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Burgermeister Meisterburger

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Burger Meister

Burgermeister Meisterburger demonstrating his irrational hatred of children and toys

"Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful, and anyone with a toy in his possession will be placed under arrest and thrown in the dungeon. No kidding.
~ Burgermeister Meisterburger's law.
Burgermeister Meisterburger (German for mayor; master citizen) is the main antagonist of the Christmas TV special Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. He despises toys (and seemingly, fun in general), doubly so after he accidentally tripped on a toy on the stairs to his residence. He will burn any toy that he sees. He is the sadistic mayor of Sombertown and will arrest anyone whose home contains a toy.

He was voiced by the Rankin/Bass veteran, Paul Frees, who also voiced his toady, Grimsby and Kubla Kraus from Jack Frost as well as Aeon the Terrible and Winterbolt from the Rudolph specials, and Boris Badenov from the Rocky and Bullwinkle series.

There is a description in story of a never-named King, and of the Burgermeister's determination that there will be no more toymakers to him, or presumably, his descendants. Apart from this king's identity (anyone from Charlemagne to being a vague Christ reference), the question of why the Burgermeister has the power to prevent this arises, as he is the mayor of one town, and the King presumably governs a larger region that seems to include (or have once included) Sombertown.

At the episode's start, Grimsby brings his master the infant Claus, who the Burgermeister directs be taken to the local orphanage. Grimsby loses the baby while doing so, and Claus ends up rescued by animals and raised by the Kringles, an elf family who give him the name Kris. After making toys all his life, young Kris determines that the Kringles should once again give out their wonderful toys, and sets out for Sombertown.

When Kris Kringle brings toys to the children in Sombertown, he is chastised by a local teacher, Jessica, and then automatically arrested, embarassing the Burgermeister briefly by giving him a toy. His red suit being unacceptable becomes a bit of a running gag. Gaining the children and Jessica to his side, Kris and his friends make escape after escape, each time becoming cleverer about where they hide the toys, finally inventing the tradition of the Christmas stocking.  When his penguin friend Topper is taken hostage, Kris, his family, The Kringles, as well as redeemed villain The Winter Warlock, who became Kris' friend after Kris gave him a toy, are all arrested by the Burgermeister's forces. The Burgermeister then sets fire to all of the toys in Sombertown.

Jessica, with the aid of the Warlock, gives reindeer the ability to fly, and eventually frees them all. It is stated that Jessica and Kris could find no town to take them in when they wished to be married, indicating that the Burgermeister's power and influence was enough to haunt their comings and goings, forcing them all the way to the North Pole, where Kris, now using his original name of Claus, set up his legendary workshop. With his appearance well known and on wanted posters, Kris grows a beard to hide his identity. Burgermeister Meisterburger never found Kris, and he, as well as the rest of his descendants, lost their power and he and his family died. The townsfolk of Sombertown were so relieved after his death cause they eventually realized how ridiculous his rules were, and they abolished every single one of them. For all his demands and huffing and puffing, the Burgermeister merely became the sand in the oyster's shell, the irritant that produced a legend loved by children everywhere. Even more ironically, at the show's end, a small town has grown up around Santa's Workshop, and the children there are seen as happy (though they probably don't get away with anything), showing that Kris is a better town-runner than the tyrant now so obscure, a mailman has to relate his tale.

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