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'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Rankin/Bass)

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’Twas the Night Before Christmas is an animated Christmas television special, produced by Rankin/Bass and based loosely on the famous 1823 poem that opens with this line. The special originally aired on the CBS network on December 8, 1974.


SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.

The Junctionville Town Hall

The special is set in the fictional town of Junctionville, New York, around the turn of the 20th century. Santa Claus is offended by an anonymous letter printed in the town's newspaper (and signed "all of us") claiming that he doesn't exist. In response, Santa returns the entire town's letters to him unopened. Upon reading the anonymous letter printed in the newspaper, Father Mouse (voiced by George Gobel) — a mouse assistant to the human clockmaker Joshua Trundle (voiced by Joel Grey, the credited narrator) — immediately suspects that his brainy son Albert is its author. Albert (voiced by Tammy Grimes) confirms his suspicions, repeating the letter verbatim to him.

Father Mouse and the Trundle Family devise a plan to appease Santa by building a singing clock tower for him, built with a special recording to play a song to coax him not to bypass Junctionville on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, Albert enters the clock to explore it without permission and inadvertently breaks it, seriously damaging Trundle's professional reputation. Furthermore, the mayor (voiced by John McGiver), publicly embarrassed at the clock tower's failure, refuses to give the clockmaker access to it for repairs.


Santa Claus as he appears in the special.


Confessing his mistake, Albert volunteers to repair the clock himself and Father Mouse tells Joshua of the situation before waiting at his bed with worry on Christmas Eve. Although Albert does not complete his task until about one minute after the Midnight deadline, the clock does play its song within earshot of Santa which convinces him to turn around and come to town after all. The special ends amid an animated telling of the eponymous poem, set to Santa giving gifts at the Trundle home, performing the actions stated in the poem.

Spoilers end here.


When aired on ABC Family or other television networks, "Give Your Heart a Try" is often cut out. Starting in 2011, however, the song was reinstated in its entirety.


1367 front 600

The soundtrack adaptation of the special.

A soundtrack album was released on Disneyland Records DQ-1367 in 1976, featuring the complete soundtrack of the special.


  • Junctionville, New York is a fictional community meant to honor author Clement Moore, who was born in New York. It is apparently a seaside community, as one little boy is shown sitting on a sea stack throwing a drawing of Santa into the ocean. The maritime nature of Junctionville may have been based on Newport, Rhode Island, where Clement Moore died.


After acquiring the home video rights to the post-1973 Rankin/Bass specials, Warner Home Video released ’Twas the Night Before Christmas on VHS in 1993. It was later made available on Warner's first DVD release of Frosty's Winter Wonderland in 2004. Warner Home Video later gave the special its own Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD in 2010. A Blu-ray of the special was released the following year.


Voice actor Character
Patricia Bright voice
Scott Firestone voice
George Gobel Father Mouse
Joel Grey Joshua Trundle
Tammy Grimes Albert
Bob McFadden voice
John McGiver Mayor
Allen Swift voice
Christine Winter voice

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed
content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerCricket on the HearthThe Little Drummer BoyFrosty the SnowmanSanta Claus is Comin' to Town • "A Christmas Tree" • 'Twas the Night Before ChristmasThe Year Without a Santa ClausThe First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas SnowFrosty's Winter WonderlandRudolph's Shiny New YearThe Little Drummer Boy, Book IINestor, the Long-Eared Christmas DonkeyThe Stingiest Man in TownRudolph and Frosty's Christmas in JulyJack FrostPinocchio's ChristmasThe Leprechauns' Christmas GoldThe Life and Adventures of Santa ClausSanta, Baby!

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