Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment was an American production company, primarily known for its holiday specials which typically made use of stop-motion animation. The studio was founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass as Videocraft International, Ltd. in 1960. The studio was renamed Rankin/Bass Productions in 1968, a name under which it produced and distributed numerous animated and live action productions, often collaborating with Japanese animation and film studios such as Toei, Toho, and Tsuburaya Productions. The company shut down production in 1987, and officially dissolved in 2001. Rankin/Bass' pre-1974 library is currently owned by Universal Pictures (after its 2016 acquisition of DreamWorks Animation and the Classic Media catalog), while its post-1974 library is owned by Warner Bros.
In 1966, Rankin/Bass collaborated with Toei Animation to produce an animated series starring King Kong, titled The King Kong Show. The show ran for 26 two-part episodes, and its success in both the United States and Japan prompted Rankin/Bass to approach Toho Company Ltd., who had produced the hit film King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962, with the rights to produce a live action adaptation of the series. Toho initially began work on Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs. Ebirah, but Rankin/Bass rejected the premise of the film. Toho reworked the project as the 1966 Godzilla film Ebirah, Horror of the Deep and began production on a more faithful adaptation of the animated series, resulting in the 1967 film King Kong Escapes. Rankin/Bass would later collaborate with Tsuburaya Productions on three tokusatsu films in the late 1970s, including The Last Dinosaur, which was also distributed theatrically in Japan by Toho-Towa.
- The King Kong Show (TV 1966-1967) [with Toei Animation]
- King Kong Escapes (1967) [with Toho]
- The Last Dinosaur (1977) [with Tsuburaya Productions]
- The Bermuda Depths (1978) [with Tsuburaya Productions]
- Rankin/Bass's 1985 Christmas special The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus uses stock sound effects of Rodan and Mothra for the cries of the Asian Dragon and Winged Demon that assist the evil Awgwas in their battle with the good Immortals.
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