Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas 🎅!

Merry Christmas!

I took a Christmas eve trip to Rosebud antiques after book packing on this bone chilling, snowy day! 🎅 This is their last weekend open at this location! I have been rearranging decorations since I got home. #Christmaseve #blowmolds #holidayfun

from my pal Ron Murphy

A refreshing Coke!

Santa Claus is Comin' to town

#thelittledrummerboy C. 2001 Miser Bros Press/Rick Goldschmidt Archives

The Snow Miser arrived with this Christmas eve cold front! expecting another Fed Ex book delivery for my mailman Larry to pick up later in the day!

Josh and I made a Holiday Superdawg trip!

The Esquire magazine article on Rankin/Bass' Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town's 50th hit the net just as the special re-aired again on ABC TV Wednesday night for Christmas! Click on the link below for the story

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Rankin/Bass Animagic figures of Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, that were auctioned off twice, are not the "Screen Used" figures in the classic TV Special

C. 2006 Miser Bros Press/Rick Goldschmidt Archives

 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 recent years I started making connections with Tad Mochinaga's (The director of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and head Animagic technician) family.  They actually bought books of mine on AMAZON and asked me to be a part of a documentary on Tad.  I had already connected with Kyota Kita (Who actually made the figures) along with Pinchan (The other Animagic puppet creator).  Tad's family still has many of the Rudolph figures, which I covered in my last two books:  The making of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and the Daydreamer (Miser Bros Press) and The 50th Anniversary Frosty the Snowman Scrapbook (Miser Bros Press)
Barbara Adams watching Kyota Kita make an Animagic figure above and Pinchan in the ornament, in my book The Making of Santa Claus is Comin' to town and the Daydreamer.
Many photos from the Tad Mochinaga collection featured in my book The 50th Anniversary Frosty the Snowman scrapbook

When you examine the photos in my books of Santa and see the damage in the beard and the lines extending down from the side of the mouth in the beard, you can clearly see it is the one used
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.
Now the question is, does the US pair become any less valuable?   I don't think so.   They were created by Kyota Kita and Pinchan for Rankin/Bass Productions to promote the special.  They were restored by SCREEN-NOVELTIES in Hollywood in 2006, and I coordinated that with Kevin and my friends Mark, Seamus and Robin.   Robin recently corrected me on my interviews.  She said she used mohair to construct the part of Santa's mustache that was missing and an LED bulb for Rudolph's missing bulb.

C. 1997 Miser Bros Press/Rick Goldschmidt Archives

  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.

C. 1997 Miser Bros Press/Rick Goldschmidt Archives
C. 2014 Miser Bros Press/Rick Goldschmidt Archives

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