You don't know as much as you think because you only think with your head. So you have a lot of trouble believing in things you can't see or touch.

— Father Mouse, attempting to wise up his know-it-all son Albert

’Twas the Night Before Christmas is an animated Christmas television special produced by Rankin/Bass and based on the famous 1823 poem that opens with this line. It originally aired on CBS 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, he returns the entire town's letters to him unopened. Upon reading the anonymous letter 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 it to explore it without permission and inadvertently breaks it, seriously damaging Joshua's professional reputation. Furthermore, the mayor (voiced by John McGiver), publicly embarrassed at the clock tower's failure, refuses to give Joshua access to it for repairs.

Santa Claus as he appears in the special.

Confessing his mistake, Albert volunteers to repair the clock tower 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 tower plays its song within earshot of Santa which convinces him to turn around and come to Junctionville after all. The special ends amid an animated telling of the eponymous poem, set to Santa leaving 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" was often cut. From 2011 onward, however, it was reinstated in its entirety.


The special's soundtrack adaptation.

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


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

Broadcast history

From the 1990s through 2017, the special was aired annually in the 25 Days of Christmas on Freeform and its predecessors. As of 2019, it currently airs annually on AMC's Best Christmas Ever block.


After acquiring the home video rights to the post-1973 Rankin/Bass specials, Warner Home Video released the special 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, and followed it up with a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release the following year.


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


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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