SANTA CLAUS (1898)
Article 4297 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by George Albert Smith
Featuring Laura Bayley, Dorothy Smith, Harold Smith
What it is: Holiday trick short
Two children are tucked into bed on Christmas Eve. While they sleep, Santa arrives.
This is a pretty basic trick short, but I do admire the way it sets up some of its tricks. The scene begins in a well-lit room, and once the children are tucked into bed, the nurse turns out the light, and the background turns pitch black. This is just they type of background needed for the special effects at that time, and I admire the skillful way the preceding scene sets it up. The special effects include a shot of Santa on the roof preparing to come down the chimney, and when Santa appears in and leaves the room, he seems to come in out of and disappear into nowhere. There’s no real story; it’s just barely over a minute long. Still, it was early enough historically that the special effects would impress, and the short is simple and likable enough.