Christmas specials: “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Christmas wrapping paper from Pixabay

Last updated on November 26th, 2022

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” is a 1974 Rankin-Bass Christmas special. It’s based on the 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” which established the first modern conceptions of Santa Claus.


In the half-hour special, a turn-of-the-20th-century town finds itself off of Santa’s visitation list after an anonymous letter appears in the local paper calling him a “fraudulent myth,” among other things. One of the protagonists, a clockmaker, gets the idea of building a giant town clock that’ll play a children’s Christmas song to regain Santa’s favor. There’s also the other protagonist, the head of a family of mice that live in the clockmaker’s house, finding out who wrote the letter (his brainy, skeptical son).

The original poem’s recited (as expected), plus several additional songs.

While it’s not as good as the Rudolph or Frosty specials, this was an OK half-hour special.

Several African-Americans appear among the townspeople, drawn in the usual Rankin-Bass house style. Years later, the final Rankin-Bass-produced animated special would feature a predominately African-American cast, “Santa Baby!

On TV/home video

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” airs during the holidays on AMC; it’s also available to stream on AMC+.

This special has been on multiple DVD releases, including a stand-alone single-disc DVD release.

Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

View all posts by Anthony Dean →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *