Sunday, December 20, 2009

A weird, scary Santa

Chicago has a wealth of wonderful traditions at this time of year. We were lucky enough to participate in one of them last night. But Christmas in Chicago also means the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the Christkindlmarket Chicago in Daley Plaza, and of course, the window displays at the former Marshall Field store on State Street.

But there is one tradition I just don't understand: the affinity for "Hardrock, Coco and Joe," a black-and-white, stop-motion animated Christmas special that began airing in the 1950s on WGN-TV.

I saw it between movies at the Music Box Theatre last night. I had only seen it one other time, but Kristin told me local car dealerships distribute a free DVD of it each Christmas season. It lasts around three minutes, but the creepy Santa sticks with you for much longer.

Take a look for yourself below. Then ask who wouldn't be forever scarred by this version of Santa Claus and his horrific, child-eating teeth? (Check out the 50-second mark and tell me I'm wrong about those teeth.)

I don't get it. Maybe some long-time Chicagoans can help explain its appeal.

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