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With its heartwarming tale of a cynical executive becoming a loving father and father Christmas, The Santa Clause was a massive holiday hit in 1994. With the intervening decades, its legacy has only grown, upgrading the Disney comedy to a Christmas classic. Revisit the magic and test your Santa Clause knowledge with the fun facts below.
- The Santa Clause was the first film in an ongoing collaboration. Director John Pasquin first worked with Tim Allen, when the former helmed the pilot of the latter’s sitcom Home Improvement. After this movie, Pasquin directed such Allen vehicles as Jungle 2 Jungle, Joe Somebody and the television series Last Man Standing.
- November of 1994 was a high point for Tim Allen. In the same week The Santa Clause was #1 at the box office, Home Improvement was America’s #1 rated TV show, and Allen’s book, Don’t Stand To Close to the Naked Man, was #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list.
- There’s a nod to Home Improvement in Santa’s workshop. Milling about, Allen picks up a tool belt, holds it to his waist for a moment, reminding audiences of his tool-obsessed TV character Tim Taylor. Then shakes his head before setting it back down. His future onscreen bride repeats the gag in the sequel.
- Home Improvement’s Jimmy Labriola has a brief cameo. On the series, he was Tim’s pal Benny Baroni. In The Santa Clause he pops up as a truck driver. He’d later appear in Allen’s Joe Somebody as a bookie.
- Allen earned two MTV Movie Award nods for this role. The TV star scored a nod for Best Breakthrough Performance and Best Comedic Performance. He lost the first to Kirsten Dunst (Interview with a Vampire) and the second to Jim Carrey (Dumb & Dumber).
- The director had a cameo. Pasquin is billed as Santa #6.
- The role Scott Calvin/Santa Claus was originally written for Bill Murray, probably because of his memorable turn as holiday humbugger turned Christmas icon in Scrooged.
- Chevy Chase was offered the lead role. But scheduling conflicts urged producers to consider Tim Allen.
- There’s a Mickey hidden in the moon, when Scott and his son ride the sleigh through the sky. Hiding silhouettes of Mickey’s iconic head has been a long-held practice in Disney production, even in its parks.
- 1-800-Spank-Me was more than a gag. It’s doubtful Disney realized it, but this phone number mentioned in the movie connected to a real phone sex line. This caused a minor scandal when The Santa Clause hit home video in 1997. The line has subsequently been cut from future releases, including DVD.
- Ontario stood in for Illinois and the North Pole. Though The Santa Clause is set in the fictional town of Lakeside, Illinois, the film was shot in Oakville, a suburb outside of Toronto. The production also made use of the Toronto Zoo and its reindeer.
- The Santa Clause spawned two sequels. After the critical and box office success of the 1994 film, The Santa Clause 2 hit in 2002, and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause came in 2006.
- Peter Boyle appeared in each of the three films. Playing Mr. Whittle and Father Time, Boyle was one of only five lead actors who appeared in the entire trilogy. The others are Tim Allen (naturally), Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, and Wendy Crewson.
- David Krumholtz had to sit out The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. The film’s production conflicted with the shooting schedule for his TV crime-drama Numb3rs.
- The Santa Clause 2 was the most expensive in the franchise. With a budget of $65 million, the sequel cost nearly three times what the first film did to make it. Filmmakers scaled back considerably with the third film. At $12 million, it was the least expensive of the trilogy.
- The Santa Clause was the most popular of the three. Not only did the first film pull in more at the box office than its predecessors, but it also earned the warmest reviews.
- A different director was brought in for Santa Clause 2 & 3. Pasquin moved on, and long-time TV director Michael Lembeck stepped up, making his feature directorial debut.
- Tim Allen went on to become part of another, even bigger Disney comedy-adventure trilogy. 1995 saw the debut of Toy Story, and animated film that had the comedian lend his voice to a spaceman toy known as Buzz Lightyear. He reprised the role in 1999’s Toy Story 2 and 2010’s Toy Story 3.
- Toy Santa and Buzz share a catchphrase. They both declare, “You are a sad strange little man.”
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