By Garland Pollard
ABC Family has brought back the Rankin Bass character Heat Miser in “A Miser Brothers’ Christmas.” The show, the first animated feature for the channel, premieres Saturday, December 13 at 8 p.m. ET and is based upon the characters Heat Miser and Snow Miser originally appearing in the Rankin-Bass classic “The Year Without a Santa Claus” as part of its “25 Days of Christmas.”
Mickey Rooney returns as the voice of Santa Claus (I think many had forgotten he was still performing; thank goodness he is still keeping the Mickey Rooney franchise alive) and George S. Irving returns as Heat Miser. This time, Santa throws out his back and is unable to deliver gifts for Christmas, and the Misers have to help. This softer side of Heat Miser will be a relief to radioman Glenn Beck, who has said on his show that the character frightened him terribly as a child.
An ABC Family release states that the show is produced by Warner Bros. Animation in association with Cuppa Coffee Studios. Executive producers are Adam Shaheen, Howard Schwartz and Linda M. Steiner, with a script written by Eddie Guzelian and directed by Dave Barton Thomas.
Perhaps now is the time to ask for the return of the Rankin Bass brand; it has as much meaning as Hanna Barbera, and would help to define the genre, namely stop-animation figures, and perhaps bring a pipeline of specials back onto ABC. Even better, Rankin Bass is so well known it could be used in theme parks.