If you grew up in the United States during the 1970's then you know what i mean by Rankin/Bass. We all watched those stop motion animation films on telly every year. Spiderman and I own them all on DVD from the good ones like Rudolph and the one with the Burgermeister, Meisterburger (remember that one??) to the soppy ones like Nestor the long eared Christmas donkey. We even own the not very good ones like the Year Without a Santa Claus which is only redeemed by the great performances by the Heat Miser and Snow Miser. We even own one you have probably never seen called The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus which is based on a book by the author of the Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum.
But Rudolph was always close to my heart. When you re-watch it as an adult you discover several things you never noticed before.
When we were at Louisiana College (and for those who don't know--this was a small, private, liberal arts BAPTIST college) I had a roommate named Michelle. Michelle only lasted one semester at LC, as she was a bit outspoken and felt LC was too conservative for her. True, there were pockets of conservatism, but overall the school was fairly easy going (for a religious college.) Once, after I had spoken in chapel, Michelle heard some baseball players laughing and calling me a weirdo so she body slammed this guy into the wall of the Religious Education building and said, "Do you want me to beat his ass? I will beat his ass for you!" It was such a sincere offer (and one I really wanted to take her up on because this guy was always trash talking me), but I took the high road and told her to let go of him and leave him alone. So now you understand a bit about Michelle.
They were doing a screening of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the big TV screen in the boy's dorm lounge and so we went together. When you watch it, you start to notice that Santa is kinda mean in this one. Suddenly, without warning, Michelle says very loudly:
I don't remember Santa being such a dick!There were audible gasps when she said it, but she never noticed. I started laughing so hard I had to leave, because she was right. He *is* a dick in this film. So now we always think of this one as the one where Santa is a dick.
There is also a bit of sexism that stood out at me yesterday with lines like "No, you can't go look for Rudolph--this is man's work" and "they thought it best to get the women safely home." Other than that it really holds up.
Recently, I found that Honest Trailers had done Rudolph and it is spot on and very funny. (if you don't know Honest Trailers then you should. Look them up on YouTube and lose three days of your life laughing)
So i give you the honest assessment of this Christmas favourite:
Did you grow up watching these? Do you still watch them?