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04 July, 2011

Cambot's Voice by S. J. Martiene: EXPERIMENT 4: SANTA CLAUS

Cambot’s Voice by S. J. Martiene

EXPERIMENT 4:  Santa Claus

Merry Christmas in July!!!!  Can you believe we are HALF-WAY through the year???  I can’t.  Well, this is what happens in my humble abode.  I spend July in Christmas.  In August, I begin thinking about Fall, and Halloween.  It’s utter madness, but that’s how I roll.
This month’s gem, SANTA CLAUS, is a Mexican AWARD-WINNING holiday film.  Yes, this film actually won an award in 1959.  It won BEST INTERNATIONAL FAMILY FILM at the San Francisco International Film Festival.  Somewhere, irony is laughing its butt off at that one.  It stars no one you’ve heard of unless you are a connoisseur of Mexican films and most of the cast lacked character names.  The original runtime was over 90 minutes, so I imagine there must have been some drivel cut out so the host segments could be worked in for the approximate one hour and thirty-some minutes that is ran on Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel.  Whatever they did, the movie is a mess.  Yet, with the skewering it gets here, SANTA CLAUS has become a household tradition.  Sit back, turn up the A/C, and make some cocoa, and enjoy this holiday wonder from south of the border—1959’s SANTA CLAUS.


Cast overview, first billed only:
José Elías Moreno
Cesáreo Quezadas 'Pulgarcito'
José Luis Aguirre 'Trotsky'
El Diablo (as José Luis Aguirre 'Trosky')
Armando Arriola
El mago Merlín (as Armando Arriola 'Arriolita')
Lupita Quezadas
La niña pobre (as Lupita)
Antonio Díaz Conde hijo
El Niño Rico (Billy)
Nora Veryán
Madre de Lupita
Polo Ortín
Manuel Calvo
José Carlos Méndez
Niño (as niño J. Carlos Méndez)
Jesús Brook
Niño (as niño Jesús Brook)
Queta Lavat
Ángel Di Stefani
Vulcano - The Blacksmith (as Ángel D'Stefani)
Guillermo Bravo Sosa
Graciela Lara

Mike and The Bots ATTEMPT a caroling session … chaos ensues.  Mike smashes Tom’s head who in turn spills a Thermos of hot cocoa on Crow, and Gypsy screams.  The Mads exchange gifts, and TV’s Frank’s head is shaved to give Dr. Forester a gift. The Dr. reciprocates with a savings bond … of his own. Mike and The Bots exchange their gifts with the best one of the bunch being Gypsy’s crocheted sweater to Mike with the word “JOIKE” emblazoned across the front.  Because she started it when the “first guy” was there and …
The introduction is pretty hilarious with a repetitive and annoying JINGLE BELL tune.  “Santa Claus vs. The Aztec Mummy” (Crow) “Do you think it’s a good idea to jingle ALL the way?” (Servo) “It’s a free trade Christmas” (Crow) “Alright Christmas has gone to Mexico for Spring Break” (Mike) And then all of the gang go into the “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…” song.  “Well, apparently they ARE committed to jingling ALL the way” (Crow) It is only after this nearly EIGHT minute intro that the movie finally starts with a narrator and Santa straightening his Nativity scene.  “Action Jesus!  Manger sold separately” (Crow) Then the musical number starts…and it’s awful.  If it wasn’t for the riffing, you would grab the nearest sharp object and poke your eyes out.  Thankfully, after about five minutes, it’s over.  Then, we get introduced to The Devil (Pitch) “He may be the devil, but he sure knows how to fill his day” (Crow) Lupita, “She is aggressively cute” (Servo) The rich boy (who’s neglected by his parents), and The Bad Boys.   We also see Santa’s surveillance tools The EarScope, The Teletalker, The Cosmic Telescope, and The Master Eye. “Santa’s tendrils reach far and wide, there is no hiding from the K.L.A.U.S. Organization” (Mike) and “Is this weird enough for ya, folks?  How does this make you feel about Santa?” (Mike) 

The group, SANTA KLAWS performs in “The Warrior of Christmas”.  The song makes no sense, but The Mads liked it (and confidentially, so do I).


Santa oversees Lupita and her Mother shopping.  Lupita has a run-in with Pitch, who tries to get her to steal. I love this bit.  I crack up when the guys do little kids voices and voices of animals; I don’t know why; it is just hilarious.  Lupita tries to steal a doll (with Pitch’s help).  “Do I need accessories too?”  (Servo)  Lupita eventually resists.  Santa is happy and then he wants to see the little rich boy’s dream (on the Dreamscope).  “A dream is a wish that the heart makes” “...or something like that” (Crow)
Santa Claus looks in on Lupita’s dream and gazes out...“Santa...Santa, HEY! KRINGLE, SNAP OUT OF IT!!” (Crow)  Pitch interferes with this.  “Better get on the horn with God now that Satan is involved” (Servo).
Santa looks in on Bad Boys who are planning to overthrow Santa’s regime.  “They’re onto me, into the escape pod” (Servo)   Back to rich boy and other little kids writing fake letters, with horrible fake writing.  “Please, Mr. Ruth, hit a home run for me” (Servo) “My office, instructed to wire you $25,000 dollars - stop.  Hee haw!” (Crow)   Scene in Post Office with all the letters…and all of them magically go to him.  “My chain letter scam is working!”  (Mike)  He reads through some of the letters; one listing loads of military arsenal “Whoa, it’s from Qaddafi!”  (Crow)

The Bots bring the Family Nelson to Mike...umm...one of the 700 OTHER Nelsons in the Green Bay phonebook.  There is one problem here, Mike isn’t from Green Bay. 

Santa gets ready leave.  Another bad song is sung.  “When Santa laughs the whole world shakes its head” (Crow)   And he’s off.  He has a “near miss” with the moon.  The rich boy’s parents go off and leave him again.  The bad boys have a scheme to kidnap Santa and take all the toys. “Isn’t kidnapping Santa a Federal offense?” (Servo)  Lupita has questions…many, many questions.  Mainly, why hasn’t he brought her any dollies?  We go back to Santa battling cloudy conditions, Pitch, and his next stop—Mexico City!  Pitch intends to disrupt everything.  This Santa has a Parasol, rose, and magic dust.    Santa smells sulpher in the air, but uses his parasol to climb down...  Pitch revels in the trouble he’s causing, but tends to dance and prance around quite a bit. “He wears pantaloons more than he should” (Mike) Santa fights back with toys.  “Santa was filmed on location with the the men and women of Broward County, Fl” (Servo)   Pitch tries to foil another house.   Santa gives special powder to the rich kid so he can see Santa as he is.  The kid craves love and his parents so Santa disguises himself as a bartender/waiter and hauls his parents back home.  “Booze helps parents care for their children” (Mike) Pitch works on The Bad Boys “So Satan can only get three little boys to follow him?”  (Crow)  “Well, it’s probably a pyramid scheme so these kids get in the ground floor“(Mike) “I see” (Crow) Satan chastises boys when they muff up the plan. 
One of the BEST songs of the series’ run is this classic.  It is an OVERLY-political correct tune called MERRY CHRISTMAS, IF THAT’S OKAY?  It is readily available on YouTube.  The last line says it all:  “Christmas comes just once a year so for a few days for crying out loud, can’t we all just get along?”  Indeed.

Pitch tries to steal the sleigh, but cannot so he steals the magic powder and the rose that makes Santa disappear. “Good thing Santa uses The Club” (Mike) “Santa’s mounting up procedure don’t make for good cinema” (Servo) “It’s like watching Hoss mount up” (Mike) Santa goes to another area of Mexico City not knowing he cannot disappear.  Pitch starts wreaking havoc with everyone who is nestled and snug in their beds.  Santa finally realizes he is out of magic powder and yells for Merlin to get more magic powder…or more magic flowers…or…just out of the picture (at this point, it really gets hectic).   We switch briefly to Lupita waking up from a dream asking her Mother if poor people get presents.  Let’s just say bad editing is    Mr. Merlin (and I use the term “Mr.” loosely) shows up to help frantic Santa. “Snap it up Leon Russell!” (Servo)  Santa is pleading.  The Police are starting to show up. “Indiana wants me, Lord I can’t go back there” (Mike) “Well, he was here alright, this is definitely Santa scat” (Crow) Santa escapes and heads to Lupita’s house.  Lupita’s Dad comes home with no job.  Lupita wakes up and starts mumbling incoherently about being happy, talking to Santa, and a doll on the patio.  “Allow me to illustrate my point for you, excuse me” (Servo) “That am not a doll, that’s a sister!”  (Crow)  Santa has brought joy to the earth again.  “Oh, forgot France, OH WELL!”  (Mike)

Mike is singing I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, lamenting that there is no change of seasons on the SOL.  Gypsy comes in frantically.  IT’S SNOWING!!!  “It’s a Christmas miracle,” Gypsy says.  “It looks like a wet miracle AND I’M NOT SHOVELING IT!!”  Crow is not amused.  Mike and the Bots claim a Snow Day and are going outside to build a snow fort.  The Mads have a conversation with Pitch (Paul Chaplin) and Santa Claus (Kevin Murphy) breaks in to have a “Full-tilt Battle between Pure Evil and Santy Claus” (Dr. Forrester)   “I’m here to eat candy canes and kick ass and I’m all out of candy canes!” (Santa)
I have to say I probably watch this one several times a year; possibly a dozen.  I never tire of it and the riffs are STILL hilarious to me.  It is available on Netflix instant stream so watch it over and over like me and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!..........IF THAT’S OKAY.

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