31 August 2007 | summamaxima
Not the Real Santa Claus
Unlike Edmund Gwenn's portrayal of Kris Kringle on Macy's parade float, Monte Woolleys's Santa Claus was like the alcoholic one Kris replaced at the start of "Miracle on 34th Street". In this film, "Life Begins at Eight-thirty" (that's curtain time for old-time stage professionals) Monte's Thespian character, Madden Thomas, does a between-jobs gig as Department Store Santa, who secretly sips his much-needed "courage", smuggled in from the neighborhood saloon, through a hose from hot water bottle concealed behind his beard. When an uppity customer gasps indignantly upon hearing this Santa letting out a long loud belch, Monte leans down toward her, demanding sarcastically, "What did you expect madame -- chimes?"