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Rankin/Bass Productions
Rankin Bass logo
Details
Country U.S.A.
Years Active 1960 - 1987
Industry Animation
Headquarters New York
Licensed Properties ThunderCats, SilverHawks, TigerSharks,

Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. was an American production company that was particularly popular for creating stop-motion, seasonal TV specials. They also made cel animated TV shows, the most popular of which was "ThunderCats".

On September 14, 1960, Arthur Rankin Jr and Jules Bass together formed "Videocraft International". Their main aim was to create stop-motion animated TV movies. All of their animation work was outsourced to various animation houses in Japan.

With their stop-motion technique, which they dubbed "Animagic", Rankin/Bass produced a number of shows like "Pinocchio", but their most successful one was the TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". The success of this 1964 TV movie led to Rankin/Bass producing many similar seasonal TV movies such as "The Cricket on the Hearth" and "Mouse on the Mayflower".

The name of the company was changed to "Rankin/Bass Productions" on November 23, 1968. They continued to produce holiday specials and even made animated versions of J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Return of the King".

By the mid 1980s Rankin/Bass started making cel animation cartoon series such as "The King Kong Show" and "The Jackson 5ive". None of these achieved as much success as their 1985 cartoon series about the adventures of humanoid cats known as "ThunderCats". The show was an immense hit, resulting in plenty of merchandise and toys of it being made as well. It achieved as much success as the highly popular "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" animated show.

After "ThunderCats", Rankin/Bass tried to repeat the magic with shows like "SilverHawks" and "TigerSharks", but none could attain as much success as "ThunderCats". After its last series output, Rankin/Bass shut down its production arm on March 4, 1987. All of its post-1974 library would eventually become properties of Warner Brothers.

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