“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” brings heartwarming humor to the holidays



“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” brings joy to the holidays with memorable characters and music.

During the holiday season, many will find themselves watching classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Behind these holiday staples was a company that a man named Jules Bass helped create. In memory of Bass, who passed away this October, we’ll look back at some of these famous works this December.

In a beautiful, snowy landscape, a young, bright-blue eyed Santa Claus, alongside his penguin friend, performs an adorable song to an evil Winter Warlock about becoming good. This is just one amazing scene in a festive, stop motion classic that delivers the origin story for one of the most iconic holiday figures, Santa Claus.

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” which Jules Bass co-directed with Arthur Rankin, Jr., was released in December of 1970. Centering on a young man named Kris Kringle, voiced by Mickey Rooney, the story follows Kringle’s evolution into the famous Santa Claus. The heartwarming television special is definitely a must-watch during the festive time of year.

The special tells the tale of how, as a baby, Kris was taken in by a family of elves named the Kringles, who were magnificent toymakers, but were no longer able to bring their toys to anyone. Kris Kringle steps in, endeavoring to deliver the toys once again. This puts him in conflict with a cruel, toy-hating Burgermeister, voiced by Paul Frees, but also sets him on the path to becoming Santa Claus.

I found the characters in “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” to be very endearing. The Winter Warlock, voiced by Keenan Wynn, is one of the best, with his heart-warming evolution from bad to good. He also has two character designs in the special, which serve to represent this change. These two looks are very well designed, perfectly capturing his internal change by changing him from an angry, icy warlock into a kind, old wizard.

Kris Kringle himself is the other stand-out character. His determination and positivity are infectious, and his penguin side-kick is a much-appreciated addition to his jolliness. Watching his journey to become Santa Claus is very entertaining. Plus, Mickey Rooney’s voice is a perfect fit for this iconic character.

The special also features terrific music. Among the memorable songs, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” stands out as the best. The tune is incredibly catchy and also holds the positive message that one can easily become good when trapped in evil’s grip. The scene in which the song is sung is terrific as well, showing Kris Kringle teaching the evil Winter Warlock how to become kind.

The special is quite funny as well, especially the Burgermeister. His intense, unexplainable hatred for toys is endlessly funny because of its ridiculousness, and the crazy measures he takes to try and stop Kris Kringle from bringing toys to the village’s children are always hilarious.

The unique and creative take on the origins of Santa Claus makes the plot quite fun, especially his actual physical evolution from the red-haired, young look he has for most of the special into the iconic white-bearded appearance near the end. Also, seeing Kris Kringle continuously outwit the crazy Burgermeister always delivers a smile to my face.

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” is another quintessential classic for the festive season and I highly encourage a watch before the year is through.