Saturday, December 23, 2006



In Toobworld, the most prevalent source for Santa Claus sightings are in the commercials, the blipverts. I think it's safe to say that Santa has been invoked more often to sell products than Abe Lincoln and George Washington combined.

My tele-buddy Hugh Davis might argue that all of these Santas are the same St. Nick and that they all belong in the "Ad-verse", his coined name for a TV universe that is made up only of TV commercials. Sometimes, there are blipverts that are too difficult to realistically squeeze into the logical confines of the main Toobworld, but for the most part I'd rather keep them all in either Earth Prime-Time or one of its alternate dimensions, rather than a whole new universe like Skitlandia or the Tooniverse. (Otherwise, we'd lose out on all of the characters and the physics-warping attributes those commercials provide.)

For me, the greatest of all the Santa Clauses in TV commercials exists in the alternate dimension where we'd also find Gumby and Pokey, Davey and Goliath, Moral Orel, and all of the characters from 'Robot Chicken' and those Rankin-Bass puppetoons - the clay/stop motion Toobworld.

It's a classic, truly vintage blipvert that has to be up there in the top ten of holiday advertisements: Santa Claus riding downhill on a Norelco triple-headed razor. (One of my favorite Christmas cards which I've sent out over the last few years shows Santa riding the wrong side of the razor!)

Another one that's been popular the last few years shows Santa Claus and the M&M candy guys finally facing each other and realizing that they each exist. Okay, I know I'm a bit of a simpleton, but watching Santa and Red faint because of their encounter never gets old for me.

So far as I'm concerned, this is another example of the main Toobworld Santa Claus, employing yet another disguise in case he met some humans in the house. He just never expected to find a couple of anthropomorphized candy snacks.

For this holiday TV season, there are three commercials featuring Santa Claus which I'd like to examine....

One of these blipverts is for Loew's, the helpful hardware place and we see Santa Claus outside the store examining his list. You can see what's coming long before it happens, as there's a terribly strong wind swirling all about St. Nick. The wind grabs the list out of Santa's hands and blows it away. Luckily a Loew's employee is there to suggest that Santa give out Loew's gift cards instead.

That guy better be getting a major promotion from the home office!

But then again, I don't think that's the real Santa Claus. I would think that a Spirit - practically a demi-god! - like Santa, who could deliver all of the toys in one night and use magic to get into people's houses, would be able to bend the winds to his will and force the list to come floating back to his hands.

I'm thinking that this was just some ordinary Joe who was a bit eccentric; someone who enjoyed doing his Christmas shopping dressed as Santa Claus, to fully celebrate in keeping with the spirit of the season. And when he lost his list, he substituted with the gift cards which would all be charged to his credit card, like any other guy would do.

The other interpretation of Santa Claus is a little more troubling when it comes to a Toobworld overview. Taken on its own, it should be considered warm, tender, and loving: Santa goes shopping for something special for the little lady, and he gets her diamonds. (My memory is shot nowadays, but I'm thinking this was an ad for Kay Jewelers. It might have been for Zayle's....)

In the end, Santa ans his woman are all cozy in their hideaway, and you know he's going to get some good lovin' that night because of his thoughtful gift. Like I said, all warm and tender, right?


Thanks to a TV movie which starred Angela Lansbury and Charles Durning, Mrs. Claus of the main Toobworld must resemble a certain mystery novelist from Cabot Cove, Maine. And I don't think that the Missus shares the same metamorphing ability as her husband.

So although Santa Claus could be the one for the main Toobworld, as played by Charles Durning (but this time in disguise), that wouldn't be Mrs. Claus. That SHOULDN'T be Mrs. Claus!

If this was the main Toobworld, then it looks like Santa is gifting his mistress with a little holiday bling.

Not the image a company would want to foster in Toobworld, even if they cared that such an interpretation of the TV Universe existed.

So here's my proposal - o'bviously, this is a Santa Claus from an alternate dimension. He could still look like Charles Durning, but just happened to still be wearing the visage he assumed to visit the jewelery store at the mall. As for the woman in the advert, she would be Mrs. Claus, but not the same woman to be found in the main Toobworld. Here, the dimension had a divergence based on the choice Santa made when it came to matters of the heart.

Finally, there's yet another blipvert in which I totally forget what the product is. (This may be more the failing of the advertising company to burn the product's name into my memory than it is of my memory itself.)

Santa and one of his elves have been pulled over to the side of the road by a police officer. When Santa can't produce his driver's license or his registration, the commercial warns us that we'll probably be on our own when it comes to providing presents.

I have no problem with this being the Santa Claus of the main Toobworld; and it provides the jolly old elf with a new adventure (albeit 30 seconds in length!) for 2006, to go along with his cameo appearance at the end of the Christmas episode of 'Las Vegas' this year.

We don't learn who the elf is, but he's definitely not Gumdrop, the serlinguistic elf who addresses us from the big red chair in the blipvert for Radio Shack. I don't know who that actor is, but he isn't bad. I could see him assaying the role of one of Dr. Loveless' descendants someday......

(If I find out the names of the sponsors for these blipverts, I'll come back in and edit this piece.)

As Stan Freberg used to sing, Christmas comes but once a year so you better make hay while the snow is falling. So, in keeping with the spirit of this seasonal post, there's only one way to sign off. Instead of my usual "BCnU!", may I just say....

Buy Buy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that elf in the radio shack commercial was also in the big lots commercials! he is good on those too. look at