Santa Claus is a mythical figure dating back many centuries. His name in the past has been St. Nicholas or Kris Kringle. He originated from Europe, and for Canada and the United States we have a figure in our minds that dates back to 1823 from the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" We have made him into a portly, joyous, white bearded man. He wears a red coat with a white collar and cuffs. He has red pants with white cuffs and black leather belt and boots. He brings gifts to good children on December 24th. He usually gets around on a sleigh powered with eight reindeer.
Now with that in mind in the movies we have seen hundreds of men and women who have played the jolly old elf as he has been called. We have seen the likes of Alan Hale Jr., Sebastian Cabot, Art Carney, Charles Durning, and George Wendt just to name a few. Yes, they have the portly figure down pat, and yes they fit into the clothes but they just don't seem to cover all the bases. We have watched TV shows with voice overs from Stan Francis or Mickey Rooney but hey they are playing cartoon characters.
There is one man who I must say does seem to fit the bill and will always play Santa Claus in most of our minds, and that is Edmund Gwenn from 'Miracle on 34th Street (1947)'. Here is a man who comes across as the joyous, portly lovable Santa Claus. Even when we see him in a business suit he still has the look. We listen to the words spoken in the movie and can close our eyes and actually see this man coming down the chimney with care. There have been others who have remade that movie but none have ever seem to come close. So if you want to see what most feel is Santa Claus on film then go watch the movie.
Now if you really want to see the real Santa Claus get a copy of "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" or as we call it "Twas the night before Christmas". Have the lights on the tree turned on and the stockings hung with care. Have a glass of Egg Nog and have someone read the story to you. Close your eyes and dream of those days when you were a child and Santa Claus was a figure you could count on. You see it's all in your mind and all you have to do is be a child again and he will appear. Merry Christmas.