Friday, December 22, 2017

This Week's Oz Holiday Short Story

I'm finally heading back to finish up the 1986 issue of Oziana, because the final story is a very timely one: "Santa Claus in Oz" by Tim Hollis (who also drew the illustrations). In June, toy production at the North Pole is way down. It turns out that the workshop and just about everything else at the North Pole is in need of remodeling, so Santa sets things in motion for that. But production still needs to continue, so he packs up everything and takes it to the Emerald City! Ozma opens up several floors of the palace to accommodate Santa, Mrs. Claus, and all the elves and reindeer. Frosty the Snowman is even given his own freezer. Things are looking up, and production ramps up nicely—until Ruggedo steps in and takes the place of one of the elves! What will he do to sabotage Christmas? Can Santa's Christmas Eve trip be saved?

This reads like one of the more madcap animated Christmas specials from back in the day. There are several references to some of the old Rankin-Bass specials, and the plot certainly unfolds like one. (And yes, Santa's past from The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is mentioned, and his move to the North Pole is explained.) It's not the most sophisticated or deep take one will ever see on Christmas in Oz, but it is a lot of fun.

And that does it for 1986 at last. Next week, I'll read the final story in the 1987 issue, allowing me to start the new year off with a whole new issue!

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