The journey of Rankin Bass Productions has ultimately come to an end. Jules Bass, the man who co-directed and co-produced many of the greatest animated Christmas shorts and movies of the 20th Century, has joined his creative partner Arthur Rankin Jr. in the great beyond. Variety reports that Jules’s passing was confirmed by publicist Jennifer Fisherman-Ruff. Bass had been at an assisted living facility in Rye, New York, just about 30 miles North of NYC.
Jules Bass was 87. He and Arthur left behind decades of fond holiday memories for millions.
While the story of Rankin Bass Productions didn’t start with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, it did jump-start the popularity of the team’s particular brand of music and storytelling. Thanks to Bass and Rankin, every Christmas season is filled with familiar stop-motion and cartoon classics. From Rudolph’s tale, narrated by Burl Ives, to Jack Frost and Frosty the Snowman, it is impossible to go through the month of December without seeing what these two worked on.
Over the years, Jules and Arthur broke from the festive season to make other classics such as Mad Monster Party, The Last Unicorn, and a charming animated adaptation of The Hobbit. Each production had a style instantly recognizable, whether it be the songs or the character designs. In the case of hand-drawn animation, that was thanks to artists who went on to work for Studio Ghibli.
The last project Rankin and Bass worked on was an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. While it was not their strongest work, it had many of the hallmarks we’d expect from Rankin Bass Productions’ cel-animated films: catchy songs and unique character designs.
The works of Jules Bass will continue to live on as new generations discover Rudolph and the others. Even with all the cynicism surrounding the winter holidays nowadays, all that melts away with the familiar jingle jangle of a Rankin Bass song.
Thank you for the memories, Mr. Bass.[Source: Variety]