Friday, December 12, 2008

Very Early Xmas Greetings!!!

Just found this truly wonderful 1898 film 'Santa Claus' by George Albert Smith (1864-1959) - at

Not great just cos it's so old but cos of its innovative film techniques and storyboard.

It begins with two children, a boy and a girl, eagerly and expectantly looking up a chimney in their bedroom.

A white-bonneted and aproned maid comes to put them to bed. She tucks them in with great care, and turns out the gas light.

Within this darkened scene, an inset disc appears, showing the roof. Flurries of snow ... and then Santa's arrival, with a sack of presents and a Xmas tree on his back. He climbs down the brick chimney.

To appear a moment later in the children's bedroom.

Leaving the tree on the floor, he fills the Xmas stockings at the end of their bed with presents: two sacks for each child! I think it's a doll going into the first two.

Then he picks up his tree, waves ... and, in a flash, disappears!

The children wake immediately and, like pigs searching for truffles, feverishly route through their stockings.

Really charming. Really!

So have a good Christmas guys, and a Happy New Year.

And if you don't, I'll wanna know why!!!


  1. This was great. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! We had our first snow here in 20 years. Remember that I live in the deep south. It was enough to build snow men but quickly disappeared in the afternoon sun. I wanted to put a large carrot in the inapproiate place but knew the neighbors wouldn't appreciate it. Take care,

  2. hey wit

    i've heard from a fruit seller (or was it a vegetarian that THAT is the very right place for the carroot (correct spelling!!!)

    the weather is a bit chaotic here too - summer and it rained like mad yesterday and was cold - climate change is here ... for the doubters

    you have a great season!

    and take care too

    be in touch


  3. thats almost a century year old film

    Merry Xmas to u too.
    I have no snow here in sunny singapore, prolly you blog some snow to let me see when you're free :D

    Thanks !

  4. hey harmony

    good to hear from you and thanks for the season's greetings!

    will organize snow and things - we both need it going into summer



  5. Hi Nick,
    The little film was wonderful. Thank you and best of the season to you. We are having our first bit of winter in Victoria, B.C. Your site is one of my favorites.
    Cheers, DD

  6. hey DD

    great to hear from you

    a more personal best wishes for the season!

    we're into summer here - but yesterday it was raining and cold ... and today hot and sunny!

    the film so sweetly unfolds - does what all good footage should do - holds your attention - till the very end ... when you almost breath out!

  7. ope yo have a safe and wonderful Christmas as well. hope your stockingis full of treats and great gifts. The film was cute.

  8. And a very merry early Christmas to you Nick! Is that Benares (I know its proper name is Va..something but I am the product of an unenlightened imperialist system and of Kurt Weill/Brecht's profane "Benares Song", so...) I see you in your topmost?

    Also: Loved the film! So sweet and innocent. Almost beyond belief considering 1898 was no more sweet and innocent than *nowadays*(did I offer to get you the Ute Lemper&Ruthie Henshall version of it? I haven't? What can I be thinking, you know it already and agree with me that it rocks, jazzes or the equivalent, right?).

    Hope all is well wherever in the world you are and by the look of things you may even be flirting with a white Christmas in early summer if you're where you reside... Or do I mean me, myself in early winter here- yet to begin? I think both apply, the weather has gone crazy and humankind in general (but MANkind mostly, sadly) is to blame.

    Happy Hols & TC!
    from Peter in Furry-Portugal(I wish...)

  9. Nick - Love the new banner photo.

    Have a great holiday season.

    Alan down in Florida

  10. hey ray's cowboy

    loved the film too - not to pompous and serious about itself

    hope your xmas stocking is stocked with goodies too - i predict one present a bit too big for the sack - its muscular hairy leg will be sticking out!

    have a good one


  11. hey pete

    yep benares - arrived and fell in love with the place, managing to get great accommodation just above the ghats - the sun hotel. it had a balcony and you could watch the sun go down over the ganges - and do battle with the monkeys who would try to take ... just anything you left lying about

    the film is one of those 'forgotten treasures'. reading your comment, i had a vision of ute lemper coming down the chimney and how different it would be! maybe she'd catch the children, and slowly roast them over a big open fire, singing gleefully all the while .. and basting them from time to time! with a pecan sherry marinade.

    (all with the lemper & henshall version in mind!)

    the white xmas here is the blinding aussi sun and more of it - i am a creature of the heat and shrilled in winter - so expansive right now!

    biggest hugs (it's xmas and they grow at this time of the year) and have great hols - tell me how they go - if you are not totally caught up in them


  12. hey alan

    yep, one of my fav travel pics - love that the focus is just with the saris and only a few people and the perspective down the ganges for scale.

    enjoy xmas and all it brings