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Western Animation / Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

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Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town is a Stop Motion animated ("Animagic") Christmas Special produced by Rankin/Bass and originally broadcast on ABC in 1970, which details Santa Claus's early years.

As narrated by polar postman S.D. ("Special Delivery") Kluger (Fred Astaire), a family of toy-making elves adopts a foundling baby and decides to name him Kris Kringle. When Kris grows into a young man (Mickey Rooney), he offers to smuggle the toys the elves have made past the mountain of the evil Winter Warlock (Keenan Wynn) to the children of Sombertown. Unfortunately for Kris, the leader of the town, Burgermeister Meisterburger (Rankin/Bass favorite Paul Frees), injured himself sometime earlier by tripping over a toy left by a child and subsequently banned all toys from the town. The story details how Kris outwits the Burgermeister, but is eventually forced to run from his soldiers to the safety of the North Pole.

The script, by Rankin/Bass's usual writer, Romeo Muller, uses elements suggested by The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus by Oz author L. Frank Baum; Rankin/Bass would produce a more direct adaptation in 1985. The music followed the favored R/B formula, starting with a classic Christmas tune and adding original songs by Maury Laws (music) and co-producer/co-director Jules Bass (lyrics).

Followed by 1977's The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town, which had Fred Astaire back as S.D. Kluger telling kids about the Easter Bunny's origins, with a plot very reminiscent of the original. Mickey Rooney would reprise the role of Santa Claus in two later Rankin-Bass Christmas specials (The Year Without a Santa Claus and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July), plus the former's belated sequel A Miser Brothers Christmas, the unrelated 2005 NBC special The Happy Elf, and in the 2008 live action short film Wreck the Halls.

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Nobody misses the town leader Burgermeister and his family once they have finally passed on, and the town quickly comes to idolize Santa Claus for all he gave them.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • People keep referring to the Winter Warlock as 'Mr. Warlock' after he starts insisting on being called 'Winter'.
    • When the children are naming off Santa's reindeer, one of them refers to Blitzen as "Blitster". This was not corrected to make dialogue more endearing since young children often mispronounce words.
  • The Ace: Due to Kris' spectacular abilities, he is never in any danger of capture from the Sombertown Guards, even when they are fully alerted to his presence.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: The Warlock's enchanted corn that makes reindeer fly was a failed experiment, or so he claims. As it turns out, it has more practical uses than he thought.
  • Actual Pacifist: Kris is able to win solely via nonviolent protest until the public starts to realize that the Burgermeister is nothing but an obsessive fool. But it doesn't stop him from being a...
  • Adaptational Sympathy: Most stories involving Santa Claus depict him as a saintly figure who goes out of his way to make children happy (barring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, where he was a jerk to the poor reindeer). This special depicts his origin story, showing him as a good-hearted man trying to do the right thing for a miserable town under the cruel thumb of the greedy Burgermeister Meisterburger, who wants to make everyone as glum as possible simply because a toy broke his foot—and it just so happens Kris Kringle wants to deliver them to the good little children. It also shows that his kind heart does in fact have an impact on others, as he got both Ms. Jessica and the miserly Winter Warlock to make a Heel–Face Turn and help him out, simply because he acted from the goodness of his heart.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Apart from main character Kris Kringle, there's also the Winter Warlock and his tree monsters, Willy Willow and Peter Pine.
  • Amusing Injuries: Happens to Burgermeister Meisterburger at least three times, including once in the form of an Ass Shove.
  • Anachronism Stew: Although the story allegedly takes place several centuries ago in a medieval walled city, the clothing is mostly Victorian (and Jessica seems dressed for 1910); later scenes mix Victorian adultwear and kids in jeans. A character is seen at a desk with a touch tone telephone from the 1960s and Kris is seen giving a child in Sombertown a toy train; he also gives one to the Warlock. Also, a toy automobile is visible in one of the piles of confiscated playthings in the Burgermeister's home. This may have been done deliberately to give it a timeless feeling.
  • Another Story for Another Time: When the kids pointed out Rudolph in the story, S.D. chuckles that he's another character who is gonna have his own story next time.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Magic feed corn that makes reindeer fly! And apparently, the effect is permanent (unless they found a way to make more of it and started mixing it in to the regular feed).
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: After Meisterbuger falls at city hall and breaks his leg, the doctor states that he 'broke [his] funny bone'. The 'funny bone' (aka the ulnar nerve) is located in the forearm, nowhere near the leg bones. It's also possible that the doctor was simply making a dig at the Burgermeister's mirthless demeanor.
  • Badass Santa: A young Santa, no less, carrying a big bag of toys and defying draconian anti-toy laws.
  • Beardness Protection Program: Why Kris originally grows his beard.
  • Berserk Button: Don't let Burgermeister Meisterburger catch a toy in his town.
  • Big Bad: Burgermeister Meisterburger ultimately turns out to be more of a threat to Christmas than the Winter Warlock.
  • Bilingual Bonus: German-accented Tanta Kringle's name sounds like the German word tante, which means "aunt."
    • Also "Is that why he's called Santa Claus?" Until you learn that "santa" is Spanish for "saint," this line can be meaningless.
  • Blithe Spirit: Kris, upon visiting Sombertown.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: It takes Burgermeister Meisterburger no less than three failed attempts to stop Kris Kringle's toy delivery service (Kris's tactics to overcome them each resulted in a new Christmas custom) to realize that the only way to do so is by striking at its heart. His own soldiers are just as dumb, overlooking the stockings when searching the houses as well neglecting to search Winter when arresting him and the Kringles.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Winter loses his magic post-Heel–Face Turn. It's revealed in the ending that he regains his abilities, though, as he promises that he'll give Kris Kringle and his allies a white Christmas this year.
  • The Cameo: Rudolph during the assembling of Kris's reindeer team. Scrooge at the end.
  • Canon Character All Along: Initially stuffy schoolteacher and ally Jessica turns out to be Mrs. Claus.
  • Captain Obvious: Kris's observation to Tanta Kringle that "I'm a man now!" Double points for having this declaration immediately follow the Narrator's announcement that Kris was now a man. Also nearly every damned time the special shows the origin of some part of the Santa legend, the kids the narrator is telling the story to feel the need to point it out. Made particularly annoying since the kids are very bad actors.
  • Child Hater: Though the reason he bans toys is because he tripped on one and broke his funnybone, the Burgermeister is a massive one throughout the special, even appearing to get a kick out of seeing kids unhappy. This trope proves to be his undoing as when he died, so did the Burgermeister legacy.
  • Christmas Elves: The Kringles (well, the males in the family) appear to be little old men with beards. More like dwarves really.
  • Christmas Special
  • Company Cross References: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is briefly mentioned in the special, only to be described as part of another story.
  • Confirmed Bachelor: The Burgermeister is implied to be this, also implicitly being his undoing as with no heir to the Meisterburger name, the good people of Sombertown eventually overturn his no-toy laws.
  • Continuity Nod: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer makes a brief cameo, with S.D. Kluger telling us that his origin is another story.
  • Cool Car: Kluger's snowmobile/truck.
  • Covers Always Lie: The late '90s Golden Books/Sony Wonder VHS cover featured a drawing of Santa from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, whose Black Bead Eyes and turned-up mustache make him look quite different from how Kris ever looks in this special. Subsequent VHS and DVD covers rectified this by instead relying on photographs of the Kris puppets.
  • Create Your Own Hero: The person to thank most for Santa's career? Burgermeister Meisterburger. This starts by the villain rejecting the Doorstop Baby (ensuring a group of toymakers find him) and every aspect of Santa's life and every Christmas tradition is a direct result of Kris taking steps to defy the villain's silly laws.
  • Crystal Ball: A crystal snow ball! This is how the Winter Warlock informs Kris of Jessica seeking him with the letters looking for more toys. Many years later, it is what Santa uses to know whether you're naughty or nice.
  • Dark Reprise: "No More Toymakers to the King" is one for "The First Toymakers to the King."
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Jessica... about five seconds after Kris meets her.
    • The Winter Warlock is a gender inversion; once Kris gives him the toy train he's always wanted, he literally defrosts.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • The Toy Ban decree calls toys 'illegal, immoral [and] unlawful'. Technically, 'illegal' and 'unlawful' mean the same thing.
    • Similarly, when Grimsley is arresting the Kringles, he says they’re being detained for “defying the law and making toys.”
  • Digital Destruction: Initial pressings of the 45th Blu-Ray inserted a few fade to black transitions into some parts that originally didn't have any. Fortunately, DreamWorks allows fans to exchange these discs for ones without them.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Winter Warlock is hyped up in his debut scene as the potential Big Bad... but Burgermeister Meisterburger winds up having that position instead.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The song Jessica sings, "My World is Beginning Today", and its animation are straight out of The '70s. Psychedelic, man. It's so out of place that lots of channels airing the special actually cut out that scene.
  • Disney Creatures of the Farce: Jessica's song attracts a couple of birds that undo her hair for her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What spurs the toy-ban? The Burgermeister tripped on a toy duck and broke his leg in the fall. Upon discovering the cause of his accident, Meisterburger declares It's Personal.
    "Hmm? A toy? As I suspected. I hate toys! And toys hate me! Either they are going or I am going, and I am certainly not going, Grimsley!"
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": "Winter, please."
    • Interestingly, Winter insisted on being called 'Mister Warlock' during his initial encounter with Kris. The insisting on being called 'Winter' starts after he turns good.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "So that's why he __________!"
  • Doorstop Baby: Kris himself. Unique in that the person who owned the doorstep Kris was left on (Burgermeister Meisterburger!) had no interest in raising a child, and had the baby sent to an orphan asylum. It's only due to the forces of nature and some friendly animals that Baby Claus ended up with the Kringles.
  • Double Take: "Ah, a perfect day. Everybody is glum. Ah, and see all the little children are playing with their toys. [realizes] PLAYING WITH THEIR TOYS?!"
  • The Dragon: Grimsley, to Burgermeister Meisterburger.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When asked if everybody loves Santa, Kluger says most everyone, before showing a brief montage of several "poor misguided folks who missed the whole point" and wonder why everyone enjoys Christmas and Santa Claus so much when there is so much unhappiness in the world. Kluger says while that may be true, Christmas always takes a little of that unhappiness away, and maybe if we all tried to be like Santa Claus learned to share our possessions and talents with others, the world wouldn't be so unhappy.
  • Dystopian Edict: No toys allowed!
  • Environmental Symbolism: Sombertown and its citizens are done in drab grays with occasional muted blues or purples, whereas Kris and the Kringles are bright and colorful. Jessica's dress is notably a brighter blue than the rest of the townspeople's clothes, hinting at her coming Heel–Face Turn.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After the Burgermeister implements yet more measures to stop Kris from delivering toys, Kris is left thinking of what the children could be doing without toys. The ones he thinks of include chores such as cleaning and washing stockings. It is right after talking about stockings that he thinks of having Jessica tell the kids to hide the toys in said stockings.
  • Evil Cripple: Burgermeister is this after the fall that causes him to hate toys, walking with crutches or being pushed in a wheelchair for the remainder of the cartoon.
  • Evil Is Petty: Burgermeister Meisterburger wants to ban all toys and will arrest anyone who has them or gives them to others, simply because he tripped over one by accident once.
  • Evil Laugh: Burgermeister Meisterburger delivers one after announcing his intention to initiate a worldwide manhunt for Kris. It's the last thing we ever hear him utter while he's onscreen (his reading of the WANTED poster shortly afterward doesn't count).
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Sombertown. The whole town is somber.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When Jessica finally realizes that she's in love with Kris and no longer cares what people think, she starts to sing. Two birds fly down and pull her hair from its tight bun, reflecting her newfound freedom (she's literally letting her hair down). Oddly, though, the next scene has it back in the bun; presumably the animators decided it was easier to have short-haired characters.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • In the prelude to Kris's (stroke Klaus's) arrival at the Kringles'...
      Grimsley: [after the sled Baby Klaus is in snaps out of his hands in the wind]] Oh, the sled, it broke away. [realizes] Oh no! Where are you, Baby Klaus?! Oh, do come back! COME BACK!!!
    • The good news is that Kris and Topper managed to escape an entire legion of armed guards by escaping into the woods. The BAD news:
      Kris: "You are trespassing on the lands of the...Winter...Warlock."
      Trees behind him: ROAAAAAAAAR!
      Kris: HEY! HEY, LET GO! LET GO!
    • Earlier, when Burgermeister Meisterburger is making his rounds...
      Meisterburger: Ah, what a perfect day! Everything is glum. I see all the children are playing with their toys. [realizes what he had just said] PLAYING WITH THEIR TOYS!?
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Sombertown guards completely fail to spot that the children suddenly have toys again after one of their own confiscated them until Meisterburger himself noticed.
  • Family Theme Naming: The Kringle Brothers are named Dingle, Wingle, Bingle, Tingle, and Zingle.
  • First-Name Basis: What the Winter Warlock tries to be on with Kris after his Heel–Face Turn. However, Kris continues (for centuries) to address him as "Mr. Warlock." It just may be that Kris is trying to sound formal, since Winter, after all, is a very important friend.
  • Forbidden Holiday: Burgermeister Meisterburger, the leader of Sombertown, outlawed all toys after he'd tripped on one earlier. As such, Christmas itself was banned by proxy.
  • Foreign Re-Score: The Brazilian Portuguese dub has the original score recomposed by Mário Lúcio de Freitas.
  • Framing Device: The special is framed by S.D. Kluger telling the origin of Santa Claus to the offscreen children.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Kris. He's also a Friend to All Children, naturally.
  • Fun-Hating Villain: Burgermeister Meisterburger hates toys so much, he has them outlawed and confiscated from all the children in town. He will have anybody seen with toys arrested when he sees them.
  • Gallows Humor: Kris actually makes a light-hearted joke about the Sombertown-wide toy ban he had just learned about after giving Jessica the dolly she had always wanted.
    Kris: Watch out for that dolly. (winks) She's a hardened criminal, I hear.
  • The Grinch: Burgermeister, of course.
  • Grow Old with Me: Kris and Jessica are shown to have grown old together by the end.
  • Happily Adopted: Kris, by the Kringles.
  • Hate Sink: The Burgermeister, of course. Unsurprisingly, when he finally passes away and his regime collapses, the people of Sombertown are quick to repeal all of his laws, including the ban on toys and he quickly fades from the memory of the people he once terrorized, who now honor the good deeds of his adversary Kris Kringle.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Happens to Burgermeister Meisterburger.
    Grimsley: Excuse me, sir: you're breaking your own law.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Winter Warlock.
    Mr. Warlock, if you please!
    (later, after his icy heart (literally) melts) Please, call me 'Winter.'
    • Jessica is a minor version as well; she's initially in support of Sombertown's "no-toys" policy. A china doll from Kris is enough to get her to realize it's a "silly law" and work with him to deliver the toys instead.
  • Hero of Another Story: Rudolph is mentioned but is quickly said to be part of another story.
  • Hot Librarian: Jessica, the schoolteacher of Sombertown.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Upon seeing that Kris slipped toys by him again, Burgermeister accidentally jabs his sore foot with his crutch, causing him to hop a little.
  • Hypocrite: The Burgermeister banned toys, but reveals that he's an avid yoyo enthusiast when Kris gives him one in an almost successful attempt to convince him to drop the ban. He's pretty angry when he realizes he's been tricked into breaking his own law.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: "My World is Beginning Today", sung by Jessica as she realizes she truly belongs with Kris.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Erm, Sombertown. A Meaningful Name too, as everyone there is sad and depressed until Kris comes along.
  • I Have Your Penguin: The Burgermeister finally lays a trap for Kris and catches him coming out of a chimney. Kris surrenders when he realizes they've already captured Topper.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted with Kris's beard.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Kris (Mickey Rooney) and the narrator, S.D. Kluger (Fred Astaire). Keenan Wynn as the Winter Warlock to a lesser extent. Some of the features such as the long nose and eyes match up very well.
  • Insane Troll Logic: After learning that it was a toy that he tripped over, The Burgermeister says he hates toys and angrily comes to his own ridiculous conclusion that toys hate him as well. He also says that either he is going or the toys are going and then declaring that he is certainly not going anywhere.
  • Jerkass: The Burgermeister, in case you haven't figured it out yet.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Winter Warlock starts off as a grumpy, wrathful hermit who terrorizes anyone who trespasses on his domain, but soon warms up after Kris gives him a toy train.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: The Burgermeister. As he attempted to have Kris arrested for giving out toys, the latter tries to change his mind by giving him a yo-yo. At first, the Burgermeister enjoys it, but after being reminded by Grimsley that he's breaking his own law, he angrily dispatches the yo-yo and orders his soldiers to arrest Kris, who is forced to escape.
  • Kaiserreich: While the setting is an unspecific, vaguely Germanic hodgepodge, Prussian stereotypes were clearly the main inspiration. The Burgermeister's soldiers even have Pickelhaube helmets.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: The Burgermeister. Not only does he suffer Amusing Injuries as he causes everyone misery and unhappiness in this life, but S.D. Kluger goes on to explain that after his death, his lineage "kind of died off, and fell out of power", as represented by his portrait falling off his wall, to be replaced by one of Kris as Santa Claus. All of his laws were quickly repealed and the few who still remember him consider him a joke.
  • Killed Offscreen: The Burgermeister dies offscreen (presumably of old age) and implicitly takes his lineage with him. Given the fact that he hates children and doesn't seem to be married, that wouldn't be surprising.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Jessica, during her song sequence. (Mind you, she apparently just lost her job as village schoolteacher, so she no longer had to keep up appearances.)
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Topper the penguin. For some reason, while sputtering after the penguin's display of affectionate gratitude, the word 'topper' comes out of Kris's mouth and he decides that's what the penguin's name will be.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": After having his clothes commented on, Kris states that all he wanted to do was give out the toys he brought. Cue a mass panic as the adults start yelling about it and running inside, all because they fear they will be severely punished if their children are caught with the toys.
  • Metaphorical Marriage: Since Kris and Jessica are outlaws and cannot present themselves for official marriage without being captured, they hold hands in the forest in front of God and some Christmas trees instead and call it a day.
  • Micro Monarchy: The setting.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Topper. Justified, as he was looking for the South Pole and ended up in the Arctic Circle by mistake.
  • Modest Royalty: Tanta Kringle is called "the elf queen" in passing, but aside from being the matriarch of the Kringle family she doesn't seem particularly royal.
  • Mrs. Claus: The special is unique in that it actually gives her an origin, recounting how she and her husband first met and first fell in love.
  • Narrator: Fred Astaire's Arctic mailman, S.D. Kluger.
  • Never Had Toys:
    • Kris Kringle makes friends with stern Miss Jessica and the "evil" Winter Warlock when he gives them, respectively, a China doll and a train. Jessica confesses she wanted a doll when she was a kid but her parents never allowed her. About Winter, nobody never gave him anything before, when he receives the train from Kris, he cries so much that his "ice heart" melts, turning him into a human.
    • In Somberland, the Burgermeister Meisterburger banishes all the toys from the town, after he trips accidentally on one. Kris Kringle becomes an outlaw because he finds rather unfair that children have to suffer because of a man's selfishness.
  • Never My Fault: Meisterburger blames his fall entirely on the toy duck and not at all on his failure to watch where he was going.
  • Never Say "Die": Interestingly enough, subverted (not averted, subverted). While he's obviously squeamish about it, the narrator does confirm to the children that Meisterburgers' laws stopped being a problem because he and his descendants die later on.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Topper the penguin, who serves as Kris's Loyal Animal Companion.
  • No Sense of Humor: Burgermeister's villainous actions seemingly start when he breaks his funnybone, but he clearly had no use for it before either.
  • Not So Above It All: Meisterburger is about to arrest Kris in their first meeting, but Kris hands him a yo-yo and...
    Meisterburger: I LOVE yo-yos! I used to be able to do all kinds of tricks! WHEEE!
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Grimsley proves how scarily competent he really is when he and a Meisterburger posse bust the Kringles' toy-making operation (leaving only Jessica unscathed in the ambush):
    Grimsley: NOBODY is going to do ANYTHING! You are ALL under arrest for defying the law and making toys... [points to Winter] and for being an accomplice to Public Enemy Number One, KRIS KRINGLE!
    Meisterburger soldier: To the dungeon!
  • Open the Iris: Seen on Kris a few times when he's surprised or shocked about something.
  • Only Six Faces: The King in Tanta Kringle's song "First Toymakers to the King" has the same character design (at least facially) as the Doctor who attends the Burgermeister and the father of the children who find toys in their stockings.
  • Pain to the Ass: During one of his rants, Burgermeister accidentally knocks a confiscating toy soldier into his wheelchair and sits down on it. In the next scene, he's seen walking on crutches with a cushion tied to his backside.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "One Foot In Front Of The Other"
  • Police Are Useless: In this case, it's a good thing. The Sombertown garrison are dim, easily bamboozled, lazy and somehow forget they can throw their spears at a fleeing fugitive.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: A kiss on the cheek from Jessica causes Kris's eyeballs to roll in his head and blush, and he says "Golly!" like some country bumpkin.
    • However, taking into consideration that Tanta Kringle is presumably the only woman Kris has ever known and that he didn't go to Sombertown until he was an adult, Jessica's the first person he's ever had any major interaction with outside of the Kringles (with the exception of the children of Sombertown). Small world.
  • Premiseville: Sombertown is a somber town indeed.
  • Redemption Demotion: The Winter Warlock lampshades and justifies it. He gets his powers working at full strength again, come the epilogue, though.
  • Redemption Rejection: Burgermeister is a rare case of a Christmas villain who never truly reforms, but he almost does. After Kris gives him a gift (the method he uses to befriend both the Warlock and Jessica) he's actually happy for a few brief minutes. However, Grimsley reminds him he's breaking his own law, embarrassing him in public, so he reverts to his old attitude quickly.
  • Red Is Heroic: Kris in his youth had vibrant red hair.
  • Royal Decree: Burgermeister Meisterburger does one that outlaws toys and toymakers in the town.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: All of the male Kringles (other than Kris) have first names that rhyme with Kringle, such as Wingle and Dingle.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Burgermeister's eventual death isn't shown; instead it's symbolized by his portrait falling off the wall and breaking.
  • Santa Claus: Kris takes this as his name in order to hide from his pursuers; according to the tag he was wearing when he was abandoned as a baby, Claus was his birth name. (The 'Santa' part was added later by other people; see Bilingual Bonus, above.)
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Pretty much what Kris (and later Jessica) did to help make the children of Sombertown happy, inspite of the Burglermeister's tyrannical laws, particularly the "no toys" one.
  • Security Cling: Topper leaps into Kris's arms when the Winter Warlock first makes himself known to the duo after finding them on the mountain.
  • Shout-Out: To Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Also towards the end of the film, when explaining about people who don't understand the true meaning of Christmas, an old man grumbles, "Bah humbug!"
  • Single-Palette Town: Sombertown is gray, which makes Kris' red coat stand out all the more.
  • Smurfette Principle: There is apparently only one female Kringle. Then again, she is explicitly called "the elf queen," and is twice the size of the males; maybe they have a biology similar to bees...
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The full text of the Burgermeister's decree:
    Burgermeister: (Reading the decree) Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful... anyone found with a toy in his possession will be placed under arrest and thrown in the dungeon. No kidding!
  • Spit Take: The Burgermeister, when Grimsley reveals Baby Claus to him.
  • Staircase Tumble: This trope kickstarts the main conflict when Burgermeister Meisterburger trips on a toy while descending the stairs outside his home, breaking his leg in the process. This causes him to ban all toy in retaliation.
  • Stealth Insult: Possibly the case with the doctor claiming that the famously dour Burgermeister's broken his "funny bone."
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Santa Claus is much younger than the Burgermeister, and given it's Santa presumably becomes immortal, Meisterburger...simply dies of old age without Santa having to do anything more than avoid him and let time do him in. As Meisterburger was a Child Hater, he seemingly didn't have an heir and his lineage dies with him, at which point his very unpopular laws are thrown out with him.
  • They Call Me Mr Tibbs: Lampshaded by the Winter Warlock, when Kris Kringle first meets him, before his Heel–Face Turn:
    Kris Kringle: I have something for you.
    Winter Warlock: What is this? A trick?
    Kris Kringle: Oh, no sir, Mr. Warlock. Or, may I call you Winter?
    Winter Warlock: Mister Warlock, if you please!
  • Title Drop: When the Title Theme Tune is sung at the beginning and at the end, and very nearly when Kris Waxes Lyrical to the kids of Sombertown (See below).
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: Burgermeister Meisterburger, who has the power to ban toys "throughout the land, from sea to sea." Pretty impressive, since a burgermeister (or more accurately, Burgomeister, which means 'Master of the Burghers') in real life is basically a mayor. Add to that, he has the authority to arrest the toy makers of the King.
    • Mind you, in former times a burgermeister traditionally got the job because he was the wealthiest - and therefore the most powerful - person in the district, and it was hinted that Meisterburger and his family had clout with the Burgermeisters in all the surrounding villages, and perhaps even related to at least some of them. Sort of a legal Mafia.
    • It's also noted by Tanta Kringle that the Kringles were the Royal Toymakers "years and years ago," and she wistfully comments that she hopes Kris taking the toys out into the world will make the Kringles world-renowned as they once were. The implication is that they've diminished in importance - and, given how few of them there are, they've likely diminished in number as well.
  • The Unseen: The children who want to know about Santa. Justified as they are really just personifications of questions asked in the letters to Santa.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: By the Burgermeister's own admission, he used to love playing with yo-yos and doing all kinds of tricks with them. Unfortunately, that was before he grew up to be a toy-hating sourpuss.
  • Villain Song: No More Toymakers to the King.
  • Visual Pun:
    • The ‘’Put One Foot in Front of the Other’’ sequence makes use of a solitary door in the woods to fit the “And soon you’ll be walking out the door” lyric.
    • In the same scene, the Winter Warlock sings “If I want to change the reflection I see in the mirror each morn,” while looking at a piece of ice that acts just like a mirror.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Kris finds one calling for his arrest following his escape from Sombertown dungeon.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Several times over the course of the special.
    Kris Kringle: You better watch out. You better not cry, you better not pout.
    Children: Why?
    Kris Kringle: I'm telling you why!
    Children: Yeah?
    Kris Kringle: Because I came to town.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of the "very, very sick" Susie, who vanishes from the story once her role in inspiring Kris to come down chimneys is complete.
    • So perhaps she got better, and getting her Noah's ark was somehow instrumental in that?
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Where exactly is Sombertown? It's implied that the town is somewhere in Germany, given the use of the title of burgermeister and Grimsley's helmet (below), but this is never explicitly stated, and the hodgepodge of vocal accents in the show doesn't really clarify anything.
    • Burgermeister Meisterburger seems to speak in a stereotypical German accent and wears lederhosen. Grimsley has a small mustache. Considering that it was released in the seventies, the concept that they would frame post-WWII Germany as the grim, dark, and cheerless "Sombertown" isn't such a reach.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: The children of Somber Town aren't allowed to have toys, all due to Burgermeister Meisterburger tripping on a toy duck and injuring his foot, which leads him to outlaw toys for Somber Town... because he tripped over a toy.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Burgermeister Meisterburger has no qualms about imprisoning children if it suits him. And he takes far too much glee in taking their toys away and forcing them to watch him burn them in a bonfire. One of the lyrics in his Villain Song even has him sing about kicking children with his boot if they object.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: When a certain reindeer with a blinking red nose makes a brief cameo, S.D. stops the kids before they can say his name.
  • Yes-Man: The ludicrously underrated character Grimsley, who tends to steal every scene he's in. If you don't know who he is, he's the one with the Pickelhaube (Prussian spiked helmet) and the little moustache, who sounds kinda British. And is adorable.
  • You Are Too Late: After overhearing Meisterburger’s plan, Jessica attempts to warn Kris, but she reaches the Kringle’s home too late to inform him. S.D. Kluger lampshades this, pointing that Kris would have already left by the time she arrived.

Alternative Title(s): The Easter Bunny Is Comin To Town


"One Foot In Front Of The Othe

Santa teaches the Winter Warlock how easy becoming good can be.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / PepTalkSong

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