Making Years Without A Santa Claus


Like most people do this time of year we’ve been watching Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated specials and trying to figure out more of how the whole Rankin/Bass Christmasverse works together. But we were on The Year Without A Santa Claus yesterday and noticed that a lot of Mickey Rooney’s dialogue as Santa is various grunts and groans and aching and paining about, which fits the whole plot about calling Christmas off because he’s too grumpy this year.

Thing is that’s got us wondering about the voice recording sessions. Did Mickey Rooney just do his dialogue for every scene in order, including his grunts about his aching ball joins and whatnot, as they came, or did they crowd all those into a single afternoon of recording Mickey Rooney go “Oooh. Owww. Ugh. Argh”? And, did he get all the groans down in one take, or did the director have to say stuff like, “OK, Mickey, that was great but could you do that round of grunting again, this time with maybe a hint of the agony from suspecting that somewhere there might be a mouse writing bad stuff about you in the local newspaper? How many feet of recording tape are nothing but out-takes of Santa groans? And who has possession of that Santa groan out-take tape today? What are they keeping it for? What do they intend to do with it?

To borrow a phrase, these are all questions I feel I cannot answer.