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Life & Adventures of Santa Claus [VHS]

Earl Hammond , Earle Hyman , Arthur Rankin Jr. , Jules Bass    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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This bizarre, pagan take on the Santa Claus legend, which is based on a story by L. Frank Baum (The Wizard of Oz), was produced and directed by Rankin and Bass, the reigning kings of the Christmas special (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), using their brand of puppet animation. In the forest of Burzee, the immortals gather to discuss the fate of Santa Claus. Found when he was an abandoned baby by the Great Ak (a wizard with big wooden horns on his head), the boy was named Claus because that means "little one" in the language of the forest. Raised by immortals and knowing nothing but peace and harmony, the adolescent Claus is taken on a tour of the mortal world by the Great Ak, and he discovers the world is rife with misery and injustice. This is when he decides he will dedicate his life to making kids happy, and he learns the best way to do this is to give them toys. After years of service, the immortals must decide whether or not to give him eternal life. Indeed, this is a very strange Christmas tale. --Andy Spletzer

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars charming, but beware! Dec 29 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a charming take on the legend of Santa Claus, with good values and morals emphasized. However, parents, especially Christian, who take their religion seriously, might want to take note before exposing their children to it. Not because any reference to religion is omitted - after all, "Rudolph" also fails to mention God -but because of its overt paganism. "The Wizard of Oz", another L. Frank Baum tale, was similarly criticized, but without merit, because the wizards and witches were mere creatures,and only existed in Dorothy's long dream sequence. This tale, on the other hand, has not just wizards and such, but "immortals", essentially pagan gods, who govern the laws of nature. No room is left for the God of monotheism, even though the story prominently features a Christian holiday.
Some who read this review will scoff and think, "Another religious nut, trying to tell others what to think!", but they don't understand the moral dilemmas often faced by those who do take their religion seriously, and want their children to. What good parents would not want to have SOME influence over their childrens' thinking? If they don't, someone else will; count on it! That children have boundless imaginations is all the more reason why parents should. I doubt that this tale is a threat, just another occassion for parents to remind their kids of "the reason for the season". Most who come visit this page evidently don't share that sentiment, which is their right, so this review is for the benefit of those who do. Again, the morals and values, which are part and parcel of almost any religion, that are taught make this a worthy venture. However, because of the above mentioned reasons, some parental guidance is suggested.
How about someone, someday, doing a movie or program based, at least in part, on Saint Nicholas, the REAL Santa Claus?
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT SHOW - forget people who say it's weird Nov. 25 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this video as a child and loved it. Before those people who complain about it being too 'Pagan' or too 'weird' or whatever, I was raised a Baptist, and Christmas to me was special because of the religious meanings, but also because of the fairy tales and imagination it could inspire. The idea of Santa Claus in this story, is someone who does good in the world. This story lets you imagine. It shows you that Santa Claus is truly altruistic and a good person who gives all he can. Above all, it's a great story, religion or no religion. It's only weird to those hung up on pushing their thoughts on others and trying to force their child to think like them. They often forget children have minds that are limitless with imagination. Anyways, it's a great feel good movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Dec 6 2003
Format:VHS Tape
When my father told me that I could get this movie, I jumped for joy! I had worn out my copy that he taped for me when I was a child. You know that happens when you watch a tape 15 thousands times. I was fascinated with the movie the first time I watched it. Now I understand people may be worried that a Christian child may want to move away to the "Laughing Valley of Ho Hi Ho" But as long as an adult will sit there and explain to the child that the story is only pretend. The child will soon understand that it is only pretend. I would recommend this movie to any family. I believe any child will fall in love with it. It will teach them to use their imagination and in this day and time the youth of today need to use their imagination more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Christmas Movie Aug. 17 2003
By Carrie
Format:VHS Tape
This was and always will be my favorite Christmas movie. I love most all of the Rankin/Bass stuff. I was greatly saddened when I lost my copy of this tape, along with The Hobbit (on the same tape) in a house fire. I thought I was the only one that had heard of it. My brother and I watched this over and over from the first time it aired, in 1985, until we were well into our teens. In fact, I still break this one out even when it's not Christmas. The story line and the music are classic, as well as some of the neat names (I named my kitty Necile after Claus' "mother"), and as always the stop animation is just beautiful. You could not go wrong buying this if you remembered it from your childhood, or if you are simply curious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why no DVD? Nov. 20 2002
Format:VHS Tape
With all of the other DVDs of the old Rankin & Bass shows that are out, you'd think they would have found room for this one by now, but noooo...
Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, creator of "The Wizard of Oz," this unique interpretation of the Santa Claus legend is a stop-motion animation film by the same people who created the classic versions of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman." Young Claus is a human child found and raised by fairies, battling monsters and finding joy in bringing gifts to children. There was a traditional animated version in 2000 which was okay, but this stop motion version is a real masterpiece if you can find it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars May Confuse Children Dec 12 2000
By Tara
Format:VHS Tape
I recently saw this video for the first time in years. While it emphasizes the fantasy and magic surrounding Santa Claus, it also incorporates many ideas (such as the pagan leaders) that are not normally associated with Christmas. I think it answers many questions children may have regarding Santa; however, it may also provoke new questions--such as "How do the immortal gods relate to the true story of Christmas (Jesus and the nativity?)" This video is a great fantasy, and demonstrates the brilliant mind of its creator, L. Fank Baum. Yet, I think it draws attention away from the true story of Christmas.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Ordered 2, received 1 empty case and the second with the wrong movie...
We ordered 2 movies, 1 came as an empty case and the second one had the wrong movie in the case. The cases were new and still in wrap?
Published 21 months ago by Chauvin
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Christmas Film!
I remember watching this every year as a little girl along with Rudolph and Frosty. This film is different then the traditional story of Santa Claus, with the use of the... Read more
Published on Dec 23 2007 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely enchanting program
I remember as a child, every Christmas, watching this portrail of Santa Claus. It is a truely enchanting version that really portrays the magic of Santa Claus and how children... Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by T. Frederick
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical Christmas special
This genuinely strange 1985 Rankin-Bass production (based on a little-known L. Frank Baum novel) certainly avoids most of the cliches associated with Christmas specials. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2003 by J. Dillingham
5.0 out of 5 stars a childhood classic
i remembered this from my 80s childhood. i love this stop-motion stuff. this movie is a little darker than normal kid movies, which is why i liked it so much. great songs too. Read more
Published on June 24 2003 by deist
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Christmas movies EVER!!!
This movie is a fun watch for kids AND adults! Done in Rankin/Bass stopanimation/claymation style it looks GREAT! Read more
Published on Dec 28 2002 by Merry Hatebear
1.0 out of 5 stars What in the world is this???
I love most things Rankin and Bass, but this is awfull! It's like a tripped out Dungeons and Dragons fantasy world in which a cheesy story of Santa is told. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2002 by Colesdaddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Video but should be on DVD ALSO!!
I'm a GREAT and cherished fan of all rankin/bass productions. The puppetry is superb and the storyline surpasses age and touches me now as equally as when I was a younger! Read more
Published on June 19 2002 by Taarik Dookie
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