Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘The Santa Clause’: Why the Holiday Classic Was a Ho-ho-horror to Make

‘The Santa Clause’: Why the Holiday Classic Was a Ho-ho-horror to Make

People gather close to their television sets and get ready to watch Christmas movie favorites like Tim Allen‘s The Santa Clause.

This movie, which came out in 1994, features Allen as Scott Calvin. Scott’s a divorced father who is working to connect with his son, Charlie. It turns into Christmas Eve, which means Charlie is looking forward to Santa Claus visiting. Tragedy, though, happens when Scott ends up accidentally killing Santa Claus. Magically, though, Scott turns into Santa himself. It is quite a warm story between these two, drawing in people year after year.

Some who see this movie every year may not know some of the backstory around The Santa Clause. At first, the initial script for this movie was rather dark. Also, there were a lot of mature jokes in the script, too. Comedians Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick came up with this basic idea: “What would happen if you killed Santa Claus and had to replace him?”

These guys’ original script idea had a lot in comparison with a Christmas action picture, Violent Night. Outlaw Pictures picked up the script yet sent back several notes around to the writers, Collider reports. “They gave us a list of notes. We thought notes were like a checklist, so we went through the screenplay, and we put every note they gave us in there,” Rudnick said in an interview with Mental Floss. “That script was horrible,” Benvenuti said.

‘The Santa Clause’ Finds Safe Landing

Outlaw Pictures then partnered with the Walt Disney Company to get the movie made. Disney put it out under its Hollywood Pictures division, one known to handle more mature titled for Disney. That studio wasn’t happy with the way things sat, so more rewrites were done.

With this being taken care of, attention then turned toward getting a leading man as the movie’s actor. Chevy Chase, Tom Selleck, and Tom Hanks were all considered, but that didn’t work out. Allen’s name came up but Disney had a “no felonies policy” in place. Well, Allen showed a keen interest in playing Scott. He was looking for a way to break into movies. Disney saw how much success Allen was having with Home Improvement and changed their minds.

To get the script right for Allen, the actor-comedian invited Benvenuti and Rudnick to join him on the road. That way, they could follow Allen around and get “a feel” for him before writing the script.

Allen, though, had his issues with the Santa suit. When they were filming in Toronto in 1994, Allen’s costume stuck to him. He had prosthetics on his face and in his suit. It was very hot. But he began developing blisters, bad enough that they caused skin irritation.

Prosthetics Proved To Be Problematic

Wearing the big red suit, the prosthetics rubbed against his skin. He was in makeup for 3-4 hours every day. Then, it all had to be taken off…only to be put back on the next morning. Allen’s mental health started going off the rails, leading to a bad situation. He would end up getting into shouting matches with the movie’s director, walking off the set. With all that drama going on, The Santa Clause was finally finished.

It was a smash hit at the box office, leading to two sequels and The Santa Clauses on Disney+. Allen has played Clause in every movie and TV show.