It may not be as well-known as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," but among Christmas-special fans of a certain age, "The Year Without a Santa Claus" has a definite cult following.
Someone at NBC must like the Rankin-Bass production too, because the network has greenlit a live-action remake of the special, in which a burned-out Santa Claus decides to take a year off, throwing Christmas into chaos.
Production on the two-hour movie is scheduled to begin next week in Louisiana. John Goodman ("Monsters, Inc.," "Roseanne") will star as Santa Claus and will be joined in the cast by Carol Kane, Ethan Suplee, Eddie Griffin and "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Chris Kattan.
The story kicks off when a devious elf named Sparky (Kattan) tries to convince Santa that he has to keep up with our materialistic times. Reluctant to do so, and convinced no one believes in him anymore, Santa instead decides to just skip Christmas this year.
The decision shocks two of Santa's most loyal elves, Jingle (Suplee, "My Name Is Earl") and Jangle (Griffin, "Date Movie," "Undercover Brother"), who head to South Town, USA, in an effort to find some kids who still believe in their boss. Their quest is complicated by Heat Miser and Snow Miser, the warring sons of Mother Nature (Kane, "The Princess Bride," "Taxi").
Heat Miser and Snow Miser, memorable characters voiced by George S. Irving and Dick Shawn in the 1974 animated special, haven't been cast yet.
Ron Underwood ("City Slickers") will direct "The Year Without a Santa Claus." Mark Wolper (TNT's "Salem's Lot," "Penn & Teller: Bulls**t!") is executive producing.