Thursday, December 24, 2009
Kris Kringle Comes To Gotham
Here's a Christmas Eve treat from Tom's excellent Batman blog: a clip from the classic Batman 1966 TV series, featuring that colorful and long-lived character actor Andy Devine as Santa Claus. (There's even a Disney connection, as I'm sure you know, as Andy was the voice of Friar Tuck in Disney's Robin Hood, 1973). I've been trying to think of the different character actors who have played Santa Claus on TV and in the movies through the years, without too much luck: there's been Ed Asner, Art Carney (he played Santa at least twice: in the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Night of the Meek" and the all-but-forgotten Muppet special, The Great Santa Claus Switch, from 1970), Fred Astaire, David Huddleston, Hal "Otis Campbell" Smith in the Christmas episode of The Brady Bunch, and of course, as Kris Kringle in the various versions of Miracle on 34th Street, Thomas Mitchell, Sebastian Cabot, Richard Attenborough and (best of all, by far), Edmund Gwenn in the definitive 1947 original. I must say that Andy Devine's brief cameo as Mr. Claus is one of the best, and also—by dint of its appearance on the always-odd (usually in a good way) Batman show—one of the most eccentric. While you're waiting for Santa to visit your home, check out his visit to the inimitable Batman series, originally broadcast ("in Color!") on December 22, 1966.