Tim Allen was once a raunchy stage comedian who gained fame when he dropped the dirty jokes and focused on his life as a husband and father. ABC, which experienced success in the past with comedians like Roseanne, noticed Allen and signed him to a production deal. The result was the highly-rated show “Home Improvement,” which starred Allen as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, a husband and father of three with his own home improvement television show.
Allen then took his newfound stardom to the big screen in “The Santa Clause,” which made him one of the best actors to ever play Santa. The film opens with Scott Calvin (Allen), a busy executive who spends more time worrying about his job than he does his family. After his wife divorced him and remarried, he threw himself even deeper into his work, leaving his son with his stepfather for the holidays.
Calvin experiences a change in his life when his son spends the night with him during the holidays. Though he told his son that Santa doesn’t exist, they both hear something racing across the roof in the middle of the night. Calvin tells his son to stay inside while he rushes to the yard. A man falls from the roof and lands at his feet, and he learns that the man was the real Santa Claus. Calvin picks up a card that fell from the man’s jacket to discover that the man responsible for Santa’s death will become the next Santa.
Allen is at his best when he slowly transforms into the jolly big guy. Though his character refuses to believe that he’s the new Santa, his body belies the truth. He slowly grows a bushy white beard, and he starts gaining weight no matter how much he works out. His own doctor points out that he needs to lay off the Christmas cookies, but he still refuses to believe. As the film continues, Calvin begins to accept his new position and treats the loved ones in his life the way that they deserve.
“The Santa Clause” had a budget of just $22 million, but it made more than $189 million at the box office. This made it one of the biggest grossing Christmas films of all time. Allen jumped back into the role for “The Santa Clause 2,” which took place eight years after the first film. His son Charlie (Eric Lloyd, “Dunston Checks In”) is now a bored teenager who is slightly embarrassed by his dad’s job.
Calvin arrives at school to talk to the principal, Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell, “Running Scared”), after she catches Charlie spraying graffiti on the school. Though they share a connection, he heads back to the North Pole. He learns that unless he finds a wife before Christmas, he will lose his job as Santa. He then heads back to his hometown to convince Carol that Santa exists and that he is Santa before time runs out.
“The Santa Clause 2” made more than $170 million at the box office on a budget of $65 million, leading Disney to create another sequel. Production on “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” began in 2005, and Disney originally wanted to broadcast the film on its television station. The success of the earlier films and Allen deciding he wanted a larger role led to the film finding its way to theaters. It eventually grossed more than $112 million.
Allen is one of the only actors who portrayed Santa in more than one film, and every time he steps onscreen, viewers stop and watch. There is something almost magical about his performance as Santa. He can make viewers relate to the character, and he shows that there is more to the eye when it comes to the iconic character. Few holiday films show the personal life of Santa, instead choosing to focus on the traditional character, his workshop, and his elves. “The Santa Clause” lets Allen show the faults of the man behind the red suit.
One of the great things about these films is that Allen jumps effortlessly between Santa Claus and Scott Calvin, but he brings Santa’s sense of whimsy to every scene. Even when he’s sharing cookies with his ex-wife and her new husband, he still has that classic twinkle in his eye that tells viewers that he loves his life and his job.
Every time that Allen dons the Santa suit, it’s a delightful experience for viewers. Whether he’s trying to bully a stubborn reindeer, joke with his elves, or sweep in to save the day, every one of his scenes jump off the screen and affirm him as one of the most memorable men ever to play Santa.
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