The Mall Santa is way over a hundred years old, despite the ‘A Christmas Story’/The Simpsons pilot/Billy Bob smearing you’ve recently seen. Check out 1947’s ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’ for heaven’s sake. But whether it was Colonel Jim or someone else, keep in mind the dressed-up fakir you sat on to snap a cry-your-eyes-out pic started as a Salvation Army recruit ringing a bell and begging alms for the poor outside the meccas of marketing.
Check out the bell-ringer folk ballad from Larry Nestor: “The Kettle.” This finger wagger should tweak your capitalistic conscience, but tends to fall flat. Proselytization should bring a little more impact.
A sad, tinny recording of the Yogi Yorgeson revisitation of “The Street Corner Santa Claus” barely does justice to the classic sentimental 1954 oompah novelty.