That Time Mrs. Claus Ended Child Labor AND Saved Christmas!

That Time Mrs. Claus Ended Child Labor AND Saved Christmas!


Hey everyone, PushingUpRoses here and today
I have a very fitting holiday special for my channel, a made-for-TV musical called Mrs.
Santa Claus, starring Angela Lansbury. And before you ask, I did check to see if
there were any Murder, She Wrote Christmas episodes but sadly I think full on homicide
is a little too morbid for anything holiday related. The reason I am covering this film is because
I have these very faint memories of watching it on VHS tape at my aunt’s house one winter,
and I remember enjoying it, but after seeing it that one time I never saw it again. It’s weird, because it did VERY well; it
debuted on CBS on December 8th, 1996, and on top of having a great cast with well known
names, it also had an experienced director, writer, and composer. And yet, when I think about movies to watch
over the holidays, this doesn’t come to mind. Charlie Brown Christmas? Yep. A Muppet Christmas Carol? DEFINITELY. Love Actually? Hugh Grant: “Yeeeah.” Mrs. Santa Claus is like a an old song that
hit #1 and was amazing the year it came out, but after that initial success it just goes
away. Then when you discover it later on you’re
like “Wait, this was a hit? When?” So I decided to give this movie another go
because I remember being quite charmed by it when I was a kid – though a lot of things
charmed me as a kid if I am honest. I used to spend my time coloring rocks with
cheap crayons. So here we go, I want the world to know there’s
a Lansbury, singing: “Mrs. Santa Claus!” It was directed by Terry Hughs, an EXCELLENT
choice; he also directed the televised version of Sweeny Todd, which also starred Angela
Lansbury, and over 100 episodes of the Golden Girls. He’s won several awards so this bodes well
for Mrs. Santa Claus. The script was written by Mark Saltzman who
had previous experience with Sesame Street and a variety of musicals. He’s won seven Emmys, so we’re now pretty
much guaranteed that this will be a good movie; only thing left is the music, which was all
written by Jerry Herman. His career is ALSO outstanding, but his most
famous work is probably Hello Dolly, which I love. I love, love, love Hello Dolly. And Angela Lansbury was, and still is, very
active in film and musical theater. I’m assuming I don’t need to tell you
who Lansbury is, but in case you’re not familiar – She’s a British actress whose
career spans several decades. You may know her as Mrs. Potts from Beauty
and the Beast, Jessica Fletcher from the greatest television show ever made, Murder, She Wrote,
but her most well known work is probably Positive Moves. Classic Lansbury. Oh, and one more tidbit, the costume design
was done by Bob Mackie. What in the hell is he doing working on a
made-for-TV musical? You know who he designed for? Fuckin’ CHER. As we begin the movie, we’re introduced
to the main Elf, Arvo. Hey it’s the Evening Shade guy! Yeah, you remember Evening Shade, right? …No? No one? They sing a song about makin’ toys alongside
Mrs. Claus, whose first name is Anna, as they are getting ready for Santa’s trip. I am loving Mrs. Claus’s hair do – it reminds
me of Gerde from Gabriel Knight, which is such an obscure nerd reference that I almost
feel embarrassed. Almost. Arvo engages in some brief chit-chat after
the other elves leave, asking her if she has any plans. “What about you, Mrs. Claus? Another Christmas Eve alone?” You wanna spend it with me, the Evening Shade
guy? She goes in to check on her husband who is
completely bogged down with mail. He’s also totally preoccupied and seems
to be neglecting her new ideas for a more efficient navigation plan. She gets a little irritated, then expresses
that she wishes she could help him out. He responds like a petulant child and says
that HE needs to be the one to do it because HE’S the only one who can do it right. Santa: “Now call me old fashioned…” Okay. You’re old fashioned. Oh my GOD, look at all of these antlers all
over the workshop! There are on the stairs, and the make up the
chandeliers – Are these all from the reindeer they’ve had for the sleigh? Oh my god don’t let them see it! Because she is feeling unwanted and bored,
Anna decides to hitch up the reindeer and test out the new map she designed herself. A storm rolls in and she is forced to make
an emergency landing in New York. Poor Cupid didn’t take the unexpected landing
very well. Anna: “Ohh, you’ve hurt your poor leg!” Welp, guess we have more antlers for the stairs
now. Luckily, there’s a stable near by, run by
an Italian immigrant named Marcello. He takes Cupid in and says he’ll be ready
after one week of rest. Somehow she convinces him that the reindeer
are for a Christmas pageant, and that she hails from the North. Marcello: “Ah, Senora de North.” Anna: “Why yes, actually.. I am Mrs. North.” Yeah, She ALSO convinces him that her NAME
is Mrs. North.What is it about Angela Lansbury that makes for such trusting characters? You just wanna believe everything she says. Marcello shows her around town, specifically
Avenue A, a multi-cultural, diverse area where everyone gets along in perfect harmony. The story is set in the 1910s and the fashion
and settings reflect that; this is also where you can really see all of the Holly Dolly
influence. Exciting choreo, strong songs and singing,
and New York again! As they go down the street a bagel cart passes
by, and it made me want a bagel. I felt it imperative that I tell you that
part. Marcello brings her to a boarding house she
can stay at, but of course she has no money. Why do people never bring money or purses
with them when they travel? I just watched Noelle recently, which has
a similar premise now that I think about it, and she ALSO didn’t have money. Who travels without it? The woman who runs the house, a Jewish immigrant
named Mrs. Lowenstein, says she can get a job and pay her back later. My god this is moving fast, but Anna doesn’t
mind. She loves the town and the people and can’t
wait to see more, since she’s only ever seen the workshop and snow. Staying at the boarding house is also an Irish
man and his daughter, Nora, who is a bit of a troublemaker; she especially likes harassing
the police, as one does. Anna takes a liking to her and decides to
cover for her when Officer Doyle is searching the house. Nora: “Hey… why did you do that?” Anna: “It so happens that…” I’m cool as hell. Nora’s dad works all day, and her mother
and baby brother are still in Ireland until they can make enough money to bring them to
the US. She says she can take care of herself though,
as she has a job at a toy making factory. How convenient for the plot. Anna is brought on as the supervisor of Tavish
Toys, run by Augustis Tavish. She quickly sees the employees are all children,
working under horrible conditions and being instructed to make cheap toys that won’t
last. The company’s motto is “It only has to
last till Christmas.” Tavish is played by Terrence Mann, who is
a Broadway veteran; he was the original Rum Tum Tugger in cats. You know. The sexy one. …I can’t believe there’s a “sexy one”
in cats. He’s got a bit of Tim Curry vibe going on,
specifically from Rocky Horror, so I was not shocked to find out that Mann played Frank
N. Furter in the play’s Broadway revival from 2000. He’s extremely talented and makes for a
vile character in this film. Anna: “Oh, just a little hug.” Tavish: “Get that bear away from me.”…Dang,
he even LOOKS a little like Tim Curry. Also, I wonder what Tim Curry would be like
as Rum Tum Tugger… (Tim Curry laughing) These toys really do
look extra terrible – instead of buying red balloons they are DYING them. The kids don’t trust Anna at first, but
they warm up to her after she starts singing them a song called “Almost Young.” It expresses that just because she’s old
in number doesn’t mean she can’t do a lil jig. It’s the catchiest song I’ve heard that
explicitly uses the word DIRGE. Anna, singing: “But when my dirge is sung!” Anna approaches Tavish and explains to him
there is no heat and the quality of the toys is horrible and unacceptable. He tells her not to worry about it because
they make him money, and money makes him happy, and who cares about toy quality. After all: Tavish: “They only need to last
till Christmas. He locks himself in his office, then Anna
boldly promises to do something about Tavish. She doesn’t know what yet, but the kids
cheer her on and we get a reprise of Almost Young. SING MY DIRGE. Now that she has a job she is able to buy
some stylish new digs – so fancy. It reminds me of Meet Me in St. Louis. Roses singing: Clang, clang, clang went the
trolley, Ding, ding, ding went the bell! Since this is a period piece, it does touch
on issues from that time – child labor being one of them, and women’s rights being the
other. Mrs. Lowenstein’s daughter, Sadie, is a
suffragette who Anna befriends, and they collaborate on protest ideas to improve the state of Tavish
Toys. Anna also helps Sadie to convince the women
on Avenue A to join the march to union square and stand up for their rights, helping them
to realize their strength and potential. We get a song, which is just one of the previous
songs from earlier with altered lyrics, about getting the right to vote. It’s no Sister Suffragette, but it’ll
do. “Votes for women!” Marchello, who is in love with Sadie, asks
her out on a date, and she responds in song. It’s one of the catchiest in the entire
movie, but the lyrics are something to be desired. She just goes on and on about things that
don’t commonly go together. Sadie: “An onion roll at a Mayfair tea…” “A bowl of borscht and a pizza pie…”
“corn beef and cabbage topped with Mayonnaise…” Hey that sounds pretty good. There’s also a song about whistling; why
are all these musicals insisting I whistle to feel better? Anna: “Whistle when you feel that no one
is near…” Snow White: Whistle while you work…” Anna (The King and I): “I whistle a happy
tune…” Jiminy Cricket: “Give a little whistle!” Through Sadie, Anna learns about factory slow
downs, and convinces the kids to use it to protest Tavish Toys. The idea is to work very slowly until production
comes to a halt, but the kids are nervous. Kid: “What if we get scared?” Anna: “ALL YA HAVE TO DO IS WHISTLE.” What?? NO. After the factory slowdown fails due to Tavish
threatening to have the kids work on Christmas, Anna now has to find some other way to save
them from their predicament. Anna: “Hmmm…Auggie Tavish.” Is it weird that this isn’t the only time
Angela Lansbury has called someone Auggie? Jessica Fletcher: “So I hear you’re the
man I should talk to…Auggie.” Meanwhile, after a few days, Santa finally
notices that his wife is missing and expresses precisely one emotion about it. This. It’s a mood all right. Santa has no fucks to spare. He can’t really go off to find her because
they only had one sleigh and one set of magical reindeer. I can’t believe he doesn’t have any backups,
this is really poor planning on his part. Good news is he figures out that he loves
his wife. Good for him? But Anna can’t go back just yet, as she
is still wants to help out the kids working at Tavish Toys, Cupid is still healing, and
she has a party to attend. This really is turning out similar to a Murder,
She Wrote episode. Just like JB Fletcher, Anna gets into everyone’s
life problems and attempts to solve them. Except no one dies. Since the slowdown didn’t work, Anna suggests
a strike, where the kids take to the streets and tell people about their deplorable conditions,
and the poor quality of the toys. It works flawlessly, and opens the public’s
eyes to child labor. Tavish takes it well. (Tavish growling) While at a policeman’s ball, Anna finds
out that Cupid is all better, AND she is given honors by Sadie. Jeez, she really did a lot in the few days
she was in New York; she joined the suffragettes, marched to union square, led a protest, and
called for child labor laws. She even played matchmaker a couple times. Damn STRAIGHT the world should know there’s
a Mrs. Santa Claus! But she forgot about one person. Augustus Tavish. Okay, so bear with me because the ending to
this movie is just a teensy bit contrived. Anna realizes it’s time for her to go back
to the north pole and bids goodbye to Nora, who is heartbroken and asks if she’ll ever
see her again. Anna: “Remember… ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS WHISTLE…” As Anna is leaving, Tavish attempts to steal
the sleigh and the reindeer that were kept at the stable, then tells Anna that he knew
she was Mrs. Claus all along. What? HOW? Because… the Claus family is known for their
activism? I know she’s experienced in toy making but
going from toy maker to MRS. SANTA CLAUS is a pretty hefty leap. Suddenly, Anna realizes his name is familiar. He had written to Santa asking for a Teddy
Bear when he was a child, and he was given one. But his step brother stole it and Tavish was
ruined. So ruined, in fact, that he wanted to ruin
everyone else’s Christmas, including this one. Tavish: “Yes it’s true, I can’t deny…” Really? Really. Really. Your teddy bear was stolen so you got into
child labor. Because of a TEDDY BEAR? I mean, this is easily rectified. Anna gives him a new Teddy Bear, just like
the one Santa gave him years before, then says: It’s not the gift that matters, it’s
the love behind it.” And he is INSTANTLY changed. You can pinpoint the exact moment where his
heart grows several sizes. Meanwhile, Santa is having the most miserable
Christmas Eve ever. Not only is Anna not there, but the cocoa
that Arvo makes is terrible. Anna gets back home just in time for Santa’s
trip, and he is relieved to see her. While she was gone he realized how neglectful
he had been, and invites her to join him on his journey, using her new map. The movie ends with them joyously singing
together and delivering presents. Right! Final thoughts. I watched this movie twice so I could decide
if I really enjoyed it or not – the first time I was slightly underwhelmed, but the
second time, I appreciated it more for some reason. It’s actually a really decent musical that
has a lot of interesting storylines and characters. The shining star of the film is Angela Lansbury,
who brings joy and expression to every moment and every song. The score is not as memorable as other beloved
musicals, but it’s fun and fitting for this movie. I like the choreography, the sets, and the
early 1900s costumes – it’s light hearted and kept my attention. It’s also a breath of fresh air to see a
holiday movie tackle deeper subjects, versus the same old “gotta find a fiance for Christmas
so I can please my overbearing family” plot line, which seems to be all the rage right
now. It’s a little less fluffy than the thousands
of Christmas movies that have the personality of a head of cabbage. This is one of the only Hallmark family movies
I found that doesn’t have an emphasis on a love interest, or centers around a young,
hot protagonist that needs to learn the meaning of Christmas. In fact, even though this takes place during
Christmastime, and the main character is Mrs. Claus, the plot of the movie is so much more
than that; we have an older woman who is experiencing her own life and finding strength in who she
is, learning that her contributions to the world matter, and helping other women to stand
up and be independent. This is the most feminist I’ve ever seen
Mrs. Claus – usually they’re a little more…matronly. Not Anna – look at her rock that red dress. Though I gotta admit, this film isn’t particularly
memorable. The songs are fun, but they aren’t fantastic
and they don’t stay in the public conscious. Some of the songs are reused melodies with
different lyrics so there isn’t much variety either, and the conclusion is absurd – Tavish
is an absurd villain to begin with so maybe it’s appropriate, but I couldn’t believe
how quickly things got resolved between him and Anna. Also, did she just happen to have a Teddy
Bear in her cloak? I guess you never know when someone needs
one. However I did like watching this as an adult;
if you’re looking for a lesser known holiday special that tackles a few adult issues, and
you like beautiful costumes and exciting choreo, then I’d suggest giving this movie a shot. I’m a little sick of the usual Nightmare
Before Christmas and Love Actually viewings so this movie mixed it up for me a little. I hope you enjoyed this video, and I wish
you all the happiest of holidays. And remember! When you’re feeling low… all you have
to do… is WHISTLE. Hey everyone, thank you for watching my video
on Mrs. Santa Claus. If you are interested in more content from
me, I have it, but first I would like to throw out my patreon campaign. Patreon is how I am able to keep my show going,
it helps support me financially, and I have a few rewards on offer, so check it out if
you feel the desire. If not, a wonderful holiday gift would be
a like, retweet, or comment. If you aren’t sure if you want to sub to
me and need more content to decide, then I got you. On the left I have a comprehensive review
of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries with an emphasis on character analysis, and on the
right I have my other holiday video that tackles a silly episode of The Golden Girls. Thanks again, and as always, I will see you
in the next one.

100 thoughts on “That Time Mrs. Claus Ended Child Labor AND Saved Christmas!

  1. In 3D grade I brought this VHS into school and we watched it the week before Christmas and the teacher gave me such a knowing look and I truly feel like that’s the moment I knew I was gay

  2. Roses: "I watched Noelle recently." Me: "I'm sorry you had to see that." But seriously, isn't Angela Lansbury the best?

  3. I remember Terrance Mann best as the alien bounty hunter from Critters. And I also remember watching this the night it premiered and wanting Angela's hair that reminded me of Princess Leia. Christmas 1996 was great, I'd graduated from college that year.

  4. A lot of actors who play Tugger also played Frank 'n Furter. Coincidence? I don't think! Both tall, majestic and sexy af.

  5. I'm a little concerned that Mrs. Claus has never been out of the North Pole. Just how did she get there in the first place? Was she made BY THE ELVES for old Saint Nick? Is she an android?

  6. I think part of this film's failure to gain lasting impact has to do with Christmas – as an institution – being dominated by Baby Boomer nostalgia. For the longest time, the industry seemed dead set on recreating the childhoods of boomers. Newer things get added into the "Christmas Canon", of course, but more often than not only because they scratch the same itch as that particular era. A Muppet Christmas Carol, for instance, could rely on boomers' nostalgia for the muppets going back to their introduction in the 50s and 60s.

    Christmas is such a huge thing, every years brings new material, but with no guarantee that even good products will stick.

  7. 11:04

    >"Bear with me"
    >shows scene where Mrs. Clause holds a teddy bear

    That type of subtle pun is straight outta Sierra.

    -Teo

  8. And Nora, Played by Lynsey Bartilson is Now Married to a Guy Named Cru Moore, does that mean She's Related to the Great, Late Dudley Moore, or Mary Tyler Moore.

  9. Jellicle Cats Come out Tonight, Jellicle Cats Come one Come All, The Jellicle Moon is Shining Bright Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball—-, Song of The Jellicles, I have the right, I'm a Jellicle.

  10. Not a Christmas or holiday movie but one I have not come across as a topic yet on your channel and one I only recently was made aware of through my boyfriend who had grown up watching it as a child is a Disney movie that stars your girl Angela Lansbury, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. ❤ it as soon as I watched it!

  11. Terrence Mann also plays in the amazing 80’s classic “Critters”. He plays the badass bounty hunter rockstar (Johnny Steele/Ug). Damn the 80’s were awesome.

  12. Just watched this tonight with some friends based on your review. It was the cutest movie and I remember any of the lyrics. Added to my annual Christmas movie list! Thanks for your review!!

  13. Is there anything Angela Lansbury cannot do, apart from flying? Seriously, she is wonderful in just about everything I've seen her in.

  14. Boy, I don’t know how I didn’t expect you to review this, seeing as I saw the cover of it a few years ago and who’s starring! Thanks for the video, as always!

  15. So excited to have found this channel! It's my favourite thing to put on with my mum over coffee! Angela lansbury is such a legend!

  16. The irreplaceable Lansbury also originated Mrs. Lovett of Sweeney Todd, and played Auntie Mame and Millie of thoroughly modern Millie. She is certified broadway royalty.

  17. Hey lady I love all these videos you've put out. I've never commented before but I felt compelled by the KQ7 music you put in this video. I love all your content and your commentary is really colorful and energetic. I love it. thank you for showing me this movie I'm gonna check it out

  18. There is a holiday “Murder She Wrote,” “A Christmas Secret” 1992… not very memorable… but Amy Brenneman is in it and it is set in Cabot Cove… 😁

  19. Charles Durning who plays Santa is a fascinating person who has gone through some of the most horrifying moments in history (examples Landed on Omaha Beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge during WWII) and yet still pull off his dreams and remained humble about it. You should look into

  20. You most likely won’t see this comment, but one of my first introductions to Angela Lansbury was in The Harvey Girls with Judy Garland. It’s one of my favorite Judy Garland musicals.

  21. that movie better take back that quip about Borscht not going with Pizza Pie.
    That line in particular doesn't seem to have aged well.

  22. What a great, sweet holiday movie! I can see how it was a hit with such good casting and a nice, simplish plot with little branches to add to it!

    That said, she never saw anything but the workshop and snow? That begs the question that the movie doesn't answer : Where DOES she come from?

    That said, this looks like a very nice and well acted made for tv special, granted I agree the last bit with our villain was a touch contrived, but it was still nice all the same.

    Thank you for sharing this with your audience, and I wish you a Merry Christmas!

  23. In defense of North being her last name comment, a lot of immigrants would change their last name at Ellis Island to fit in better with their new community. Hence why Jones, Smith, and Addams are the most popular last names in the USA.

  24. This sounds really sweet and those COSTUMES! I'll probably like it more than Noelle which I found…a bit underbaked. I did really enjoy Let it Snow and I just rewatched A Muppet Family Christmas last night, so if you haven't watched those I highly recommend them! –S

  25. Tavish is like Doofenshmirtz in the Phineas and Ferb movie. Alternate dimension Doofenshmirtz lost his Choo-choo and was able to take over the tri-state area.

  26. It’s ok reindeer shed their antlers, but did you know males and females both have them?!

    Also, regarding SC not having a backup sleigh; Do you have any idea the property tax on a magical sleigh?

    Not to mention the liability insurance on a forced labor factory full of little people…

  27. Evening Shade (which does sound vaguely familiar) guy is Michael Jeter. Depending on the age of your audience he's also Elmo's Mr Noodle (I have a kid) or (for me) Udesky, the head of the doomed trio of bumbling mercs from the third Jurassic Park movie.

  28. Male reindeer shed their antlers just like a cat or dog sheds it's fur. They didn't have to kill them to get all those antlers.

  29. I've been going through a great deal lately. After years of denial, I've finally accepted that I want to pursue transition, and I've finally recognized those feelings I've buried all these years as dysphoria. Since then, the episodes have become more and more extreme to the point of being paralyzing.

    The reason I tell you this is because I wanted you to know that your videos are honestly one of my happy places. The warmth and positivity you exude, even in spite of your transparency about your own struggles with mental health, all make me feel so comfortable. I wanted you to know the good you did with these videos.

    You're a lovely person, Roses. Thank you for your work.

  30. how is it that I've never heard of this before? its just the sappy happy holiday musical I love. I must find it and buy it.

  31. Merry Christmas, PushingUpRoses! I wanted to ask you, since you do a lot of Murder She Wrote content, if you would please consider doing a video or two of Columbo. I've been binge watching the series on Amazon Prime lately and find it still quite enjoyable to watch. Have a great Christmas and be well! Love your vids! <3

  32. I kinda want to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Thank you Disney+, too bad the PS4 app sucks.

    Also why do all these musicals make fun of my inability to whistle?

  33. Always good to hear about something that nobody else is talking about. Who cares about Star Wars or Cats discussion at this point? Bo-RING. Gimme something brand new to lavish or scorn!

  34. I almost forgot about this movie until a few weeks ago when I was hit with deja vu
    I remember getting it out of a newspaper when I was like 5

  35. 9:06, if you would have added "Whistle While You Twerk" by Ying Yang Twins I would have literally died laughing…. close one.

  36. Happy New Year, Roses! May your 2020 include wonderful experiences, more great videos and lots of new subscribers! <3

  37. I’m sure you’ve seen it but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year What’s my Line. Angela Landsbury
    https://youtu.be/KAsJSI-Hbvo

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