During the Christmas season, I love to watch some of the old Christmas movies on TV.
My favorite all time is, of course, “A Christmas Carol,” based on the story of Scrooge by Charles Dickens. As many of you are aware, there are several versions of this on the screen. At this point, my guess is I’m in the minority in preferring the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim. It’s hard to find now as the versions with George C. Scott or Patrick Stewart seem more likely to be shown. I grew up with the Sim version, hence, he’s the “real” Scrooge for me.
The other night, my wife and I watched a 1947 film with only one version that I am aware of: “Miracle on 34th Street.”
It’s about “the real” Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, who was hired by Macy’s department store in New York City to be Santa Claus in their main store during the Christmas rush. Kris Kringle turns out to be an elderly man with an authentically long white beard (”go on and pull it,” he says to skeptical children over and over) who lives in a home for elderly folks and truly believes he is Santa Claus. Many think he is crazy and tried to have him “committed,” but I’m wandering now.
The best part of the story for me is Santa’s response to children and their parents when the kids ask for their most wished for toy. It seems that Kris had done research all through the city department stores and knew which stores had the best deals and the best toys. If a child wanted a particular toy that Macy’s didn’t have, instead of redirecting them to some toy that Macy’s did have (the corporate policy and his charge as an employee), Santa told them where to go for the toy they wanted, e.g., Gimbels, a competitor down the street!