Friday, December 22, 2006


The team of Arthur Rankin-Jules Bass was most known for its holiday specials aired on television, such as the object-animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) - with the voice of Burl Ives, Frosty the Snowman (1969) - with the voice of Jimmy Durante, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970) - with voices of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, and Keenan Wynn. They also created the parody-spoof of monster films, their only feature-length animated film titled Mad Monster Party? (1967), with characters based upon many of the Universal 'monsters' - including Frankenstein (voiced by Boris Karloff), Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, King Kong, The Mummy, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The film used the stop-motion “animagic” process to animate the three-dimensional puppets. Two future Mad Magazine contributors, Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis, were responsible for co-writing the screenplay and design work. Reportedly, Tim Burton found this film to be extremely influential upon his own later work.

Also, the team of Rankin-Bass produced the anime-like mythological tale The Last Unicorn (1982). It was a sophisticated story from a screenplay by children's book novelist Peter Beagle about a lonely, last-remaining unicorn (voice of Mia Farrow) who set out on a quest to confront a beast of fire named Red Bull that had eliminated all the other unicorns.

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