Kris Kringle (Mickey Rooney) is a young boy with an immense desire to do good things for others. In his home village of Sombertown, Kris has started a gift factory where he builds toys and gives them to all the local children. But when the evil ruler Burgermeister Meisterburger (Paul Frees) bans toys from the land, Kris is forced to go directly to Mother Nature and beseech her for assistance. With the help of magical elves and several special reindeer, Kris works hard to overcome the Burgermeister and deliver toys to all the children of the world, earning him the name Saint Claus, or Santa Claus. This timeless tale by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin is narrated by Fred Astaire.
One of the first Rankin-Bass Christmas specials (it was preceded by THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY in 1968), SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN received acclaim from both children and adults alike and spawned a number of similar films, including THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS and THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS. The movie's detailed, macabre stop-action puppets and gothic tinge were clearly an influence on Henry Selick and Tim Burton's THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and it remains an important animated film to the moviemakers of today.