night Before Christmas—not only is using your brain seemingly frowned upon, by it’s own right, but sharing your opinion is even worse. Dangerous, even…look at all the trouble it causes! Those “tall poppies” should know better—good thing the world will hammer them down.

So remember, kiddies—smart people are strange, deluded fools at best, and destabilizing rebels at worst. Be careful you don’t become ONE of them, or you’ll bring sadness to your community, and friends, neighbors, and “God” will be mad at you. Repent now. And conform.

In short, I ask ya…“Twas the Night Before Christmas”: charming holiday staple, or a clear and present danger to the future of western civilization?

You know my answer. What are YOUR thoughts?
Oh, and…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

This has been a message from Ranchoth’s Rantings, Ltd.

What do you mean by its “anti-intellectualism”?

You atheist you!

I always thought the way the faces of the people were drawn, with the pointy noses and jutting chins was kind of creepy.

I watch this Christmas special every time I get the chance - got it on DVD; and I love the way you have managed to voice most of the nitpicks I have with this show. Hilarious.

My favorite cartoon right now is probably the one in the Powerpuff Girls’ “'Twas the Fight Before Christmas”:

Buttercup: “I didn’t know you could give Superpowers for Christmas!”

Santa: “Eh. No one’s ever asked.”

That’s favorite cartoon Santa.

Damn. Now I have that “even a miracle needs a hand” song in my head.

To go slightly off-topic, two jokes from that cartoon that I thought were funny and most of the child audience would probably not get:

  1. One scene coming out of the commercial break is an establishing shot of the Utonium house, with a family going by singing to Deck the Halls: “Public domain Christmas song, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!”

  2. When Princess makes her way to the North Pole, she is shocked to find she is on Santa’s permanent naughty list. There are two other names on the list, one of which is Adolph Schickelgruber.

I didn’t.

Now I do.


I hope you get a persistant wart in an uncomfortable place.
On to the OP: I’ve never really put much more thought into it than “Santa is really being a poopyhead about this letter, huh?” On the other hand, he had no reason not to take that letter on face value, and that letter did state (paraphrased) “we don’t believe in you”. Why *should * he come to town when he thinks no one believes in him or wants him there?

Hey, “Even a miracle” is a much better song than the other one from the special: “Christmastime is calling: Santa! Santa! Everyone is calling, Santa! Santa! Come on old Kris Kringle–down the Milky Way. Christmastime is calling: Santa, we need you today!”

Yes, from memory. :o I always liked the special because I found the father/son relationship touching, but never bothered to fret over all the OP’s concerns.

But he had all those nice “Hi Santa, I love you, gimme the following…” letters from the other townfolk that were sent straight to him, not the newspaper!

The main brainy character was depicted as a know-it-all troublemaker who used big, funny words that normal people had trouble understanding (like “synchronous” Oooh. Toughy!); and who nearly ruined Christmas for everyone by daring to voice his “intellectual” opinions (luckily, the day was saved when he was guilted into recanting his position, and “believing” again).

Hey…Eppur Si Muove, Arthur Rankin!

Exactly—it’s like he was looking for an excuse to forsake a town, all evidence to the contrary be damned.

Like I said—a total philosophical horror show, man. Just wait till I finish my OWN stop-motion holiday special, Christmas at Galt’s Gulch. :wink: