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The X-Files Promo that speculated that Santa was an Alien
The X-Files first-aired on the Fox Network on September 10, 1993. It premiered to a very good 12 million viewers for its pilot and from there it would continue to grow. Eventually, it would become a hit for Fox and a cult-classic that is still enjoyed today. Yet the show starred two virtually unknown actors. While they are well-known today, in the early days of the show, they were constantly doing press, interviews, and promos.
One of my favorites relics of this time is this promo that ran in November and December of 1993. In it, Anderson, who was 25, and Duchovny, who was 33, mention that you should watch The X-Files every Friday, but then go into a fun bit that speculates that Santa Claus may in fact be an alien.
Think about it. The polar base. The hyper-light travel. The Crop Circles.
It is all played very tongue in cheek and is really just a fun way to introduce the two leads. Which is why instead of being Mulder and Scully in this promo, they are David and Gillian.
Stylistically this is very Nineties. The quick camera cuts and slightly off-center framing were used to almost to the point of abuse during that decade. Add to that a washed-out color effect and this promo could have easily blended into the lineup of music videos that were popular at the time.
It is only thirty seconds long, but with the production being a time capsule of the era and Gillian and David being so so charming, you will probably want to watch this promo a few times.
The idea of Santa Claus as an alien might be played for fun here, but it is not an uncommon notion. In 1967, astronaut Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford had fun with the idea. Stating that they had seen Santa in space. According to the mission transcript:
“We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit…. Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon…. You just might let me pick up that thing…. I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.“
This was of course a prank on their part, and they soon broke out into a rendition of Jingle Bells, but the idea that Santa could have origins outside of Earth’s orbit would stick around.
Sadly they never did a full episode of The X-Files that tackled this subject. Perhaps that is because there is a massive conspiracy between the big toymakers, a shadowy world government, and of course the elves? Always the elves.
So this Christmas Eve, when you lay your head down to sleep with visions of sugar plums, remember that you could be welcoming an extra-terrestrial with an unknown agenda and a list with EVERYONE’S NAME into your home.
Bar the door and block the chimneys people! They tried to warn us back in ’93. The truth is out there.