Carl Spurlock & the Santa chair/show

(after reading about how the Santa Chair was made, Carl said . . . .)

That explains many things....the least of which is why any of us ( both you and I included)that ever sat on that thing while doing a stint as "Santa"...are not in traction for the rest of our lives! Damn, that chair was the most boxy, uncomfortable thing I have ever plopped my bum on! Add a chubby kid to your lap...and it gave new meaning to the phrase "pain in the ass".

I have one short Santa Show related story:
Being a classically trained actor, a member of SAG, AFTRA and DGA, I had always prided myself on never breaking character or breaking up on while on stage or on camera. That pride and my flawless record both came crashing down one afternoon in the 31 studios. Hank Price (production manager at the time) was carrying the burden of playing the "jolly old elf" this particular year. He had just finished the show and threw the commercial break. At the other end of the studio, I was making ready to come on, out of the break, with the first "Dialing for Dollars" insert as the afternoon block rolled into Star Trek. I was standing on the "D for D" set awaiting the count from the cameraman.

Hank, thoroughly exhausted from dragging one kid after another across his lap, came lumbering over toward the D for D set...pulled his beard down below his chin and lit a cigarette. We made eye contact for just a second and then I re-focused on "coming on" as the countdown was given. 5,4,3,2,1 and the finger wave "your on"...up came the tally light and I was live on the air. Now Hank, usually a very serious man and all business when it came to the station, had apparently been push a little over the elf edge by the burden of being so damn jolly for an entire half hour. Without warning...Hank stepped forward right beside the camera lens....smiled at me, turned around, bent over and dropped his pants.

For the very first time...I had been caught completely off guard. The thought (not to mention the actual visual) of being "mooned" by this sleazy looking, butt puffing Santa just nailed me..I began to chuckle and then just flat laugh out loud. Of course the viewers could see none of this..just me losing it on air. I managed to say "Folks, we'll be right back" and stepped off camera. John Stanners threw up the Star Trek slide for 15 or 20 seconds as I collected myself. Quickly bringing myself back in control...again, the quick countdown...and we were back on air with the first D for D call of the day. True story....Carl got mooned by Santa (Hank Price) live on the air and totally lost it. Damn you Hank...I have never trusted a mall Santa since.

Regards, Carl Spurlock

© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 6-26-2003]