SANTA’S CHRISTMAS CIRCUS (1966)
Article 5335 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Frank Wiziarde
Featuring John Bilyeu and Frank Wiziarde
What it is: Christmas movie
Whizzo the clown celebrates Christmas with his children friends and takes them on a magic carpet trip to the North Pole to visit Santa.
Those who hail SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS as the worst Christmas movie ever are probably unaware there’s a whole level of Christmas / children’s movies that make that one look well-crafted and lavishly produced. I’ve seen several of these, but this may be the first one I’ve reviewed. It’s been sitting on my “ones that got away” list with a LOST status like LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT, but while that one still is, this one has been found. It’s just hard to imagine anyone looking for it.
It features a character called Whizzo the Clown, and I suspect that we’re dealing with a character who gained fame in the same way that horror hosts did – as a local celebrity who probably hosted a kid’s show that ran cartoons. On that level, the character probably worked well enough; I’ve seen worse children’s clowns. But that doesn’t mean that his shtick can maintain a sixty minute movie, especially one with only a wisp of a plot and probably no set script. The first third of the movie consists of the clown and his children friends performing a perfunctory circus. Then he pulls out his atomic time machine and we get to watch footage from window store displays for about fifteen minutes. Then a magic carpet takes them all to the North Pole for a visit to Santa, who shows them toys and talks about the spirit of Christmas. Then they go back to Whizzo’s place and the movie is over. That’s it. It’s a good example of what I call the “non-event”.
It’s not the worst Christmas movie I’ve ever seen. But it may be the worst one I’ve covered for this series; only THE CHRISTMAS MARTIAN really gives it a run for its money, since it’s as annoying as this one is a snoozefest. It’s perhaps best described as an inconsequential waste of time. Still, I can say two good things about it. One is that one of the kids does an impressive backflip at one point. The other is that the dog puppet is used very sparingly.