I know this may surprise some people and I certainly didn't want to interfere with an auction, but the two Animagic figures that were recently auctioned again, are not the actual "Screen used" figures. For a long time I thought they were and so did Kevin Kriess, who bought them in 2005 and then we toured with them through 2008. The Animagic figures were actually in my home and I examined them many times. Over the years, I discussed them with Arthur Rankin, Jr., Barbara Adams (The Rankin/Bass Secretary who took them home), Masaki Iizuka, etc. The two figures that survived in the United States, were used for two functions, A. for publicity photos B. for the display at the Rockefeller Center at NBC from the Mid-sixties until the early seventies, when Arthur gave them to Barbara.
I always noticed that the beard on Santa in the publicity photos was much rounder and larger, than the one in the special and the ball on the hat was different too. Rudolph also had a slightly different look to him as well. Many fans noticed that the vest on Sam in the publicity photos and on the Decca records sleeves was different too. They even used the figures in the original General Electric 1964 Print ads (They later used Artist rendered versions of the characters in the 1965-67 ads).
in the special. I actually didn't realize this, until I watched it again over the weekend. The beard is also smaller and less round, as Tad's is.
Me with the puppets at WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO 2006.
As the Rankin/Bass Historian/Biographer, I just believe in setting the facts straight. For a long time, after we toured with the Animagic figures in 2006-2008, many journalists have been saying only two puppets survived and the rest melted in an attic. That isn't quite true unless you change that to: Two Rudolph puppets survived in the United States and the rest of the cast from Rockefeller Center display, melted in an attic. Most of the Rankin/Bass Animagic figures stayed in Japan and survived. I talk about this in all of my books. Our 20th Anniversary edition of the Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass: A Portfolio (Miser Bros Press) is greatly expanded and pictures many of the surviving puppets we recently discovered.
Romeo Muller wrote the story of the TV Special and created all of the other characters including Hermey the Dentist elf, Yukon Cornelius, Sam the Snowman, King Moonracer, etc. Antony Peters designed all of the characters in the TV Special as well. Read all about them in my books! If you would like to interview me for Christmas, email Rickgoldsc@aol.com