Blackwolf Interviews Santa, Part 1
Well, Santa, there is so much that I wish to ask you. Quite honestly, I barely know how or where to begin. And yet, I would choose to begin this particular interview by dispensing with the usual stories regarding your origins and early history, as I believe there are many Mortals who are well aware of all of that without having to repeat how your story got started. So instead, I'm going to begin by asking you if you have a favorite version of your origin story --- in the, er, I would guess, in terms of motion pictures.
Well, Master Blackwolf, in all honesty, until the Salkinds came along, there was not any definitive filmed history of my origins. Oh sure, Rankin/Bass did make a stunning attempt when they made Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970); but there was not any one really spectacular adaptation of my backstory, until the Salkinds put it up on the screen. And yet, if I were to choose a specific favorite, I'd have to go with the animated The Story of Santa Claus (1996), with Ed Asner, Betty White and Tim Curry in the voice cast, the no-toy-left-behind gimmick, and --- best of all --- Arnold Shapiro as co-executive producer, along with Phil Roman. Ah, how I miss those magical days of Rescue 911. Shatner was a terrific host, and they had one of the best sign-off taglines I'd ever seen on network TV in those days. In fact, I still remember it: "Mr. Shapiro, step out of the car, please." That was always a hoot! Ho-ho-ho!
During these last few weeks leading up to Christmas itself, there has been, putting it quite bluntly, an attempt on the part of certain individuals to diminsh not only Santa Claus the legend, but also Santa the person. Many times over the centuries, sir, you have reminded all Mortalkind that there still flows within you the blood of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra; and yet now, out of the blue, Pope Benedict XVI makes this statement about how Christmas is being "polluted by consumerism." What's your reaction to that?
Well, while I completely respect the Holy Father's viewpoints, I think that free will has been allowed --- and I use that word with a slight bit of difficulty --- to run rampant across the centuries because culture means many different things to many different people all over the world. You see that whenever there are protests such there were recently, what with the question of what is a Christmas tree and what is a 'holiday' tree. There used to be a time when everyone simply accepted a Christmas tree at face value, and that was basically it. Nowadays, you can no longer tell, and it's not always easy to understand.
After all these centuries, Santa, you are still #1 on Forbes Magazine's 15 Most Powerful Fictional Characters. When I had a look at this year's profile of you, compliments of Forbes.com, the piece turned out to be yet another annoying exploration of the old question "To unionize the Elves or not to unionize the Elves." Have you ever actually dealt with disgruntled Elves; and, if so, have you actually exiled such Elves from the Pole? Because, frankly, I cannot imagine anything negative coming from so positive a Realm as the North Pole.
Boy, everybody wonders about that old story, don't they? Well, the thing is, Master Blackwolf, Elves, like me, are Immortals; yet for some odd reason, some Elves are disgruntled only because they think they've an ax to grind or some such. Somehow, the Elves and I always find new and innovative ways to work things out. As for the idea of me exiling Elves, I don't think it's in my or their best interest to do anything that harsh. The team responsible for the founding of that always hilarious search engine, Google, get it for the simple reason that their Mission Statement is short, and to the point: "Do no evil." All the time I've been on this Earth, I've witnessed too many situations where Mankind has done evil. In a post-9/11 world, we need teachers to remind us of what hope represents for everyone. My only hope, as always, is that my Elves, and everbody else, learn a lot from what these incidents have shown them.
Do you ever feel that the 21st Century has disappointed you, Santa? Have your more recent adventures, publicly and otherwise, given you more of an incentive, to keep up your mission?
Well, to date, no one has honestly disappointed me --- except, well, Madonna.
Madonna? Whatever for?
I recently read all five of her children's books, most notably, the fifth of them, Lotsa de Casha. Now, you'll notice that it's dedicated thusly: "To my husband, who give me lotsa everything." Oh? Why, then, my dear Madonna, have you still not yet made a decent movie in recent years? Oh, yes, I forgot: you're raising your children now, aren't you?
I don't see how Santa can have a problem with Madonna's kids.
Trust me, Dragonmaster --- it is never easy flying the sleigh over the Ritchie household. Mission: Impossible-style security; a huge, burly bouncer with a belly more jellier than mine; a computer voice saying "Handprint identification, please" --- the list is endless!
I see. Well, steering away from sleigh and controversy troubles for a moment, let's, well, go there concerning the Missus. Do you always still look up to her?
Oh, obviously! When the folks at Mpire Management decided that my guys, Santa and the Toymakers, should do our album, You've Gotta Believe in Me, one of the first songs they wanted on there was Blue Christmas. Well, there were negotiations made and phone calls and what have you --- and within days, there I was in a recording studio in Nashville, crooning alongside the Jordanaires, the very same guys who always backed up Elvis! I must tell you, Master Blackwolf, it was one of the more fascinating adventures I've had in all my journeys, and I know they're going to get a lot of presents this season! Ho-ho-ho!
That, I think, should make you happy.
Oh, it does! Ho-ho-ho!
Well, why don't we actually talk about your beloved Mrs. Claus. How has the partnership thrived all these aeons?
Believe me, Master Blackwolf --- she's the yin to my yang, the A to my B, and all the rest of it. I simply couldn't get along without her.
Obviously not. So, which Santa/Mrs. Claus duo do you prefer: Charles Durning and Angela Lansbury in Mrs. Santa Claus, or Charles Durning and Katharine Helmond in Mr. St. Nick ?
Well, really, Master Blackwolf! You haven't given me too much in the way of a choice. But surprisingly, I would prefer Durning-Helmond. I mean, think about: imagine literally being treated like a King: His Majesty, King Nicholas the Twentieth, a/k/a Santa Claus! Now how cool is that, I ask you? That, and the fact that I just love what the good folks at Hallmark Entertainment like to do with me each holiday. The Halmis have always been good to the Missus and I, so we make a note to give boxes of presents to both Robert Halmis ---Sr. and Jr. They're always tops on my nice list!
Anyone else on the ol' nice list?
That's my little secret, Master Blackwolf! Ho-ho-ho!
END OF PART ONE