The Man in the Santa Claus Suit

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The Man in the Santa Claus Suit
The Man in the Santa Claus Suit.jpg
Screenplay by George Kirgo
Story by Leonard Gershe
Directed by Corey Allen
Starring Fred Astaire
Gary Burghoff
John Byner
Bert Convy
Theme music composer Peter Matz
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Lee Miller
Editor(s) Lovel S. Ellis
Cinematography Woody Omens
Running time 104 minutes
Original channel NBC
Original release
  • December 23, 1979 (1979-12-23)

The Man in the Santa Claus Suit is a 1979 Christmas television film directed by Corey Allen, and starring Fred Astaire in his final television appearance.


The mysterious owner of a New York costume store (Astaire) sells Santa suits to three different men. He later shows up in various roles to help the men change their lives. (chauffeur, policeman, jeweler, hot dog vendor, taxi driver, floor walker, and choral director) Bob Willis (Burghoff) is a math teacher who is madly in love with a young fashion model and prominent figure in the disco scene, Polly Primer (Buckman). Polly, however, is already engaged to marry wealthy and handsome Rod Sanborn (Greenan). He hopes to impress her by showing up in a santa suit, but withdraws when he learns of Rod's marriage proposal to her. Polly is not sure to marry Rod and hints to Bob that she longs for being swept away by another guy, but Bob is too shy to act on it. Realizing he would lose her forever to Rod, he interrupts her at a fashion show and tells her he loves her. Polly then reveals having fallen in love with him ever since he first spoke about math, and she accepts his marriage proposal.

Stan Summerville was once a promising chef cook, but is now a homeless crook who owns money to criminals Babyskin (Barth) and Bruno Betinger (Feinberg). Stan buys a santa claus suit in order to hide from them, and while his friend Eddie (Vitte) distracts the criminals, he breaks into a wealthy residence to rob the people who live there. Residents are Dora (Fabray) and Dickie Dayton (Gould), a once poor couple who became millionaires after striking oil. They love performing and disapprove of their bratty grandchildren Melissa (Lytton) and Lance (Petersen), remembering the days that they did hard labor to earn money. Because of once being poor, they sympathize with Stan - despite him holding them at gunpoint - and they decide to nurse him back to health after their butler Chandler (Wells) hits Stan unconscious. While Stan restores his faith in humankind due to the hospitality of the Daytons, Babyskin and Bruno track him to the mansion. Ultimately, Melissa and Lance save the day by attacking the criminals, and the police reward Stan with $25,000 for capturing the wanted criminals.

Gil Travis (Convy) is a busy politician who works for the Senator, and buys a santa suit to surprise his estranged son Terry (Gower) on Christmas Eve in between his tight working schedule. His wife Linda (Bundy) separated from him because he was never home, and Terry is equally as estranged to him. Both Gil and Linda long for the days when Gil was a struggling writer whose novel only sold fourteen copies; though their happiness was defined by love instead of money. During Christmas, he shows Linda that he has learned to put family first, by ignoring his work to tuck his son into bed.

In the end, the costume shop owner reveals himself to be Santa Claus.


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