Christmas Oddities: A Visit to Santa

It’s early in December, but surely you’re getting pumped for the coming holiday and Santa’s arrival, aren’t you?

Well…?

Last week, I went to a one-night only showing of a double feature of two previous RiffTrax Live specials – 2013’s Santa Conquers the Martians, and the 2009 show Christmas Shorts-stravaganza. Both shows tripped on the bizarre nature of what Christmas looks like when viewed through an askew lens, but there was this one particular short that just absolutely tripped to the point where that lens was not only askew, but also covered in filters that can’t even make this short look halfway presentable. It screams public access (but it isn’t), low budget (which is clearly is), and contains the worst use of organ music ever.

I’m referring to A Visit to Santa!

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This 1963 (Really? It isn’t older than that?!) short film was shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Clem Williams Films. According to IMDb, this was their only short film. And with production values such as these, it is easy to see why they didn’t make anything else.

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This horribly acted (and difficult to understand) short film is about two kids, Dick and Ann, who write a letter to Santa asking if they could visit the North Pole.

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Based on how these kids speak, I find it hard to believe that these kids wrote this.

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Because Santa is all of us, this is where he lives.

Santa, from his home at the “North Pole” (which looks like an ugly living room), obliges. He sends one of his minidress-clad elves to claim the two children.

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What happens next sounds more like a hostage situation than a Christmas dream come true.

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If you ever want to see your parents again, you’ll come with me and learn all about parades and weird toy shops.

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There is no way that living room is inside this “castle.”

I could tell you all about the joys of disturbing elf wear, kids taken in the night from their safe bedroom to go meet some guy claiming to be Santa, and the jolly old fat man sitting in some living room somewhere, as well as footage of parades, fireworks, fake crash landings, and overuse of narration, but I’d rather you guys witness it all yourselves.

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Unfortunately, this is only the unriffed version. If you’d like to see the riffed version (done by the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax – Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett), there is the version as shown during the Christmas Shorts-stravaganza, and there is also a studio version, but it is the same riffing as the version done in the live show. If you enjoy RiffTrax, consider making one or both of these a part of your collection. They’re a small business and every little bit helps, especially when they put on fantastic live shows such as the one audiences were lucky to see last week. Every penny is worth it!

And I’m not above admitting that I snorted during this short.

Allison is a lover of bad films (especially educational shorts) and funny people who riff them mercilessly. If you like what Allison has to say, check out her blog (you know the name), and follow it on Facebook for some randomness on your newsfeed. She’s also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. 

Now, get dressed and hurry up! Don’t keep Allison waiting!

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Scooby Doo’s Exciting Christmas Stories

I found this album while out digging around in one of my normal haunts. The most interesting thing about this album is Scrappy Doo on the cover. Right below Scrappy it says “Copyright (c) 1978 Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc”. According to Wikipedia, Scrappy Doo made his first television appearance in 1979. I don’t know if this was the first appearance of Scrappy or not, but it’s definitely an early one. If anyone has any more information about the earliest appearance of Scrappy Doo, I would love to hear from you.

The album contains two stories, one per side: Trouble at Santa’s Workshop, and Mystery of the Missing Santa. All of the voice work was done by the original actors:

Daphne: Heather North
Freddie: Frank Welker
Scooby Doo: Don Messick
Shaggy: Casey Kasem
Velma: Pat Stevens

Fan of Scooby Doo? Why not check out the Retroist Scooby Doo podcast…

Visiting Santa

I ran across this picture recently while digging through a box full of old memories.

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That’s me on the left there, sitting on Santa’s knee. And that’s my kindergarten teacher on the right, which would have made this 1978. The only thing on my list that year would have been Star Wars toys, and boy did Santa deliver them that Christmas.

Funny how times change. I’m pretty sure they don’t allow Christmas trees or even Santa in classrooms anymore.