"The Night Before Christmas" premiered December 9, 1933.
We're going to depart a bit from our usual summary format, since these two connected cartoons don't have a lot of plot to summarize.
In "Santa's Workshop", we see elves making various toys, including rocking horses...
...and alphabet blocks.
Santa Claus (Allan Watson) goes through his naughty or nice list to see deserves a toy. His secretary (Pinto Colvig) informs him about how good or bad each child has been.
When all the toys are made and packed, Santa takes them to deliver toys to children around the world.
J.A. Morris says:
On a technical level, both cartoons are great. Most cartoons at this time existed to say "hey, look what we can do with animation." "Santa's Workshop" and "The Night Before Christmas" are a great example of this practice. We get to see lots of details involved in how elves make the toys on an assembly line.
The colors are gorgeous and the movements are nicely animated, but both shorts are a bit slight. There's not a lot of story in either. Sure it's great animation, but not the sort of thing I plan to watch every December.
The other problem is that both "Santa's Workshop" and "The Night Before Christmas" feature some ugly ethnic stereotypes. in the first cartoon, the elves making toys that feature blackface and stereotypical Jewish caricatures. "The Night Before Christmas" short features a sweet moment when a little boy named Junior gets a puppy for Christmas.
This cute scene is undermined by Junior getting soot on his face, which makes it look like he's corked up in blackface. I don't believe in censoring such things, but it took me out of the moment and feels odd and out of place, even for a 1933 cartoon.
|Prancer receives a grooming.|
"Santa's Workshop" and "The Night Before Christmas" are visually appealing, but the lack of story and reliance on racial stereotypes keeps me from giving them a higher rating.
J.A. Morris' rating:
2 and a half Candy Canes.
Although there isn't a complicated story underlying these two shorts, there is a LOT of impressive animation on show. We get to see the whole toy creation and delivery process across these two shorts.
|Check out the gnomes/elves working hard in the reindeer stables! (I like the tooth brushing!)|
|Technicolor sleigh prep in "Santa's Workshop"|
|Santa gets a pretty good sound out of that toy piano!|
|Talented toys (and a zeppelin!) decorate the tree in "The Night Before Christmas"|
|Ugly stereotypes will get you on the naughty list nowadays! (Rightly so!)|
|Nine (!!) small children vs. Christmas tree (Junior is not in the frame though ...)|
|The puppy is super-cute though! And Junior wants him to see Santa ... awww!|
3 Candy Canes.