Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielsen: Santa Who?

I join the rest of the world in mourning the recent death of actor Leslie Nielsen. His abundant comedic roles have touched movie-goers for decades with his roles in Airplane! and the Naked Gun series. He has also impressed viewers with his participation in Christmas movies including All I Want for Christmas, Santa Who?, and the TV specials Noël Noël, The Nutcracker and the Mouseking and Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree. I turn my attention here in discussing Santa Who? for it is this role that Nielsen repeats his quintessential comedic trademark as the dead serious funny man.

This TV movie is a comedy about what happens when Santa Claus has amnesia. On a practice run, Santa Claus (played by Nielsen) falls out of his sleigh and drops into TV news reporter Peter Albright’s car! This passenger seems to have amnesia and doesn’t know who he is. Since he’s good with children, Peter gets him a job working in the local mall as their Santa Claus. Meanwhile, Peter is concocting a news story about the amnesiac, hoping for a tearful reunion on Christmas for a highly rated TV special. Will Christmas be canceled if there is no Santa Claus this year?

One of the funny efforts to try to spark Santa’s memory is to expose him to familiar, emotional connections. He’s shown the movies ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,’ ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ ‘The Grinch’ and ‘Rudolph,’ but the trick fails.

The cast includes: Leslie Nielsen as Santa Claus; Steven Eckholdt as Peter Albright; Robyn Lively as girlfriend Claire; and, Max Morrow as Zack, Claire’s son.


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