Dead in a Decade: Jules Bass obit

He
and the late Arthur Rankin Jr. also worked on such other classics as
‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,’ ‘Here Comes Peter Cottontail’ and ‘Mad
Monster Party.’

He was not on the list.


Jules Bass,
the animator, producer, director and composer who partnered with Arthur Rankin
Jr. on the stop-motion holiday TV specials Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, has died. He was 87.

Bass died
Tuesday at an assisted living facility in Rye, New York, publicist Jennifer
Fisherman Ruff told The Hollywood Reporter.

Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer, based on the song popularized by Gene Autry and featuring
the voice of Burl Ives, debuted in 1964. Frosty the Snowman, starring Jackie
Vernon and Jimmy Durante, bowed in 1969, and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,
starring Fred Astaire, premiered in 1970. All three have remained strong
television draws through the decades.

Rankin/Bass
Productions’ cel-animated, stop-motion features were farmed out to Japanese
animators and were painstaking to make, with thousands of still photos of their
characters’ incremental movements put together at 24 frames a second in a
process called “Animagic.”

Bass also
directed and produced Mad Monster Party, a 1967 feature starring Boris Karloff
and Phyllis Diller.

Born in
Philadelphia on Sept. 16, 1935, Bass attended New York University and worked at
an advertising agency before he joined Rankin, formerly an art director at ABC,
at his film production company Videocraft International (later known as
Rankin/Bass Productions).

Said Rankin
in a 2005 interview: “We sort of complemented each other. He had certain
talents that I didn’t have, and I had certain talents that he didn’t have. I
was basically an artist and a creator; he was a creator and a writer and a
lyricist.”

The duo’s
first production was the syndicated TV series The New Adventures of Pinocchio,
which debuted in 1960. They came up with a total of 130 five-minute chapters,
which made for a series of five-chapter, 25-minute episodes.

The pair
shared an Emmy nomination for outstanding children’s special in 1977 for their
work on The Little Drummer Boy Book II and received a Peabody a year later for
their animated version of The Hobbit. They also handled an adaptation of
another J.R.R. Tolkien property, The Return of the King, in 1980.

Their other
TV projects included 1966’s The Ballad of Smokey the Bear, 1967’s The Wacky
World of Mother Goose, 1968’s The Little Drummer Boy, the 1971 Easter special
Here Comes Peter Cottontail, 1974’s The Year Without a Santa Claus, the 1971-72
series Jackson 5ive, the ’80s series Thundercats and the 1983 animated movie
The Coneheads. They collaborated with Maury Laws in providing music for their animated films.

He and
Rankin co-directed The Last Unicorn (1982), featuring the voices of Jeff
Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin and Robert Klein and songs
composed and arranged by Jimmy Webb and performed by America.

Rankin died
in January 2014 at age 89.

Bass wrote
the children’s books Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon and Cooking With Herb,
published by Barefoot Books, and his 2001 novel, Headhunters, was adapted for
the 2011 film Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez.

His
daughter, Jean Nicole Bass, died in January at age 61

Producer (58
credits)

2020 ThunderCats Roar (TV Series) (consulting
producer – 28 episodes)

– Mumm-Ra of
Plun-Darr Part 2 (2020) … (consulting producer)

– Mumm-Ra of
Plun-Darr Part 1 (2020) … (consulting producer)

– Snarf’s
Day Off (2020) … (consulting producer)

– Lion-S
(2020) … (consulting producer)

– Prince
Starling’s Quest (2020) … (consulting producer)

2011-2012 Thundercats (TV Series) (consulting
producer – 25 episodes)

– What Lies
Above: Part Two (2012) … (consulting producer)

– What Lies
Above: Part One (2012) … (consulting producer)

– The Soul
Sever (2012) … (consulting producer)

– Recipe for
Disaster (2012) … (consulting producer)

– The
Forever Bag (2012) … (consulting producer)

2011 Butterfly Blues (TV Short) (consulting
producer)

1985-1989 Thundercats (TV Series) (executive
producer – 125 episodes)

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– The Book
of Omens (1989) … (executive producer)

– Well of
Doubt (1989) … (executive producer)

– The Zaxx
Factor (1989) … (executive producer)

– Touch of
Amortus (1989) … (executive producer)

– Swan Song
(1989) … (executive producer)

1987 The Comic Strip (TV Series) (executive
producer – 1 episode)

– Karate
Kat: The Katzenheimer Kaper/The Sardine Turnover Kaper/The Mousemobile Kaper
(1987) … (executive producer)

1987 TigerSharks (TV Series) (executive
producer)

1987 The Wind in the Willows (TV Movie)
(producer)

1986 Silverhawks (TV Series) (producer)

1985 The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus
(TV Movie) (producer)

1983 The Coneheads (TV Movie) (producer)

1983 The Sins of Dorian Gray (TV Movie)
(producer)

1982 The Last Unicorn (producer)

1982 The Flight of Dragons (Video) (producer)

1981 The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (TV
Movie) (producer)

1981 The Bushido Blade (executive producer)

1980 Pinocchio’s Christmas (TV Movie)
(producer)

1980 The Return of the King (TV Movie)
(producer)

1980 The Ivory Ape (TV Movie) (executive
producer)

1979 Jack Frost (TV Movie) (producer –
produced by)

1979 Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July
(TV Movie) (producer)

1978 The Stingiest Man in Town (TV Movie)
(producer)

1978 The Bermuda Depths (TV Movie) (producer)

1977 Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
(TV Movie) (producer)

1977 The Hobbit (TV Movie) (producer)

1977 The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town (TV
Movie) (producer)

1977 The Last Dinosaur (producer)

1976 The Little Drummer Boy Book II (TV Short)
(producer)

1976 Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (TV Movie)
(producer)

1976 Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (TV Movie)
(producer)

1976 The First Easter Rabbit (TV Short)
(producer)

1975 The First Christmas: The Story of the
First Christmas Snow (TV Movie) (producer)

1974 The Year Without a Santa Claus (TV Movie)
(producer)

1974 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (TV
Short) (producer)

1973 Marco (producer)

1972-1973 Festival of Family Classics (TV
Series) (producer – 20 episodes)

– Robin Hood
(1973) … (producer)

– Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs (1973) … (producer)

– Tom Sawyer
(1973) … (producer)

– Robinson
Crusoe (1973) … (producer)

– Alice in
Wonderland (1973) … (producer)

1972-1973 The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie (TV
Series) (producer – 4 episodes)

– That Girl
in Wonderland (1973) … (producer)

– The Red
Baron (1972) … (producer – uncredited)

– Willie
Mays and the Say-Hey Kid (1972) … (producer)

– The Mad,
Mad, Mad Monsters (1972) … (producer)

1972 The Osmonds (TV Series) (producer – 1
episode)

– Don
Osmondo in Spain (1972) … (producer)

1972 Kid Power (TV Series) (producer – 1972)

1972 The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The
Emperor’s New Clothes (TV Movie) (producer)

1971-1972 Jackson 5ive (TV Series) (producer –
17 episodes)

– A Rare
Pearl (1972) … (producer)

– Rasho-Jackson (1972) … (producer)

– Jackson
Street, U.S.A. (1971) … (producer)

– The
Michael Look (1971) … (producer)

– Jackson
Island (1971) … (producer)

1971 Here Comes Peter Cottontail (TV Movie)
(producer)

1970 Tomfoolery (TV Series) (producer – 1970)

1970 Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (TV Movie)
(producer – produced by)

1970 The Reluctant Dragon & Mr. Toad Show
(TV Series) (producer)

1970 The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians (TV Movie)
(producer)

1969 Frosty the Snowman (TV Short) (producer)

1969 The Smokey Bear Show (TV Series)
(producer)

1968 The Little Drummer Boy (TV Movie)
(producer)

1968 Mouse on the Mayflower (TV Movie)
(producer)

1967 Cricket on the Hearth (TV Movie)
(producer)

1967 Mad Monster Party? (producer)

1966 The Ballad of Smokey the Bear (TV Movie)
(co-producer)

1966 King Kong (TV Series) (executive producer
– 8 episodes)

– The
Spacemen (1966) … (executive producer)

– The Hunter
(1966) … (executive producer)

– The
African Bees (1966) … (executive producer)

– Rocket
Island (1966) … (executive producer)

– The Horror
of Mondo Island (1966) … (executive producer)

1965 Willy McBean and His Magic Machine
(associate producer)

1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV Movie)
(co-producer)

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1964 Return to Oz (TV Movie) (co-producer)

1961 Tales of the Wizard of Oz (TV Series)
(producer)

1960 The New Adventures of Pinocchio (TV
Series) (producer – 130 episodes)

– Episode
#1.2 (1960) … (producer)

– Episode
#1.3 (1960) … (producer)

– Episode
#1.1 (1960) … (producer)

– Episode
#1.130 … (producer)

– Episode
#1.129 … (producer)

Director (44
credits)

1987 The Wind in the Willows (TV Movie)

1985 The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus
(TV Movie)

1983 The Coneheads (TV Movie)

1982 The Last Unicorn

1982 The Flight of Dragons (Video)

1981 The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (TV
Movie)

1980 Pinocchio’s Christmas (TV Movie)

1980 The Return of the King (TV Movie)

1979 Jack Frost (TV Movie) (directed by)

1979 Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July
(TV Movie)

1978 The Stingiest Man in Town (TV Movie)

1977 Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
(TV Movie)

1977 The Hobbit (TV Movie)

1977 The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town (TV
Movie)

1976 The Little Drummer Boy Book II (TV Short)

1976 Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (TV Movie)

1976 Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (TV Movie)

1976 The First Easter Rabbit (TV Short)

1975 The First Christmas: The Story of the
First Christmas Snow (TV Movie)

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1974 The Year Without a Santa Claus (TV Movie)

1974 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (TV
Short)

1973 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

1973 The Ballad of Paul Bunyan (TV Movie)

1972-1973 Festival of Family Classics (TV
Series) (20 episodes)

– Robin Hood
(1973)

– Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs (1973)

– Tom Sawyer
(1973)

– Robinson
Crusoe (1973)

– Alice in
Wonderland (1973)

1972-1973 The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie (TV
Series) (4 episodes)

– That Girl
in Wonderland (1973)

– The Red
Baron (1972)

– Willie
Mays and the Say-Hey Kid (1972)

– The Mad,
Mad, Mad Monsters (1972)

1972 Arabian Nights (Short)

1972 The Osmonds (TV Series) (1 episode)

– Don
Osmondo in Spain (1972)

1972 Kid Power (TV Series)

1972 The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The
Emperor’s New Clothes (TV Movie)

1971-1972 Jackson 5ive (TV Series) (17
episodes)

– A Rare
Pearl (1972)

– Rasho-Jackson (1972)

– Jackson
Street, U.S.A. (1971)

– The
Michael Look (1971)

– Jackson
Island (1971)

1971 Here Comes Peter Cottontail (TV Movie)

1970 Tomfoolery (TV Series) (1970)

1970 Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (TV Movie)
(directed by)

1970 The Reluctant Dragon & Mr. Toad Show
(TV Series)

1970 The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians (TV Movie)

1969 Frosty the Snowman (TV Short)

1969 The Smokey Bear Show (TV Series)

1968 The Little Drummer Boy (TV Movie)

1968 Mouse on the Mayflower (TV Movie)

1967 Cricket on the Hearth (TV Movie)

1967 The Wacky World of Mother Goose

1967 Mad Monster Party?

1966 The Daydreamer

1960 The New Adventures of Pinocchio (TV
Series) (130 episodes)

– Episode
#1.2 (1960)

– Episode
#1.3 (1960)

– Episode
#1.1 (1960)

– Episode
#1.130

– Episode
#1.129

Composer (10
credits)

1987 The Wind in the Willows (TV Movie)

1973 The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie (TV
Series) (1 episode)

– That Girl
in Wonderland (1973)

1972 Arabian Nights (Short)

1972 The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The
Emperor’s New Clothes (TV Movie)

1970 Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (TV Movie)

1970 The Reluctant Dragon & Mr. Toad Show
(TV Series)

1969 The Smokey Bear Show (TV Series)

1967 The Wacky World of Mother Goose

1966 King Kong (TV Series) (8 episodes)

– The
Spacemen (1966)

– The Hunter
(1966)

– The
African Bees (1966)

– Rocket
Island (1966)

– The Horror
of Mondo Island (1966)

1960 The New
Adventures of Pinocchio (TV Series) (130 episodes)

– Episode
#1.2 (1960)

– Episode
#1.3 (1960)

– Episode
#1.1 (1960)

– Episode
#1.130

– Episode
#1.129

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