Guest Author - Amber Grey
Before the traditional kick-off of watching the Christmas classics such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946), “White Christmas” (1954) and “A Christmas Story” (1983), “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) is one film which hits all of the right spots of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), based off of Valentine Davies’ novella of the same name, stars Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, and a nine-year old Natalie Wood. The story opens with the start of the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade just before the department store Santa Clause embarks on the parade route. But the hired man in the Santa Clause costume is unable to fulfill his duties and “Doris Walker” (played by Maureen O’Hara), the parade manager, must find an immediate replacement. Fortunately, a man by the name of “Kris Kringle” (played by Edmund Gwenn) is able to fill in because he knows the role of being Santa Clause very well. As a successful Santa, he ends up being Macy’s department store Santa Clause for the children to tell their Christmas wishes to. However, there is one child who cannot be convinced he is the real Santa Clause – Doris’s daughter “Susan” (played by Natalie Wood). Susan’s mother taught her not to believe in fairy tales or in Santa Clause, insisting (that) children eventually grow up sometime and have to know the truth sooner or later. But is “Kris Kringle” the real Santa Clause? Will he convince little Susan that Santa Clause is indeed real and it is him?
Despite this holiday film being released in the summer, it was hit. In addition to being welcomed by the public, “Miracle On 34th Street” was also nominated for four Academy Awards and won three of them. In order to capitalize on its popularity, the Lux Radio Theatre premiered a radio dramatization of the film’s story for all of their listeners the following year.
But its popularity did not stop there. It is the perfect film to connect us with the feeling of the holiday season. If you do not believe in Santa Clause, this film might change your mind. If you do, you can watch this film and exclaim, "I told you so!"