Day three of our December event, Nick’s Flixmas, bring us to my third favorite Rankin/Bass film, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Why is it my third favorite? The songs are the catchiest things in the Rankin/Bass repertoire (although the lyrics of one of its main songs wouldn’t fly today), Burgermeister Meisterburger is the greatest name in all creation, and it’s got the perfect blend of Christmas music, Christian values, and adventure.
Seriously, the “One Foot in Front of the Other” song gets my hyped for every Christmas. It’s the most positive song I’ve heard in ages.
[Nick’s Flixmas is a 25 day celebration of films Nick watches every Christmas! Nick will do some analysis, review, and just generally walk down memory lane. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ride. Merry Flixmas!]
The idea of Santa Claus has always been a nice one. No matter how poor your family was or how badly your life is going, you’d be rewarded as long as you were a good person at heart. It’s basically a nice thin layer of materialism over every religion ever. But to a child like me, Santa Claus was everything. My mother and father couldn’t provide everything I’d hope for, but Santa Claus had a chance. I mean, how cool was it that you’d get a Lazer Tag set when all you had to pay in return is a few cookies? Of course once you find out Santa Claus doesn’t exist from your sad thirty year old cousin as he breaks it to you in the middle of a drunken stupor, you’re supposed to graduate into adulthood. But what if you didn’t have to stop believing in Santa Claus?
What Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town does for the Santa Claus legend is something that should be done for other fantasy holiday characters like the Easter Bunny. Comin‘ transforms the Claus man into a Rohin Hood-esque political activist as he fights the stupid laws of the bureaucracy. It also makes him a thinly veiled Jesus allegory, but let’s not get into that here. He sneaks into people’s houses at night (breaking multiple laws), he mocks the ruler of a small town (but we’re supposed to laugh at the guy anyway), and he gets a cute animal sidekick that’s never mentioned outside of Comin’. It’s an easily digestible adventure tale that just happens to take place around Christmas. It’s basically the Rankin/Bass version of Die Hard.
So if you like Die Hard, you believe in Santa Claus. It’s that simple.
Comin’ will always be notable for me since it’s my dad’s favorite Christmas film. The nature of the holiday always trudges up horrible old memories for him, but he admits Comin’ is still charming as all get out. It’s one of the rare films we watch together anymore. If you catch me watching the film by myself, you’d also hear me singing along with the songs at very unacceptable volumes.
That’s Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town folks. Got any Comin’ to Town memories you’d like to share? Stay tuned for tomorrow as I watch another Santa film, The Year Without a Santa Claus!