We're back with a look at another one of the "classic" Christmas specials by Rankin-Bass. This week, we check out one of my personal favorites, "The Little Drummer Boy"...
Aaron was a young boy who was filled with love and joy... and the ability to make his animal friends dance by playing the drum given to him by his parents. When bandits destroy the innocent life he had, Aaron comes to hate humanity.
A chance encounter with three travelling kings puts him on the road to rediscovering what it means to love again...
The story for 1968's "The Little Drummer Boy" is a fair bit deeper (and darker) than the others by Rankin-Bass, which might account for why it's one of my favorite ones. The themes of innocence lost, childhood rage at that loss, and learning to accept and move forward from that loss is certainly a fascinating counterpoint to the theme of holy redemption and faith.
Of the Rankin-Bass specials I've watched, I'd have to say that this is the only one that actually deals with the holiness of Christmas in a respectful and entertaining way.
While the characters aren't very three dimensional, they are still engaging as symbolic agents of the themes involved- adding more depth and texture to the special.
Also, the version of the song, "The Little Drummer Boy" used in this special is one of my favorite versions. It's gentle, holy, and very human in it's approach to Christmas carols.
This is absolutely one of the Rankin-Bass specials that I consider "must watch" at Christmas. A "Good".