The 1960s and 1970s was a golden age of sorts for Christmas television specials. From animated classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas to horrendously funny variety shows like The Star Wars Holiday Special, this was the era when Christmas pop culture truly evolved; and no one made a bigger permanent mark during this period than Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. In 1964, these two visionaries founded Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc, and an era in television history was born.
For anyone who grew up in the 1960s or later, Rankin/Bass defined the holiday television season. In 1964, they released the claymation special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, featuring the voice of Burl Ives as narrator and singer. It was wildly successful, and an avalanche of similar holiday specials followed: The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Santa Claus is Coming To Town (1970), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), and so on.
Originally aired on NBC, these specials later moved to CBS, and became an all-but-mandatory staple of holiday programming in North America. Unfortunately, Rankin/Bass went out of business several times, permanently in 2001. However, their holiday classics live on in annual showings every December. Their legacy lives on also at Time and Space Toys, who not only produce many wonderful toys based on the Rankin/Bass characters; they are also currently in possession of the original Santa Claus and Rudolph puppets that have become such beloved icons of the season.
Time and Space Toys is the world’s largest distributor of toys related to the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. The company acquired the two famous figurines in 2005 and had them fully restored. They are periodically displayed. As of this writing no information was available concerning either displays or visits to the Time and Space offices. Web: www.timeandspacetoys.com/reruorrarusa.html (official company website of Time and Space Toys)
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