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If you had a childhood[[labelnote:*]](in an English-speaking country, at least)[[/labelnote]], you know '''Rankin/Bass Productions'''. Founded by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass as Videocraft International, the company is responsible for a series of (usually) StopMotion puppet animated (called "Animagic") holiday specials that are virtual fixtures of seasonal television programming. Works such as ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer'', ''WesternAnimation/SantaClausIsCominToTown'', ''WesternAnimation/FrostyTheSnowman'' and ''WesternAnimation/HereComesPeterCottontail'' have been airing more or less annually since the early 1960s, when they were first produced. Many subsequent holiday specials produced by other companies will contain salutes to these shows.

The general formula of these holiday specials was to take one or more classic holiday songs and to build a script (usually by staff writer Romeo Muller) around the music, featuring a celebrity narrator as an InkSuitActor in the story and interspersing it with original songs with music by Maury Laws and lyrics by co-producer/co-director Jules Bass. Very likely a majority of the characters will be voiced by Creator/PaulFrees.

Rankin/Bass also produced non-holiday AnimatedShows. Best known is probably ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats''; its other series included ''Tales from the Wizard of Oz'', ''King Kong'', ''{{The Jackson 5ive}}'' and ''The Osmonds''. The popularity of ''[=ThunderCats=]'' resulted in two follow-up series, ''WesternAnimation/SilverHawks'' and ''[=TigerSharks=]'' (the third appearing along with three other shows as ''WesternAnimation/TheComicStrip'').

Its most ambitious projects were animated adaptations of Creator/JRRTolkien's books, with ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit'' and ''[[LordOfTheRings Return of the King]]''. (Not to be confused with Creator/RalphBakshi's [[SoBadItsGood ill-fated]] [[LordOfTheRings attempt]], which bridged the series.)

Along with ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'' and ''TheFlightOfDragons'', these films were the first major [[{{Animesque}} U.S.-Japanese]] animation production crossovers. Many of the animators of ''The Hobbit'' went on to work for Creator/StudioGhibli.

Now dormant, the company still exists. In 2001, it released its latest holiday project, ''Santa, Baby!'', which featured a mostly black cast. The duo also had a part in the ''WesternAnimation/{{ThunderCats|2011}}'' ContinuityReboot. Nonetheless, Rankin/Bass will forever be remembered for virtually defining the concept of specialized holiday programming.

Arthur Rankin Jr. passed away in 30th January 2014. Rest in peace.
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!!'''Shows Produced or Distributed by Rankin/Bass'''

''TV Specials'' (with Narrator)
[[index]]
* ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer'' (1964) Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman
* ''The Edgar Bergen & Charlie [=McCarthy=] Show'' (1965)
* ''The Ballad of Smokey the Bear'' (1966) Jimmy Cagney
* ''Cricket on the Hearth'' (1967)
* ''The Mouse on the Mayflower'' (1968) Tennessee Ernie Ford
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleDrummerBoy'' (1968) Creator/GreerGarson as Our Storyteller
* ''WesternAnimation/FrostyTheSnowman'' (1969) Jimmy Durante
* ''The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians'' (1970)
* ''WesternAnimation/SantaClausIsCominToTown'' (1970) Creator/FredAstaire as S.D. ("Special Delivery") Kluger, also established MickeyRooney as the official voice of the Rankin/Bass Santa.
* ''WesternAnimation/HereComesPeterCottontail'' (1971) DannyKaye as Seymour S. Sassafras
* ''The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye'' (1972)
* ''WesternAnimation/TwasTheNightBeforeChristmas'' (1974) George Gobel as Father Mouse
* ''WesternAnimation/TheYearWithoutASantaClaus'' (1974) Shirley Booth as Mrs. Claus
* ''The Story of the First Christmas Snow'' (1975) Creator/AngelaLansbury as Sister Theresa
* ''The First Easter Rabbit'' (1976) Burl Ives as the older Stuffy the Rabbit
* ''Frosty's Winter Wonderland'' (1976) Andy Griffith
* ''Rudolph's Shiny New Year'' (1976) Red Skelton as Father Time
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TheLittleDrummerBoy The Little Drummer Boy, Book II]]'' (1976) Greer Garson as Our Storyteller
* ''The Easter Bunny is Comin' to Town'' (1977) Fred Astaire as S.D. Kluger
* ''WesternAnimation/NestorTheLongEaredChristmasDonkey'' (1977) Roger Miller as Speiltoe, Santa's donkey
* ''The Stingiest Man in Town'' (1978) Tom Bosley as B.A.H. Humbug
* ''WesternAnimation/RankinBassJackFrost'' (1979) Creator/BuddyHackett as "Pardon-Me" Pete the Groundhog
* ''Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July'' (1979) Red Buttons as Milton
* ''Pinocchio's Christmas'' (1980)
* ''The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold'' (1981) Art Carney as Blarney Kilarney
* ''The Coneheads'' (1983)
* ''Literature/TheWindInTheWillows'' (1985)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLifeAndAdventuresOfSantaClaus'' (1985)
* ''Santa, Baby!'' (2001)

''TV Series''

* ''TheNewAdventuresOfPinocchio'' (1960)
* ''TalesOfTheWizardOfOz'' (1961)
* ''TheKingKongShow'' (1966)
* ''TheSmokeyBearShow'' (1969)
* ''TheTomfooleryShow'' (1970)
* ''TheReluctantDragonAndMrToadShow'' (1970)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TheJackson5ive The Jackson 5ive Show]]'' (1971)
* ''TheOsmonds'' (1972)
* ''KidPower'' (1972)
* ''FestivalOfFamilyClassics'' (1972)
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'' (1985)
** ''WesternAnimation/SilverHawks'' (1986)
** ''WesternAnimation/{{ThunderCats|2011}}'' (2011)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheComicStrip'' (1987)
** ''[=TigerSharks=]''
** ''The Mini Monsters''
** ''Karate Kat''
** ''Street Frogs''

''Films''

* ''Return to Oz'' (TV; no relation to Disney's 1985 live-action film) (1964)
* ''Willy [=McBean=] and his Magic Machine'' (1965)
* ''The Daydreamer'' (1966)
* ''Wacky World of Mother Goose'' (1966)
* ''WesternAnimation/MadMonsterParty'' (1967)
* ''Film/KingKongEscapes'' (1968)
* ''The Red Baron'' (TV) (1972)
* ''Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid'' (TV) (1972)
* ''Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters'' (TV) (1972)
* ''That Girl in Wonderland'' (TV) (1974)
* ''Marco'' (Live Action) (1973)
* ''The Last Dinosaur'' (live action) (1976)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit'' (TV) (1977)
* ''Film/TheBermudaDepths'' (live action) (1977) -- In which Burl Ives is eaten by a giant turtle
* ''The Bushido Blade'' (live action) (1979)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheReturnOfTheKing'' (TV) (1980)
* ''The Ivory Ape'' (live action) (1980)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'' (1982)
* ''The Sins of Dorian Gray'' (live action) (1983)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlightOfDragons'' (TV) (1986)
[[/index]]
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