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Horace McNickle (Edward Asner) is a two-time felon serving prison time for counterfeiting. On the week before Christmas, he escapes from prison dressed as Santa Claus due to his uncanny resemblance to St. Nick resulting from his long white beard and heavyset features. McNickle hides out from the police in a nearby suburban neighborhood where he is befriended and helped by two local children who think he is the real Santa Claus. McNickle takes advantage of the kids naivety to help him get his counterfeit money hidden somewhere in a local department store while he develops kind-hearted feelings for his two con victims that make him slowly understand the true nature of Christmas. Written by
Convicted con artist Ed Asner escapes from prison dressed as Santa Claus. He hides out in the basement of an apartment building where two kids live who believe he's the real Santa. He uses them to help recover some money he hid before he went to prison. As he spends time with the kids and their friends, he softens and slowly starts to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
Ed Asner is gruff but likable. That pretty much sums up his career. The kids are good, particularly the adorable little blonde girl. Rene Auberjonois is the obligatory Scrooge character. Fred Gwynne's the cop on the case. He's always fun. Susan Tyrrell has one great scene but I wish she was in it more. I'm not entirely sure why Asner's character didn't immediately shave and find a change of clothes to help evade capture but I guess we wouldn't have had a movie then. And how about that prison? They have the dumbest guards imaginable. Dude just literally walked up to the door and asked to be let out. Still, it's a good TV movie with nice humor and sentimental touches. Corny at times but appropriately so. Gets better as it goes along so stick with it.
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