The Night Before Christmas


Santa’s in his toy workshop making last-minute preparations. He has the stump of a pipe held tight in his teeth, and as he puffs on it he puts the plane to a block of wood on his workbench.

Meanwhile, a family has gathered the children at table to write their Christmas wishes for Santa, which are hung with the stockings by the chimney with care. The children are nestled all snug in their beds until the governess goes past, when they all wake up suddenly till she comes by again, retracing her steps once more to be sure. Finally she leaves, and a small child sneaks around the bed and starts a pillow war, which ends in billowy feathers.

Santa has one more thing to do. On his desk is a very large ledger set up for easy consultation. With a quill pen, he goes over page after page of his notations, making corrections as he does so. Finally, all is prepared. He opens the door, and just outside his reindeer are seen, harnessed. In a very famous sequence everyone describes not always with complete accuracy, the miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer are seen traveling through the snowy winter landscape, and as dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mounting the sky as a valley suddenly appears, with the moon and clouds behind them, to land on the other side and continue on their way unceasingly, till they arrive at the very house seen earlier. Santa pops down the chimney, enters the living room, reads all the notes and fills all the stockings. Now he upends his bundle over the sideboard, and presents spill out. He steps into the room, waves his arm and large toys appear, a pram, a rocking-horse...

Having gone, he leaves behind enough merriment for all as the children come down to open their presents, in a long take from a motionless camera across the room.

The film ends with a close-up of Santa Claus laying his finger aside of his nose and uttering the famous Christmas blessing.


Dream of a Rarebit Fiend


The original Mr. Creosote gets off to a very shaky start and takes to his bed, which after a cartoon pounding takes him on a Faust (Murnau) tour of New York, he crash lands on it again through his own roof, considerably chastened.

The excellent tune is the perfect accompaniment, like one of Anger’s concoctions.