The Santa Clause Alternate Opening

Tim Allen‘s most famous role at The Walt Disney Company is likely that of Buzz Lightyear in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise. But the Home Improvement star also stepped into another famous character for The House of Mouse in The Santa Clause. Aside from causing people to endlessly misspell Santa Claus, the movie turned Tim Allen into a Christmas icon and launched an entire franchise for the studio that gets played over and over again around the holidays. But the franchise almost began in a much darker fashion.

While making an appearance on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron (via Uproxx), discussion inevitably turned to his place as an icon among children. Funnily enough, Tim Allen doesn’t really like kids, but he’s put on a happy face for over 25 years now because the money is pretty good. That being said, he hasn’t always had the best behavior when it came to being around kids on set, especially with The Santa Clause. Allen remembered being a “mean, horrible Santa Claus off stage,” and it’s mostly because of everything required to get him suited up. The comedian said:

“I was an angry, made-up comedian that didn’t have any idea what five hours of make-up would be like. It was horrific. And then these kids wouldn’t behave, and then I’m swearing, SWEARING, while dressed like Santa Claus until one of the Disney people said, ‘Tim, you can’t keep dropping the F-bomb in front of the kids dressed as Santa Claus.’ And of course, I’m going, ‘I’m not goddamn Santa,’ and they’re like, ‘They don’t know that!”

Hearing Santa Claus drop the F-bomb sounds like a rather traumatic experience for a child, but The Santa Clause itself could have been infinitely more scarring for young ones if it kept the original inciting incident. Tim Allen recalled that the original script for The Santa Clause put him into Santa’s boots in a much more violent way:

“It was dark, man. It was dark. I shot and killed Santa in the opening scene. I shot him, and he fell off the roof, and the kid goes, ‘You just killed Santa!’ And I said, ‘He shouldn’t have been on the roof. He should’ve been at the mall, where he belongs. I thought he was robbing my house.'”

Seeing Santa Claus get shot doesn’t seem like something that ever had a chance at getting into a Disney movie. But Allen did offer this counter-argument for which there’s not really any good defense. Allen recalled someone at Disney telling him, “You can’t start a Disney movie with you murdering Santa.” But the comedian responded, “Why? You kill all the parents in every other movie.” Tim Allen may not have won the argument, but he’s certainly not wrong.

At the end of the day, Tim Allen came out on the other side pleased with The Santa Clause and its results. Not only was it a huge hit that gave him a three-film franchise and presumably some hefty royalties around the holidays, but it allowed him to create a somewhat new image for himself. Allen said, “It was an amazing experience for me, because I really don’t like kids very much, but these kids loved being around this pissy Santa, and I learned to be a pissy nice guy.” Pissy? Yes. Nice guy? Maybe not so much.

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