When one hears that a Christmas movie involves ending Santa Claus, odds are, it is doomed from the start. However, The Santa Clause surprised perhaps everyone when it became a box office smash. All told, the first movie was a success; grossing nearly $145 million in the U.S. and spawning two sequels. Actually, the first, second, and third movies all rank in the top 10 highest grossing Christmas movies of all time.
Although, some might argue the franchise should have quit while it was ahead. Due to the first movie’s popularity and critical acclaim — it received a 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — the two others didn’t do as well; earning 55 percent and 17 percent, respectively. However, what perhaps made people keep coming back to the films was Tim Allen. Critics were drawn to his effortless humor in the films, comedic timing, and witty jabs.
It seems like only yesterday that the first film hit theaters, but in reality, the film celebrated its 24 year anniversary in October. The last movie itself is 12 years old. The movies as a whole are entertaining enough on their own, but what is also compelling is what went into filming the series. From casting, to easter eggs, to Tim Allen’s history, the behind-the-scenes facts will intrigue and surprise you almost like the films’ wild success.
To blow your mind, here are 20 Things Fans Didn’t Know About Tim Allen’s Santa Clause Movies.
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20 Many actors were up for the role of Scott Calvin
Although it is hard to imagine any other actor playing Scott Calvin, the role was never actually destined for Tim Allen. According to IMDb, the iconic role was originally written for funnyman Bill Murray. However, due to Murray’s opinion that role didn’t suit his humor, he declined the role
After Murray turned down the opportunity, the role was then offered to his former SNL castmate, Chevy Chase. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts forced him to also decline the role. In actuality, a long list of famous faces were on the short list of possible actors to play Scott/Santa. A few of the other stars to grace the list were Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Jeff Bridges, and Michael Keaton.
19 First Lead Role for Tim Allen
It seems as if Allen has been in the industry for a long time, but The Santa Clause was his debut role in a feature film. At the time, Allen was America’s handyman on Home Improvement. He had also tried his hand on the comedy circuit before taking up acting.
Many critics on Rotten Tomatoes were pleasantly surprised with Allen’s debut role. “It’s easy to see why his show is a ratings smash,” The Seattle Times reported. “There’s an effortless quality to his humor, but it’s also got a quietly urgent edge to it.” It’s no doubt that this film launched Allen’s career on the big screen. He would go on to star in each sequel and land the role of Buzz Lightyear in three Toy Story films.
18 Familiar Face
Everyone will remember Paige Tamada as Judy the Elf. What made her so memorable was her ability to keep up with Allen’s sense of humor.
However, the two had met even before The Santa Clause was even a thought. Tamada had a small part on a Home Improvement in 1993. The young actress also held small parts on many 90’s sit-coms like Seinfeld and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Ultimately, Tamada ended up stepping out of the limelight in 1999, but fans of The Santa Clause will always remember her.
17 An Exception Was Made for Allen
Disney is sometimes strict when hiring actors for its films. Due to Allen having a record, he almost lost out on the role of Scott Calvin. Imagine having these movies without Tim Allen in the lead role? It seems impossible to think of now.
However, Disney made an exception for the actor and let him star in the movie. Obviously, Allen’s past did not turn audiences away from going to the theaters. His past also did not hinder his career either. Allen would star in four Disney movies throughout his career, and there is still no stopping him.
16 Disney in Hot Water
While Disney did not take any heat for Allen’s past, they did receive flack for another element of the film. According to IMDb, in older releases of the first film, Scott’s character makes a suggestive and sarcastic comment to Neal including a 1-800 number. Surprisingly, the number did not immediately cause a stir.
Three years after the movie’s release, Disney started receiving many complaints from angry parents after their children had accrued phone bills as a result of calling the number. Disney decided to cut the line for future releases.
15 Hidden Mickeys
Disney is known for its ability to hide the iconic image of the Mickey Mouse ears throughout its films. The Santa Clause is no different.
The classic shape of the ears appears multiple times in each of the three films. In the first movie, Mickey can be seen on the moon while Scott and Charlie are leaving the North Pole in the sleigh. In The Santa Clause 2, a hidden Minnie doll is placed in the corner of the screen. Keeping true to Disney style, the hidden Mickeys appear so quickly, that if you blink, you might miss them.
14 Hidden Elves
Much like the hidden Mickeys, there are also multiple occasions where elves appear in the film before Scott finds out he is Santa Claus, IMDb reports.
If you look closely, the first elf can be seen in the very beginning of the movie, walking away from a window. The mythical creatures are also spotted when Scott and Charlie visit Denny’s. All told, IMDb found six times that elves make an appearance before there is even any knowledge of Santa Claus. Seriously, go back and rewatch the movie so you can find them!
13 Tim Allen’s Dance
Allen is not necessarily known for his improvisational skills, or dance skill for that matter. However, during the montage in the first film before Santa’s second Christmas Eve, Allen is seen dancing.
This was totally improvised and done in one take. Director John Pasquin thought it was so good that they decided to keep it in the film, and a good thing too because it has become one of the most iconic scenes from the film. One of the best parts of having someone like Tim Allen do the part is that anything he does always turn out great thanks to the improv he gives to his films.
12 Missing a Character
In the first two movies, audiences fell in love with Bernard the Elf, played by David Krumholtz. The Santa Clause actually served as one of the actor’s first roles in a feature film.
But, Bernard was noticeably absent from the third film. Back in 2006, when the third movie was filming Krumholtz had a lead role on the TV show Numb3rs. Because of scheduling conflicts he, unfortunately, could not appear in the third installment. Krumholtz went on to have a very successful career otherwise. Since ending his role as Bernard, he starred in hit films like 10 Things I Hate About You and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, along with numbers roles on TV shows.
11 Tim Allen and Martin Short Performed Together Before
Who could forget Martin Short’s performance as Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Believe it or not, this was not the first time Allen and Short joined comedic forces.
The two first starred in Jungle 2 Jungle nearly 10 years before in 1997. Allen played Michael Cromwell, who discovers he has a teenage son. Michael’s estranged son ends up falling in love with Short’s character’s daughter. While the pair worked great together in the series’ first installment, the film still did not live up to the expectations put forth by the first movie, and ultimately flopped.
10 The Flim’s Original Title
The movie everyone knows and loves was originally meant to be completely different than what fans know today. Rather than being called The Santa Clause, it was supposed to be titled “Such a Clatter,” a line used in the film in reference to The Night Before Christmas. According to Clipd, the film also didn’t include children.
In a recent interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Allen revealed a darker version to the first draft on the movie. Rather than scaring Santa off the roof, Scott’s character shoots him. The director immediately shot down the idea, and it ended up on the cutting room floor.
9 Eric Lloyd’s Accident
Lloyd played Charlie, the cutest kid ever who just wanted to believe in Santa Claus. Not long after they started filming, Lloyd knocked out his teeth at a Toronto Blue Jays game, reports ABC News.
Due to the fact, production had already planned scenes, they need to push up the schedule. Some scenes, like the ending scene, were sacrificed and re-done because of his accident. “They cut me out of the end of the scene, and then put all my parts in masters,” he told the outlet. Since Lloyd was only 8 years old at the time of filming, he was also losing teeth. “My bottom two teeth throughout the whole film are all fake teeth, because my bottom two teeth fell out naturally at the beginning of the film,” he said.
8 Many Scenes Were Filmed in Canada
The North Pole? Well, almost. Most of the first, second, and third movies were filmed in Canada.
One of the scenes filmed in Canada, but many people think was filmed in America. But, when Scott and Charlie visit Denny’s, this took place at a Denny’s in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, one of the few franchises in the country. Not only would some be surprised to find out where the first film was shot in the summer. Allen joke with ABC News, “They got better and better at air conditioning me, just keeping me calm.”
7 Peter Boyle Recast
Peter Boyle, who most probably know from his role as Frank on Everybody Love Raymond, also starred in the first Santa Clause movie as Scott’s boss. The actor did go on to appear in the other two movies, but was recast as Father Time.
In all three movies, only five actors stayed constant, and Boyle was one of them. The rest included Allen, Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, and Wendy Crewson. Unfortunately, Boyle passed away in 2006. His role as Father Time in The Santa Clause 3 was his final film role.
6 Villain-less Beginning
In the first movie, everything was carefree and light with no evil villain trying to destroy Christmas. That is probably what made the movie such a smash hit, to be honest. It took a step away from traditional Christmas stories, in that no one was trying to stop Christmas, and told their own story about a man who had to learn how to be Santa.
However, most likely in an attempt to keep the plot interesting, the last two movies both had villains that were up to no good. In the second movie, it was Source Toy Santa; in the third, Jack Frost, played by Martin Short.
5 A Nod to Ed
Ed Sullivan was a television icon for nearly 30 years. So, it is only natural that he is referenced in The Santa Clause, right?
In the first movie, while Scott’s character is being interrogated, he begins listing name of Santa Claus in various languages. At one point he says, “Topo Gigio!” This, in fact, is not a foreign name for Santa Claus, but the name of a puppet mouse who used to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.
4 Many Actresses Were Considered for Laura
Much like the role of Scott Calvin/Santa Claus, many famous actresses were considered for the role of Laura, Scott’s ex-wife. According to IMDb, some of the actresses on the shortlist were Patrica Heaton, Pamela Reed, Nicole Kidman, and Molly Ringwald.
Ultimately, the role ended up going to Wendy Crewson, who had been in multiple movies and TV shows before taking the part. We’re thankful for that as well, since she was amazing in the role.
3 Mistaken Identity
Although Crewson was one of the five actors who stayed constant throughout the film series, many believed she was a different actress in each film.
According to Clipd, this was just due to how different she looked between each film. If one looks at stills from the first movie to the last, the differences are stark. It is kind of hilarious that she went on for so long with people thinking that she was changing, but in the end, it was always the same person.
2 Home Improvement Easter Eggs
Due to Allen’s massive popularity, multiple Home Improvement Eater eggs were sprinkled throughout the first film. At one point, Allen’s character picks up a tool belt and proceeds to shake his head in disagreement. This is supposedly a nod to his very popular character at the time.
The others include an appearance by Jimmy Labriola, who played Benny on Allen’s show. Another occurs when Scott puts a fire out with an extinguisher and states, “And that’s why it’s important to have a high-quality fire extinguisher right in the kitchen.” This is a reference to his accident-prone character.
1 20. 007 Ties
It seems the films loved references. From hidden Mickeys to Home Improvement Easter eggs to Ed Sullivan, the movies are littered with familiarities. That is actually one of the best things about any movie; putting in little eggs is something fans just love.
Another reference made was to James Bond. “The techno-savvy elf Quentin, who proceeds to tell Santa about the gadgets the sleigh now has,” IMDb claims. “This is a nod to the James Bond series character “Q”, who is the technology master for James Bond’s vehicles.”
Do you have any other fun facts about Tim Allen’s Santa Clause Movies? Let us know in the comments!