ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 4
ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 4
Nostalgia can be a tricky thing. When we look back at a happier time in our lives, we tend to gloss over and ignore some of the rough patches. I'm pretty sure that is part of the definition of nostalgia, or it is for some. Christmas time is certainly a happy time for most children, but some are not so lucky. For some, Christmas can seem like a punishment. It can be brutal. It can include a blabbering, toxic clown.
Warning: Spoiler Alert! This is not to warn you that if you read about today's film before watching it that it will be spoiled, this is more a warning that if you watch today's film, not only Christmas, but possibly everything you have ever believed, loved and trusted in, will be spoiled. You have been warned!
ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar December 4- Santa's Christmas Circus (1966)
When did kids in 1966 know they had been bad all year? When did Christmas become a nightmare for these miscreant moppets? As soon as their parents dropped them off at Horizon Studio and left them in the care of one Whizzo the Clown.
Whizzo the Clown comes across like an absent minded, possibly inebriated, uncle who starts off being kind of funny at family get togethers but quickly becomes obnoxious. He babbles incoherently while he does "skits" like trying to stack presents and changing clothes behind his magic curtain. He has to hurry because he has invited a bunch of children to Whizzo's Wonderland to celebrate Christmas.
The children arrive and they are dressed as ballerinas, princesses and toy soldiers. They are uncomfortable. They are obviously upset that their parents have abandoned them in this "Wonderland." The youngest children are super spastic. Whizzo introduces the youngest girl as his girlfriend.
Whizzo does some tricks for the kids who are prompted off screen (threatened?) to over-react with gales of laughter. They play some games but none of the kids play right. One of the older ballerinas is sad. When asked by Whizzo what's eating her and why she's not having fun like the other kids (questionable), she mumbles, "What is the point of Christmas?"
Ill equipped to help this tween who is obviously struggling with some serious issues in her life and possibly on the brink of an existential crisis, Whizzo sort of talks around the subject and then dismisses the sad child in favor of the happier children having fun. This moment almost seems unscripted. (Such was the concern for the mental wellbeing of children in 1966.)
A hand puppet dog with Whizzo's voice makes an appearance and then, tired of trying to entertain the children, our clown host spins his hat and summons his Atomic Time Machine. This sounds cooler than it actually is. It is really just some boxes taped together and painted, with some buttons and lights and a TV monitor.
Whizzo directs the children to gaze into the Atomic Time Machine's viewer screen and shows them films of animatronic Christmas characters in Department Store windows. I mean, he can't even show a cartoon. And, we are now literally watching children watch TV!
At last, Whizzo collects the children onto his magic carpet and takes them to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus. It's sort of like a toy expo where the children can look and touch the new toys coming out for Christmas, but they can't take any of them home. Elfin children prance around Santa's showroom.
Whizzo takes the sad ballerina over to Santa, putting it on the fat man to cheer her up. Santa says something stupid that makes her realize neither of these adults are going to help her so she fakes a smile so she can bleed back into the background and be left alone to sort out her problems herself.
The children are returned to Whizzo's Wonderland.
Man. At just under an hour, this one can be brutal if you go into in a bad mood. You might find yourself yelling at your TV set for Whizzo to stop acting like a dick and help the sad little ballerina girl who is obviously crying out for help. This is what's wrong with clowns. They think they can fix the world with a "boop" on the nose and a bucket you think is filled with water but it's actually confetti when they toss it on you.
Whizzo is portrayed by one Mister Frank Wiziarde, who also directed. I do not doubt that Mr. Wiziarde's heart was in the right place, but his concept for entertaining children of all ages is horribly flawed. I suspect he did not have any children of his own. Maybe he did. If so, I suspect those kids spent a lot of time saying stuff like, "Dad, you just don't understand me or what I'm going through."
The kids behave like D Home graduates doing their public service so they can get back to whatever got them tossed into juvie in the first place. I also believe one of the children is suffering from consumption, as the little fellow coughs consistently throughout.
Enjoyment can be had from Santa's Christmas Circus, but please, friends, know what you're getting yourself into before you press play. Stuff like this was made for drinking games but be careful. If everyone takes a drink whenever Whizzo does or says anything awkward or inappropriate, no one will be able to drive home by the fifteen minute mark.
This is available on Tubi in both it's full bodied version as well as a Rifftrax version that might be more suitable for viewers needing the sharp edges of Whizzo's world dulled with comedy. (I rarely suggest the first viewing of anything be done via the Rifftrax/MST3K group, but I make that exception here because I really do care about your wellbeing.)
I understand why people hate clowns.