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December 06, 1959 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-12-06

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lollywood Boasts Own Santa;
nonymous Donor Gives Cash

St. Nicholas Reigns in Toy Stores

Small Towns, New York
Prepare for Festivities

HOLLYWOOD (/)-- Hollywood,
here everything is supposed to
make-believe, has a real, live
anta Claus who has brought
bristmas cheer to thousands of
ersons throughout the country.
He has another name and an-
her identity, but to those start-
d persons who find checks signed
Santa Caus" in their mail boxes
ach Christmas he's the genuine
rticle, right down to the last
hisker and the last jolly laugh.
For the 10 years during which
e has conducted his one-man
ift-giving campaign Hollywood's
anta has zealously guarded the
ecret of his identity. A few years
go, however, a writer tracked him
own and found behind the white
eard and the rumpled red suit a
im, youngish radio executive with
big salary and a novel idea of
ow it should be spent.
Gets Idea'
He got the idea back in 1947
rhen he was staying at a hotel
nd by mistake received a tele-
hone cah' intended for a famous
iovie actor in another room. The
aller was a woman who said her
aughter was dying and had made
last wish for a puppy. She had
een one that cost $25. Would he
ive her the money?
He did, and the child recovered.
"That really started me think-
ng," he recalled later. "I saw for
he first time how much good you
ould do with a few well-placed

In the decade since then, Santa
has sent checks ranging from $20
to $5g0 to nearly 3,000 persons,
most of them what he calls "pres-
sure cases."
"They're people with specific
needs," he says. "When you take
care of these needs, you put them
back in operating condition."
And so each year the checks go
out, usually accompanied by a
note specifying what the money is
for-a wheelchair for a cripple, a
typewriter for an invalid who
wants to be a writer, a train ticket
to reunite families.
Friends Help
He has friends in all parts of the
country helping him find the most
deserving cases. And he has set up
a corporation to handle the distri-
bution of funds, with "Santa
Claus" as the official check signer.
Besides doing good with his
dollars, he has another major aim
-trying to get others to follow
his lead. With each check goes a
letter telling of the joy of giving
which the recipient is asked to
copy and send to "a few outstand-
ing men with big hearts in your
town." '
That's an apt description of
Hollywood's Santa - an outstand-
ing man with a big heart.
"People might misunderstand if
I used my own name," he said
once in explaining his reluctance
to disclose his identity. "In this
town they'd think it was all a
publicity stunt."

SANTA, BABY, A '59 TOY CONVERTIBLE-Children waiting in line in a large Detroit department store to see Santa were chewing
their nails, the handles of their mothers' handbags, and the red velvet cord that restrains the crowd. The room was noisy, but, para-
doxically, a hushed expectancy filled the air as children carefully thought over gifts to request when they reached the Regal Lap.
Mothers interrupted the boredom of waiting for hours on end in order to wipe dripping noses, chase wandering tots, and break up
family fights.

Carols In the air, brightly deco-
rated pine trees, and gaily wrap-
ped packages-these are the tan-
gible signs of Christmas.
They are the same everywhere.
One may find them just as readily
in a small community as in New
,York City itself.
Of course, things are done on a
larger scale in New York; but that
is only natural because there are
more people to do them.
The tree in Rockefeller Center
is and should be bigger than the
tree in a small town city park,
because it must represent Christ-
mas to more people.
More Decorations
In New York there are more
things to decorate and more deco-
rations. Their parades are longer
and more elaborate. Their throngs
of last-minute shoppers are larger
and more frantic. All their Christ-
mas celebrations are greater or
bigger or more exciting, because
there are more people celebrating.
But for the individual, Christ-
mas involves the same preparation
and the same rituals whether he
lives in a small town or in the
heart of New Ycrk City. Everyone
everywhere follows similar cus-
In the days preceding Christmas
members of every family ambi-
tiously decorate their home. First
comes the Christmas tree. Then
they bedeck the mantels, coffee
tables, and window ledges with
scenes of the Holy Child or of
Santa and his reindeer.
Transform Interiors
After they have transformed the
inside of their home into a Christ-
mas wonderland, they then pro-
ceed to do the sanie on the out-
side. Up on the door goes the
Through all the evergreen trees
(and sometimes even through the
bare limbs of the deciduous trees,
if the residents become very en-
thusiastic), they twine strings of
multi-colored lights. Then one
night they go for a drive to see

how everyone else has decorated
his home, and how it compares
with theirs
Each year they hunt out old
address books and from them
make out lists of people who really
should receive Christmas cards.
It takes at least a whole evening
to sign all the cards, address all
the envelopes, and paste a stamp
on each.
Seems Chore
At the time it seems to be a
horrid chore, but it is a Christmas
custom, and it would be breaking
a strong tradition not to do it.
Christmas shopping is probably
the most frustrating part of the
preparation for the holiday. Each
shopper is plagued by endless
problems: Did Aunt Martha say
she preferred green or blue? Now
if Uncle George is this tall, what
size would he take? The store's
all sold out; what am I to do?
Finally he finds a suitable gift
for each person on his shopping
list. He takes the presents home
and hides them in all sorts of odd
places. (He should realize that
they are discovered by the 'other,
members of his family long before
December 25; but, of course he
does not.) The surprised but
pleased look upon the faces of all
those to whom he gives gifts
makes all this effort seem worth-
Explain Santas


Special to The Daily
DETROIT - Santa Claus -the
only man with a beard who isn't
termed a beatnik - is reigning
over the toy departments of thou-
sands of stores across. the country.
Someday, visit the "Santa's
Starland" of any large depart-
ment store. Watch the line as it
winds its way slowly through
There are the mothers who
wait wearily for hours and begin
to doubt the merits of "together-
ness" while their young offspring
meticulously shred (with their
teeth) the red velvet cord that re-
strains the crowd.
Listen to the last-minute in-

structions of that mother
two sons approach the.
Bobbie Asks

as her

"Bobbie, you ask for the scoot-
er, and Tommy, you ask for the
Bobbie and Tommy climb into
the Exalted Lap.
"What would you two like for
Christmas?" Santa asks, smiling,
because the feathers of his pad-
ding are tickling his stomach.
Tommy pipes up first, "I wanna.
"No," screeches Bobbie. "I want,
the scooter. You want the wagon."
"But I don'. wanna wagon,"
Tommy returns the screech.

The two grapple to the ground,
forcing Santa Claus to get up and
separate them. He attempts to
pacify them with his gift story-
book and then pats them gently
on their . . ,way.
Look at the next harassed
mother, setting her daughter,
noisily sucking a lemon lollipop,
on Santa's knees.
"I wanna doll that (slurp) cries,
and a kitchen (smack) set, and a
red (lick) dress.
"And do you want my sucker?"
she asks, offering Santa a drip-
ping yellow lump.
Notice how Santa accepts the
gift with great aplomb, and calm-
ly pushes the sticky mass through

his beard to his mouth. And just
swallow hard, and praise him for
service beyond the call of duty.
Small Boy Comes
Watch the little boy who is
coming now, a trifle defiant as he
swaggers up to Santa Claus. He
refuses to sit on Santa's lap, and
instead leans on Santa's knee,.
arms crossed, a miniature imita-
tion of the Angry Young Man.
He asks for only one thing -- a
ray gun that really works. Then
Santa asks him if he will be leav-
ing candy under the tree on
Christmas Eve for Santa and his
. The boy eyes him arrogantly.
"Whaddya mean, candy? On
Christmas Eve, I have to drink
milk. And what's good enough for
me is good enough for you."


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One difficulty common to every-
one at Christmastime is explain-
ing to little children why there
are so many men who look like
Santa Claus. Every child knows
there is only one Santa Claus, but
y'et there seems to be one on
every street corner and in every
department store.
This causes him to ask many
embarrassing questions. Adults
must resort to an explanation such
as, "They are all Santa's helpers.
The real Santa Claus is at the
North Pole busily making the toys
that he will bring to you on
Christmas Eve."
After all, much of Christmas is
for little children.
Associate Parties
Parties of all sorts have come
to be associated with the Christ-
mas season. These vary from
friends quietly gathering in their
homes for dinner to the huge
Christmas balls.
Young people often gather in
small groups to go caroling. After
several hours of singing the fa-
miliar Christmas songs and hymns
to their friends and neighbors,
they return to a home and have
hot chocolate (with a marshmal-
low in it) and cookies. They are
cold, excited, and happy.
Finally the long-awaited day
arrives. Everyone rises early be-
cause they are too excited to sleep.
Presents are opened and carefully
examined There are many ooh's
and ah's and thank-you-so-much's
floating through the air.
Al Dress Up
Everyone dresses in their holiday
finery, and then families set off to
grandmother's for dinner. Turkey
with cranberry sauce (this year?)
and innumerable kinds of salads,
vegetables, relishes, and desserts
will be served.
At the end of the day everyone
is tired and happy.
These are the visible signs of
Christmas, and they may be found
in communities of all sizes
throughout America. Through
these decorations, celebrations,
and rituals, people express the joy
and hope which the Christmas sea-
son arouses in the hearts of men.

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