It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. No matter where you go, what you watch on television or even listen to on the radio, all the signs and sounds indicate that the holidays are here.
With the holidays come a schedule of TV programs that will keep us entertained and put us in the Christmas mood. Some are traditions like Frosty the Snowman and then there are some new programs certain to become holiday classics. One show destined to become a holiday tradition is Disney’s Mickey Saves Christmas.
The show premieres as a simulcast on ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD on November 27th at 7:00 p.m. The special will also be available on Disney+ and Hulu on November 28th.
Unlike most animated holiday-television shows, Mickey Saves Christmas is a new stop-motion holiday special in the tradition of Rankin/Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. The special follows Mickey Mouse, Minnie, and their pals as they attempt to celebrate the perfect Christmas at their snowy cabin. However, when Pluto causes Santa to lose all the gifts in his sleigh, the Fab Five travel to the North Pole on a quest to save Christmas and find the true meaning of the holiday.
Lending their vocal talents to the important roles of Santa and Mrs. Claus are real-life couple Brock Powell and Camryn Grimes. Both lifelong Disney fans, the couple is a match made in happily-ever-after. Introduced by fellow Disney voice-actor and Disney legend Bill Farmer AKA Goofy), the couple is beyond excited about their recent engagement as well as being part of a Disney holiday special.
“As luck would have it, Bill introduced me to Camryn and that is how we first met,” Powell fondly reflects. Powell calls Farmer his mentor when it comes to voice-over acting and Grimes says she is fortunate enough to have Powell as her live-in mentor and fiancé.
In lending his vocal talents to the character of Saint Nick, Powell offered up a Santa tutorial that he says worked for him in the role. “When you imagine Santa, when you close your eyes, you picture the voice, the first thing you want to start with is that ‘ho-ho-ho.’” Powell says the greeting has to be “pretty brassy, you have to start in the chest” but warns you don’t want to hurt yourself. The actor adds “you want to make sure you are shaking your belly, that is the most important part.”
Powell said he based his animated alter-ego on the classic Santa in Miracle on 34th Street. “He is wise, a bit mischievous, and not opposed to getting a bit turned around.” Powell adds that he and Grimes were not out to recreate the iconic characters adding that “it is important to keep Santa as well as Mrs. Claus credible, playful, gentle, and kind,” adding that the characters are timeless and never age.
As for getting into the holiday mood, Powell says he starts playing Christmas tunes on November 1st through New Year’s Day while his bride-to-be says she likes to wait awhile before getting into the holiday spirit.
This is not the first Disney voice-acting job for the couple. Powell and Grimes provided their vocal talents to Disney’s Hamster and Gretel. Powell has been a frequent collaborator on other Disney animated projects like Mickey Mouse Funhouse, Big Hero 6, Phineas and Ferb: The Movie, and Candace Against the Universe.
Perhaps not since the late voice-power couple Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor worked for the Walt Disney Company providing the voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, has there been a real-life couple providing voices for animated characters. That fact does not get lost on Powell and Grimes. The Emmy-award winning Grimes and Powell say they are very appreciative of the task they have in providing voice to Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as contributing to the success of Walt Disney animation. “To be a small part of that, to be able to share it with the love of my life, as well as my friends who voice the other characters,” Powell concedes he and Grimes are happy to part of a show that will bring joy to kids and families all around the world. Grimes sums up her experience as “just incredible.”
The happy couple while talking about their Christmas project remain mum about their upcoming nuptials. When questioned about the big day and whether Goofy aka Farmer would serve as the best man, Powell and Grimes laughed saying somethings are best to keep secret but added that when the time comes fans will know all about it.
In the meantime, in their finest Santa and Mrs. Claus voices, my interview with the couple ended with them bellowing out a “very Merry Christmas” greeting to all their family, friends and fans. Mickey Saves Christmas airs as a simulcast on ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD on November 27th at 7:00 p.m.