|Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny|
|HRRR! HRRR! HRRRR!|
|Riffers||Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett|
|Date Released||December 17, 2010 and December 3, 2015 (Live)|
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is a 1972 children's fantasy film made by R. Winer to frame Barry Mahon's Childhood Productions films for a Christmas release. The threadbare plot concerns Santa Claus's attempts to free his sleigh from the sands of a Florida beach, assisted by local children. Poor acting and production values have made the film a cult classic, despite being universally panned by critics and audiences. RiffTrax released their riff in December 2010. It was riffed live in December 2015.
Synopsis and Preview
The film begins with a chorus of Santa's elves, played by children, singing about Christmas nearing and the absence of Santa. The action abruptly switches to a Florida beach, where Santa's sleigh has become (very superficially) mired in the sand. The absence of Santa's reindeer is explained by claiming that they flew away shortly after the mishap because it was too hot for them.
Apparently using telepathic powers, Santa summons local children to aid him. Most of the children's attempts to free him involve animals, including a pig, a sheep, a donkey, a horse, and an actor in a gorilla suit.
Inexplicably, two boys playing Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn watch and comment on the action from a distance.
When all the children's attempts fail, Santa encourages them not to give up hope, telling them the story of a girl who visits the theme park Pirates World where she hears the story of "Thumbelina" as an example. The film then segues into an hour-long adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale (obviously filmed separately, with higher production values, and featuring its own credit sequence), which proves to have a longer running time than the framing story. Thumbelina is an independent musical film by Barry Mahon. Alternate prints of the film used in some locations feature another Barry Mahon adaptation, Jack and the Beanstalk, instead of the Thumbelina portion. The Winer film may have been used to frame other Mahon films, but it is with Thumbelina that it was presented on VHS by United Home Video.
After the story, the children summon the titular bunny, who arrives haphazardly driving an antique fire engine. The bunny volunteers his vehicle as a replacement for Santa's sleigh. Santa and the bunny then ride off to conduct Santa's Christmas deliveries. The children are left to ponder the problem of Santa's empty sleigh, which disappears before their eyes, ending the film.
Cast and Crew
- Jay Ripley as Santa Claus
- Shay Garner as Thumbelina
- Pat Morrell as Mrs. Mole
- Bob O'Connell as Mr. Digger
- Ruth McMahon as Mother
- Heather Grinter as Witch
- Sue Cable as Flower Girl
- Mike Yuenger as Flower Prince
- The studio release in 2010 features the "Thumbelina" insert, while the 2015 Live Show featured "Jack and the Beanstalk."
- Director Barry Mahon also directed The Wonderful Land of Oz.
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