In the grand scheme of things, there are very few great Christmas movies. Sure, the likes of Home Alone, A Muppets Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life and Die Hard (if you count it) stand out as holiday favourites, though past these few, the slate of festive films is a bit of a sorry sight. As the house of whimsical entertainment and general family fun, Disney is the next best service to dish out your festive favourites but sometimes even their films aren’t as child-friendly as you’d like them to be.
From the likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas to Santa Paws, granted, the Disney festive filmography fluctuates massively from film to film, producing annual classics as well as Christmas fodder that is merely made to fill a gap on Disney+. Their most successful festive venture has to be the Santa Clause series starring Tim Allen, of which three films have been made in total.
Released in 1994, the first film in the series follows a recently divorced man who mistakenly becomes Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and is put in charge of delivering every child a gift, whilst trying to reconnect with his old family at the same time. A heartwarming Christmas cracker, The Santa Clause doesn’t reinvent the festive film but it does deliver on its promise of light laughs and festive cheer.
Starring Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson and David Krumholtz alongside Tim Allen, the film has been infamous for one particularly hilarious x-rated mistake that forced the filmmakers to remove the scene from all future versions of the movie. In the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moment from the 1994 film, a brief exchange with the protagonist Scott and his ex-wife Laura ends when she hands him a piece of paper with the phone number of her new boyfriend’s mother.
Scott jokingly says, “1-800-SPANK-ME. I know that number,” a line you will rarely hear if you were to watch The Santa Clause today. This is due to the fact that the line was removed from every digital and DVD copy of the film after a child from Steilacoom, Washington, called the number and got through to an actual, operating sex line. Incurring a phone bill of $400, a total that is equivalent to $660.05 in 2020, Disney decided to remove the line from all future copies of the film as to avoid any similar mishaps.
Related cases have happened time and time again throughout cinema history, where real-life phone numbers have mistakenly been used, leading to bothersome calls from various fans or haters from the respective film. For example, in 1992, filmmaker Michael Moore mistakenly seeded his phone number in the documentary Pets or Meat: Return to Flint, returning to his phone after the first day of broadcasting the film on television, Moore had received over 310 calls.
Take a look at the original trailer for The Santa Clause, below and, if you’re lucky enough to own the film on laserdisc or video, keep your eyes out for the x-rated moment.