Audiences Choose Crude Stop Motion over Slick CGI

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Would you rather watch a creaky stop motion cartoon from nearly fifty years ago or a splashy computer animated cartoon from today? Audiences were faced with that decision on Tuesday night when CBS programmed the venerable Rankin/Bass special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer against DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas on ABC.

Rudolph soundly drubbed its competition with 11.3 million viewers and was the second highest-rated program on network TV during the entire night trailing only Fox’s Glee. Shrek the Halls meanwhile delivered 7.4 million viewers and Grinch 6.9 million viewers. Rudolph had a ratings gain from 2009, whereas both Shrek and Grinch had significant year-to-year rating declines. Everybody say it with me: audiences don’t watch animation for technique; it’s about how much they love your characters and story.

(Thanks, Mark Caballero)


  • http://www.tonydistefano.blogspot.com Tony D.

    Which Grinch was aired?

  • http://www.davidoreilly.com David

    crude CGI

  • Peter H

    But the traditionally animated 1966 Chuck Jones “Grinch” came 3rd? So that is no longer a beloved story? (I haven’t seen it since it was shown on UK tv, probably the year after it was made, but I loved it at the time!

    • Spencer

      I think it was the Jim Carrey shlock.

      • John

        Nope, it was Chuck Jones. I’m 99% sure.

  • Peter H

    So does it mean people still prefer 3D to 2D?

  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    Everyone say it with me, “Nostalgia is as potent a narcotic as there is !”

    • Stephan

      Ahaha! YES!!!

    • Scarabim

      Nostalgia? Not especially, not in this case. It doesn’t hurt that the Rudolph special was well-crafted, cleverly written and features some wonderful songs. I’ve always preferred it even to the Grinch. Watching that special has become a Christmas tradition in homes across America. I’d be surprised – and a little worried – if Rudolph didn’t do well every year.

    • Sat

      Yet I think most viewers are kids, and some weird folks like me have never seen this christmas special. I’ll check the Blu-ray release soon I think.

    • amid

      JJ – There are a million cartoons from the Sixties that you could re-air today which wouldn’t garner a second glance. Nostalgia is a by-product of audiences finding enjoyment in the characters, art and story.

      • http://www.mistertoast.com Dan Goodsell

        In the case of Rudolph it is nostalgia for a high quality product. But what about the nostalgia for things like Transformers and He-Man. It is purely a childhood love that exists and fuels the positive memories of the shows.

        I am with JJ, nostalgia is about the adult brain reacting to things that were pleasing to the childhood brain. No aesthetic judgments involved.

  • http://jeanmorel.blogspot.com jean morel

    and that goes for the original “king kong” as well.
    even the 70′s remake with Jessica Lange has more heart
    than the recent remake in my opinion.
    for some strange reasons the little imperfections make the
    characters more real,kinda like the way Yoda in the empire strikes back is more believable than his cgi appearances in
    later films.

  • Inkan1969

    Was it the classic Chuck Jones animated version of “Grinch”, or the icky Ron Howard/Jim Carrey movie version?

    • Ashley

      Chuck Jones. Im absolutely sure on this since I watched it that night.

  • http://www.cyndifoster.info Cyndi

    As happy as I am about the out come of those rating, long live the classics!, the realist in me knows that Rudolph probably only won because it’s Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. If they played any of the other classics, like Jack Frost, or Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, the CGI movies probably would of won in the rating.

    I do wish to see cartooning take a step back one day. Then maybe we could start to see more timeless movies created that will be loved and played 50 years and beyond it’s release.

  • snip2345

    I caught a few minutes of the Grinch late that Tuesday, and it was the Jim Carrey version. Though, ABC could’ve aired the two Grinch shows back to back and I may have just missed the other.

    Either way, I do appreciate the point of this post! That’s tellin’ em!

  • Peter H

    Seems they showed the 1966 cartoon on Tuesday and the Carrey one yesterday!

  • Mark R.

    I love that this post currently exists right above an advertisement for Dreamworks!

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

    • The Brewmasters

      Nobody said anything insulting about DreamWorks. We’re pointing out a comparison between the two shows rooted in factual numbers. In any case, our advertising team is separate from editorial (Jerry and Amid). Our writing doesn’t have anything to do with where ads appear on the site or who we sell ads to.

  • Brian Kidd

    What makes me happiest is that RUDOLPH has been available to watch at home, any time you want, for years and yet still can draw millions of viewers who gather around their TV sets at a specific time to watch it. Quality will always draw an audience.

    What makes me sad is that the abomination of Howard’s GRINCH still had 6.9 million viewers. Sigh.

  • Spencer

    Rudolph’s not the only example. There have been numerous stop motion imitations popping up in commercials for the holidays and it’s getting more and more rampant! I think it’s because people are genuinely starting to gravitate back to the old days. Vintage clothes: the more vintage, the more hip they get.

    The revolution is on the rise. ONWARD! HEEYAH!

  • http://mirgrim.blogspot.com Andrew

    As J.J. implied, nostalgia and tradition explain the ratings. As a child I found Rankin Bass stop mo thoroughly depressing.

  • http://www.pantoufledeverre.blogspot.com wd_kimmy

    I can easily understand why Rudolf won there. It is all part of family traditions. I would choose Rudolf because I watch it every year. And Shrek the halls is relatively new and not so timeless.

    Also as a kid I was completely fascinated by those puppets and how they moved. (And I still am…) It feels like animated Christmas ornaments.

  • http://www.copernicus.ca Murray Bain

    Traditions and nostalgia aside,
    Everyone feels like “misfit” and wants to fit in, and to go down in HIISSS-TOR-EEEE.
    The sentimentality practically oozes from Rudolf, but so does the sincerity.
    Plus, a little Burl Ives never hurt anybody.

    The Rankin and Bass animated specials have this charm of REAL Christmas ornaments and toys come to life, and you can sense the smaller scale. (something CGI can’t do easily) The jerkiness is a constant visual cue of the hand made quality. a REAL magic trick, not a visual effect.

    In this recent interview with Burton, he admits corpse bride was too slick, and audiences thought it was CGI, something he intends to rectify in Frankenweenie.

    http://kevinbparry.blogspot.com/2010/11/tim-burton.html

  • http://syc-creations.blogspot.com Shye

    I grew up with that ‘crapy’ stop motion. Every Christmas I looked forward to watching it- no matter how out dated it was. It’s a classic!

    Then again, I understand the want for fresh new holiday specials. Kids today would obviously prefer the later.

    • Funkybat

      Who knows what a given kid will “prefer?” Those Rankin-Bass cartoons were already kind of dated and clunky-looking by the time I was a kid, but they were already considered classics. There were a bunch of them that hardly ever see the light of day anymore, they must have run 2-3 Christmas specials a week during December back in the late 70s and early 80s. My dad always denigrated the stop-motion ones as poorly-animated crap, but then, almost anything other than golden-age Disney or Warner Bros. cartoons was crap to him. My devoted following of various Filmation series drove him up the wall, with all the repeating cycles and stiff poses. What can I say, I’m an 80s kid…

  • Jay Sabicer

    I noticed that they edited down the Chuck Jones’ Grinch by about 3 or 4 minutes, nothing too intrusive, but fondly remembering the original, it was a sad reminder that ABC couldn’t be profitable showing the 26 minute version. I’ve never seen the live-action version (nor do I ever intend to). Did anyone who watch this year’s Rudolph and noticing any similar edits or time-compression?

    • N. W. Smith

      When The Grinch cartoon was on TBS/TNT, Ted Turner got around the need to cut the story by turning it into an hour-long special with the late Phil Hartman doing mock-umentary schtick to pad out the additional time either side of the cartoon. I think they even kept the original commercial breaks.

      In the current TV version of Rudolph, there are some “cheats”, like the “Fame and Fortune” reprise mentioned later in these comments. But the voice of the head elf changes briefly at the start of the elf-choir sequence, which is pretty much first run (I may have only been 5, but I was a continuity geek even then).

      Overall, it definitely has more scenes in it than the hack-jobs in the 1980′s and 90′s before it was declared a “national treasure” like some of the Charlie Brown specials. My family inevitably ends up breaking out the restored DVD version closer to the holiday, and THAT seems to have everything, and without the commercial breaks being changed around that can disrupt the narrative flow when it’s shown on TV nowadays.

  • purin

    Nostalgia also counts for something, and ’tis the season for nostalgic repetition.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    “Everybody say it with me: audiences don’t watch animation for technique; it’s about how much they love your characters and story.”

    Remember these words anytime people trash Family Guy, South Park or Dora the Explorer for being crudely animated…

    • Adam

      But that’s just the thing, with Family Guy the characters are completely different from what the way they were in the first couple of seasons. If anything it’s almost as if it’s an entirely different show. The stories aren’t that good either these days. Animation quality aside, in my opinion the characters have become hateable and the stories not as funny.

      • Funkybat

        I wouldn’t say the characters on Family Guy are “completely different.” In some ways, Homer Simpson was more “different” from classic Homer during the early/mid 00s. He has somewhat gravitated back toward his true self, but still has vestiges of “meta-Homer.”

        Family Guy mainly changed in that the stopped relying as much on abrupt timing (in the early days, character movements would often stop dead cold after a violent action, punching up the humor IMHO) and moved toward more and more callbacks to stuff from earlier in the continuity. Peter shifted somewhat, becoming less of a semi-lovable, dense lout, and into a more savvy, arsehole-y jerk for the sake of being a jerk. Quagmire, Joe, Brian and Chris have stayed pretty similar. Stewie evolved to be less like “The Brain” and more like a fruity version of (latter day) Mr. Burns. Lois did kind of shift from being sweet and straightforward into more snarky and unpredictable, but she’s still recognizable. For Lois, I blame it on the influence of Francine on American Dad, who is even more unstable and sometimes callous, yet more lovable somehow.

        Anyway, sorry to get off on a Family Guy rant. Back to my comments on the actual article topic….

  • Frank Ziegler

    I’m with ya Amid. Rudolph has charm to spare. Let’s see if kids gather round the set to watch Shrek at Christmas in 50 years. Somehow I don’t think so.

  • Caresse

    That still alone says everything. I LOVED those stop motion shorts growing up. I’m so excited to share them with my nieces and nephew. They’re well made, and I just ugh, I wanna reach out and touch it. I’m ordinarily the biggest advocate of all things CG, but nothing’s going to top this lot of stop motion shorts. Nothing!

  • Greg Ehrbar

    I really believe it is the charm of the original Rudolph that still attracts the masses — adults who loved it, want to share it with their kids, and yes, even the sophisticated kids of today.

    Any fan of the special will most likely already have it on DVD, so you can’t attribute the high ratings to pure nostalgia. It’s simply an outstanding and beloved work of charm and handcrafted artistry.

    Yes, it’s animated mostly on twos. Yes, the water “ripples” are just powder. Yes, Rudolph’s nose is an electric bulb. But Rankin and Bass, along with writer Romeo Muller, designer Tony Peters, musical director Maury Laws, composer Johnny Marks and a fine voice cast came up with something that just clicks.

    You know, there is something to be said for the suspension of disbelief in entertainment. Even when we can see how something is done or it seems cheesy by modern standards, it doesn’t always matter. I’d much rather see Peter Pan done on stage with an actor in the Nana and crocodile suits than animatronic ones. I get it. It’s theater. And amid the reality, there is a realness in the story, music and performances.

    It’s not a fluke that “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is the longest-running prime time special in TV history. It’s a misfit, literally, in today’s high-tech arena, but it still shines far and above much more expensive and slick productions.

    And Rankin/Bass never won an Emmy. For anything. Only nominated once. And they never had their picture on bubble gum cards.

    How about an ASIFA lifetime achievement award? Hmm?
    Surely, the Pixar folks and so many other artists who have mined inspiration from those Rankin/Bass specials would agree. But as the late Leslie Nielsen would have said: ___’_ ____ __ _____!

  • http://los-utopicos.blogspot.com allari

    Maybe it’s the sincerity of the original story, the fact that it was not overproduced.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John Sanford

    “Nobody said anything insulting about DreamWorks.”

    Really? So…there is no slight meant by this comment:

    “Everybody say it with me: audiences don’t watch animation for technique; it’s about how much they love your characters and story.”

    Your attempt to cover your ass so that DW doesn’t pull it’s Oscar ads from your sight is hilarious.
    Don’t worry. I don’t think they’re quite as petty as our friends to the north.

    That said, Rudolf is the perfect story. It is amazing how much they accomplish in under 30 minutes. The animation and wonderful design only add to the charm.
    I think the Shrek special and Grinch are good, but man, Rudolf is a juggernaught.
    You can’t beat perfection.

  • http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/ Lazarus lupin

    One thing I love about this forum are the different voices. Just a couple of weeks ago someone was beating “Sym-bionic Titan” about the head for what amounted to 5 seconds of bad technique. Now we have here the clarion call that technique doesn’t matter at all.

    I love it!

  • Jay Pennington

    Missed it this year. Did they make the same mistake as last year, by using the FOOTAGE of the “Fame and Fortune” song, but with the AUDIO of the “I’m Just a Misfit” reprise?

    • Sarah

      Unfortunately yes. Because I remember the footage for the Misfit reprise and Hermey makes a snowman of his boss (who he punches in the nose).

      Rudolph is a special cartoon to me because I can identify with the story. Being born with Aspergers Syndrome, I can feel what these characters go through (Rudolph having a glowing nose and Hermey wanting to be a dentist instead of an elf).

  • emjaybee

    My son is five, so he has no nostalgia to speak of, and he is fascinated by Rankin-Bass shows. Rudolph is his favorite, especially the Abominable. Shrek? meh.

  • http://richardsmithstudios.webs.com/ Richard

    I wanted to DVR “Rudolph” and “Grinch”, but my mom and brother were Super-Gleeks and told me NOT to touch their Glee. I was more interested in “Grinch” and chose to DVR that (along with “Shrek The Halls”.)

  • The Ghost of Warner Bros. Past

    Amid wrote:

    “Audiences don’t watch animation for technique; it’s about how much they love your characters and story.”

    Amen, brother!

  • http://www.classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    I watched Rudolph. I’ve been watching Rudolph more than the Grinch, and here’s why.

    It was one night in December 1998 (I believe, it could be 1999) when Cartoon Network was showing holiday specials, at my Grandma’s. I saw the special and found the story facinstating, and maybe somewhat weird, I can’t remember if both applied. Then the end credits rolled. I didn’t know who made it. I went down to the copyright, and it said “In Metrocolor”. Allthogh “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown” was a third-party use of that fake color process name, it could only mean one thing. And I was right. IT WAS THAT MGM LION! AHHH!!! (I can stand it sometimes now, but still).

    I was a child who boycotted things with scary logos once it frightned me, so I never saw the Grinch until much, much later.

    Thank God ABC didn’t put that logo in recent airings, otherwise children will be frightened of the trademark animal.

    • Funkybat

      Funny, I kind of got excited to see the “scary” logos. granted, most were only vaguely creepy to me, and many of the ones proclaimed on YouTube as “scariest logo ever” barely made me flinch when i saw them.

      The one that creeped me out the most was the ITC logo that ran before The Muppet Show. Something just seemed otherworldly about the whole thing, and it still gives me feelings to this day.

  • http://www.oddbirdarts.com daryl boman

    Gosh! I remember watching Rudolph, The Grinch, and Charlie Brown Christmas all together on one Friday night, and on the same network, when I was a small lad. Couldn’t wait for that school day to be over because it usually meant the start of the holiday school break and those specials just made the season extra special!
    Always happy to see them at anytime of the year. :)

  • http://arschblog.blogspot.com/ Steffi-Alien

    I enjoy all forms of animation, as long it entertains me. And I really like it when I get so inspired that I want to draw!
    But it feels like that there is too much CGI since the last years(it almost feels like they try to push everything else away), that (and the fact that they use the same type of stories and designs too often)makes me feel tired of CGI.
    Like I said before; CGI is so big, you can do a lot with it, but the problem is that the studios that do all the CGI-movies try to please as much people as they can and are too afraid to break the limits and try something completely new.

  • The Gee

    mental note: remember people are afraid of logos; don’t cavalierly and randomly post links to “Logorama”

    ———-
    I can’t say enough good stuff about Rankin-Bass so I won’t say more than Animagic holds up well.
    ———–
    First, CBS’ airing of “Rudolph” was a one hour thing, right? And, ABC’s night was, what, two or three hours of programming?

    That Rankin-Bass special is just a solid hour of entertainment. If someone who wanted to see a Christmas special and had to choose between a more recent one and a classic one, the classic one will probably win for multi-generational audiences (parents/kids). Sure, the live action Grinch movie got the same kinds of viewers, just for a longer time than CBS.

    The Reindeer probably won in part for several other reasons, including because the economy sucks. “Rudolph” is a story about an underdog…well, multiple underdogs and various misunderstood characters who all deal with adversities of some sort. There is a redemptive ending to it, too.

    By contrast, isn’t what ABC showed a night filled with bitter characters who “find the light” courtesy the “spirit of the holidays” ( a la Dickens’ Christmas Carol)??????

    It isn’t surprising that “Rudolph” won the head-to-head.

    Also, if people dig the Grinch movie, chances are good they already own it, or, have rented it or something. You are less likely to be able to say that about the R-B specials.

    hope that makes sense.

  • james madison

    Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a classic.

    It is timeless, well animated and a good story.

  • Toonio

    Rankin-Bass FTW! (should they had a good succession plan for the studio Disney would be eating ****)

    Thundercats HooooO!

  • top cat james

    “Amid thinks I’m cute! He thinks I’m CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE!”

  • http://www.enchantedworldofrankinbass.blogspot.com Rick Goldschmidt

    RANKIN/BASS’ RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER works on all levels and there aren’t many modern day Productions that can say this… There were less people involved in the production and they were people that knew what they were doing and there aren’t many modern day Productions or Producers that can say this either. PIXAR can say it, because…their story is the core of their Production as was Romeo Muller’s writing in RANKIN/BASS PRODUCTIONS. The technique is secondary to the story (Repeat this over and over) And RANKIN/BASS and PIXAR know this. HAPPY HOLIDAYS from THE ENCHANTED WORLD OF RANKIN/BASS!

  • DonaldC

    Well no duh. The Rankin Bass films are classic staples of the Christmas season. The others, not so much.

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I remember one year we sat down for “Rudolph” only to just catch someone saying “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was brought to you by…”

    My parents had not accounted for the difference between Eastern time and Central time in the promo announcements!

    They seemed relieved, to them it was just more stupid kid stuff, but I cried my eyes out for the rest of the evening because I knew Rudolph only came around once a year and I had missed him.

    I think “Rudolph” was to Christmas specials what “Snow White” was to feature animation. Many subsequent efforts have tried to recapture that initial magic but never quite reached that same level.

  • rnigma

    One factor in Rudolph’s timelessness is the script by the late Romeo Muller, who fleshed out the song and original story into a tale of wanting to belong. I wonder if Muller turned his talent toward children’s books?

    I recall that awful “Misfit Toys” sequel that came out a few years ago. My reaction was like that of Yukon Cornelius: “Nothin’.”

    And as for the Jim Carrey “Grinch”-
    “The three words to describe it are as follows, and I quote: Stink… stank… stunk!”

  • Matt Sullivan

    Did you ever stop to think the people who watch Rudolph year after year might be..i dunno..OLD PEOPLE with nothing better to do?

    I assure you younger audeinces prefer modern CG.

    • Beard

      @ Matt Sullivan

      Wrong. What kids don’t like is a bunch of talking heads….Shrek and Grinch. TV is the grand babysitter. If the kids didn’t like it, then the parents would simply change the channel.

      Kids prefer Rudolph cause it’s good.

  • Eric Graf

    “But Rankin and Bass, along with writer Romeo Muller, designer Tony Peters, musical director Maury Laws, composer Johnny Marks and a fine voice cast came up with something that just clicks.”

    Perhaps you could throw just a smidge of the credit in the direction of the people who actually animated the thing: Tadahito Mochinaga and his staff at MOM Film Studio in Japan.

    • Greg Ehrbar

      Absolutely. They did amazing work and deserve more attention and credit.

  • David Breneman

    I watched ¨Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” last night for the first time in at least 20 years. As I had remembered, the story is embarrassingly vapid (and I blame this special for the continuing crazy association of penguins with Christmas). However, I was blown away by how good the set design and construction was. And of course the voices of Paul Frees’ two characters (The Burgermeister and his Gendarme) were captivating in their knowingly-just-shy-of-formula delivery.

    And kudos to ABC for showing it in HD at a 3:4 aspect ratio.

    But, mygawd, if anything needed some intelligent script polishing, it’s the latter Rankin-Bass stuff.

    • Greg Ehrbar

      Did you ever notice how much the Burgermeister looked like Richard Nixon? It was made in 1970, after all.

      Actually, for all its issues, Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town is Musical Director Maury Laws’ favorite, because of its cast, the score and his feeling that R/B and its international team had pretty much reached its stride at this point.

      I always found it odd that the name of the penguin, Topper, was dubbed by Paul Frees in syndication as “Waddles.” Perhaps because Topper was a rival toy company to the syndicated sponsor?

      Plus the lovely Robie Lester lent her voice to stop motion babe Jessica. In the last few years before she died, having been under the impression she was forgotten, she was able to reconnect with many of her fans for this voice and for being the “Disneyland Story Reader.” Nice lady.

    • The Gee

      (Thanks to Eric for bring up MOM Studio. That should go hand in hand for the sake of historical accuracy)

      David,
      Tome, one of the better things about “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” was the story. Surely, it wasn’t just me either. When I was younger, plenty of my friends agreed there was something a bit subversive about it. Was it great? Well, no.

      Like Greg mentioned, there was the Nixon aspect. But, overall it was the totalitarian aspect of the story (it was made during earlier days of the Cold War after all). And, for God’s sake, the things that the narrator (Fred Astaire, right?) said to kill time….my God. I don’t remember exact quotes but the tone at times..whew. I think there was even a reference to how the Times were filled with difficulties. Such an odd choice for that cartoon. For any Christmas cartoon.

      Then there was the part that is more funny than serious. I can’t see it being intentional as much as unavoidable given the type of story being told.
      There is a Jesus+Superman story element to the origin story. And, the Robin Hood angle is there, too, of course.
      Santa was quite a rebel, a burglar who gives instead of takes. He got arrested. Then there was those last miracles… Like I said, its taken as more funny than serious.

      “Rudolph,” did have that epic aspect to the story that was impressive. It was based on a short song, of course. And, given all of the padding that could have been done to stretch it out….that’s impressive.

      Think about the first hand drawn animated version of the story done in the late 40s, I believe. It was as short as the song.

      I think “Rudolph” works as an adventure whereas it could have been boring.
      (And, man, are there not some jerks in that cartoon? Even Santa was dissin’, wasn’t he?)

  • Marco

    All three got a ton of viewers.

    Less tuned in for lower-quality stuff. Whatever.

  • Gray64

    I think the ratings also might reflect availability; pretty much everybody knows the animated Grinch special’ll be shown dozens of times in the lead up to Christmas, on multiple channels, so you can catch it pretty much whenever you want. I think the Rankin Bass specials get shown once per season.

  • The Gee

    Ack. I’m sorry. I wrote the wrong thing. It’s been years since i’ve watch any of these….

    There was a Moses element to the beginning of “Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town” more than a Jesus element. A call back to the Pharoah’s policy when Moses was born, right?

  • Geoff

    You people have it all WRONG WRONG WRONG.

    Clearly the lesson of “Rudolph” is that the key to Ratings Success is…

    Canadian voice actors.

  • Geoff

    Oh, wait. Jim Carrey… Mike Myers… never mind.

  • Steven M.

    HA! Take that Dreamworks!

  • Marc Baker

    Hollywood will never learn that people like animation for the story, and characters more so than what technique was used to make it.

  • http://www.anthonynotes.com/blog Anthony

    One reason for the ratings difference might be that ABC aired the Shrek special first, then the (presumably-their-heavily-edited/sped-up-for-time version of) Grinch special (the 60s Chuck Jones made version, *not* the 2000 live-action movie… though IIRC the movie was airing that night on ABC Family, a cable network). Thus, people weren’t going to flip off of Rudolph halfway through (esp. since from what I’ve read, this was its only airing this year) to tune into the Grinch (which also airs on several cable channels over the holidays).

    • Funkybat

      Good point. I think there is probably just a strong a following for Chuck Jones’ Grinch as there is for most of the well-known Rankin-Bass cartoons, but if you are already half-way through watching an hour-long special, you aren’t going to leave it for something else.

      I personally would probably watch The Grinch or Frosty the Snowman first before one of the hour-long stop-motion Rankin-Bass cartoons, but I have a soft spot for pretty much every one. I do wish they would show “Twas The Night Before Christmas” and “The Mouse on the Mayflower” again once in a while, I don’t think I’ve seen either of those on broadcast TV since the 80s.

      • Greg Ehrbar

        “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” — which BTW, my mom gave me a tough time watching back in ’74 because “the Reindeer look like mice and Santa Claus has no mustache — that’s sick! And who care about the clock? What does that have to do with the night before Christmas?” — has been reissued this year on its own DVD. Other people beside my mom must have liked the special because it was consistently highly rated when CBS used to show it, probably because it used to follow Frosty or the Grinch. (Do you suppose the networks can’t show Frosty anymore because of “historic smoking?”)

        Sadly, The Mouse on the Mayflower has not yet made it to DVD, so we still watch the VHS. What’s Thanksgiving without running around singing, “Maaaaaayflower, Maaaaaaaaayflower, sailing proud and free?”

  • Rebecca

    Well to me CGI kills the beauty, sure I’ve seen CGI from people who are quite gifted with it but the typical CGI that looks like Veggietales, kind of has killed the beauty, artistic creativity and effort…Example; Batman: TAS was a beautiful series because the people put effort into it.

  • SMP Belltown

    I’m really surprised that none of King Moonracer’s fans shown up yet. What’s with that?

    I think that one of “Rudolf”‘s overlooked strengths is the sheer size and range of its puppet cast. Many of the elves are unique in interesting ways, and all of the misfit toys are amazing. There are so many potentially interesting characters to watch, it’s almost impossible to get bored with “Rudolf” even if you’ve seen the show a half-a-dozen times. Truely great design.

  • http://goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    I work nights, so I rarely catch anything in prime-time anymore. But I took tonight off because I wasn’t feeling well, and saw “Rudolph The red-Nosed Reindeer” in the TV listings on ABC Family. I was outraged at what I saw.

    It was a modern “sequel” called “Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys”. It was all done in CGI, but it was done so BADLY that the characters didn’t even look like themselves. The reindeer didn’t even have fur! Who was responsible for THAT turkey?

  • http://RottenEggCreations.BlogSpot.com CraftyAndy

    Bah! bunch of old timers and nostalgia taking over. Then again… I’d rather watch Rudolph over anything shrek related. Now if it were the kung fu panda christmas special… Rudolph who?