In this made-for-television production, featuring Fred Astaire in nine roles, the mysterious owner of a New York City costume shop rents Santa Claus suits to three very different men on Christmas Eve day, changing their lives for the better. The program begins with Gil Travis, a senator's chief aide, taking his limo toward Appleton's toy store, with his new chauffeur getting carried away in talking about Christmas. Gil is so busy that he gives the chauffeur $100 to pick out toys for his five-year-old son, Terry. Meanwhile, transient Stan Summerville learns that "bad dudes" Bruno and Babyskin are out to get him after he found the gun with which they held up a bank. Panhandler friend Eddie gives Stan the idea to dress up as Santa so that the criminals can't find him. At the same time, high school math teacher Bob Willis nervously looks at rings, wanting to propose to his neighbor and best friend Polly Primer. The jeweler lets Bob have the ring on consignment, inspiring him to wear a Santa costume to aid in his proposal. Later, the chauffeur convinces Gil to don a Santa suit to give the presents to Terry. Gil arrives at "Nick's Costumes" at the same time as Stan and Bob. There, Stan tells a story to the owner about how he used to be a restaurateur before success overwhelmed him. Stan talks about wanting to open another restaurant as soon as he gets some capital. Meanwhile, Babyskin and Bruno harass Eddie, looking for Stan. After getting in the Santa suit, Stan goes to a restaurant to get some food for "starving kids," finally revealing his identity to an old chef pal who hadn't recognized him in costume. Next, the shop owner garbs Bob, questioning him as to why he needs to be Santa. Bob reveals that his love is just a good friend and he isn't sure if she'll marry him. Bob worries that, since he is just a simple math teacher, he will struggle to please the jet-setting fashion model Polly. Bob describes her as "the most incredible woman in New York City," then worries about her wealthy suitor, Rod Sanborn. Rod thinks it time that Polly marry him, claiming, "It's now or never." Next, the shop owner tries to outfit Gil, but finds something wrong about the costume, refusing to let him leave until things are perfect and he is properly bearded. Then, Gil gets paged by his office, after which he tells the shop owner how much he needs to get done that day. The owner promises to bring a brand-new beard to his hotel room at 4:45 p.m., Meanwhile, Terry waits for his father to return home as he's consoled by his mother, Linda. At the same time, show biz veterans Dora and Dickie Dayton complain about their bratty grandchildren, Melissa and Lance, who've been left alone by their folks. Then, Santa Stan arrives at the Dayton door with a gun, wanting to rob the wealthy family. Meanwhile, Bob returns to his neighborhood to see Rod speaking with Polly. When Rod leaves, Bob addresses Polly. who reveals she has to work that night, Christmas Eve, at a fashion show at Macy's. Gil returns to work and Stan continues his holdup of the Daytons before he passes out unconscious from a dram of Scotch. Bob rehearses his spiel to Polly, who arrives at his door and surprises him. Polly asks Bob for advice on whether she should marry Rod. Bob is unsure what to say to Polly. Meanwhile, Gil dons his Santa costume and, just as he is about to leave to see Terry, the shop owner arrives with the beard. Gil is shocked when the shop owner states that he's read the novel Gil wrote long ago. Gil says he had to give up writing to earn money for his family. At the same time, Babyskin and Bruno continue accosting Eddie until he sees his chance to flee, leading them to a police officer. However, the pair soon catch up with their quarry. Meanwhile, the Daytons put Stan into bed, clean him, and feed him, surprisingly not calling the police. Accompanied by their butler Chandler, the Daytons show their performing skills to Stan, then discuss how they struck it rich in Enid, Oklahoma. The Daytons discuss how they plan to get Stan on his feet. Meanwhile, Bob practices how he will tell Polly to not marry Rod. Bob realizes Polly has already left for work and races after her. Linda comforts the sad Terry, who wonders if his father will ever arrive. Then, Gil shows up dressed as Santa, accidentally scaring Terry into running off. Feeling well again, Stan plans to make his departure but the Daytons encourage him to stay, wondering if he is in trouble. They even offer to give him a loan for all his needs. Later, Stan tries to convince Melissa and Lance that it would serve them well to act more like their kindly grandparents. Meanwhile, Bob arrives at Macy's, getting mistaken as the store's actual Santa and causing great confusion. At the same time, Gil tells Linda how the shop owner had read his book. He talks about their life while he was writing the book and how he never wanted to separate from her. That night, Eddie is forced to lead Babyskin and Bruno to the Daytons' home. Stan sees them coming and freaks out, wanting to find the gun while the Daytons just continue to sing. Babyskin and Bruno enter the mansion, wanting to retrieve the gun from Stan. Stan questions Melissa and Lance as to where they stashed the weapon. Meanwhile, Bob continues looking for Polly's fashion show, discovering that it's in Macy's basement. At the same time, Linda tries to explain to Gil why Terry was so scared of him. Linda criticizes Gil for not having seen Terry in eight months. Then, Bob arrives at the fashion show, demanding to speak to Polly as she works. Soon, craziness has ensued as Bob leaves the basement with Polly in tow. Back at the Daytons, Babyskin finally secures his coveted gun and he and Bruno claim they need to take Stan with them. Then, Melissa and Lance cause a scuffle which leads to Stan and the Daytons getting the drop on the two gangsters. The police arrive and arrest Babyskin and Bruno for robbing the bank. Stan even gets reward money for apprehending them, now able to invest in another restaurant and start anew. As Stan leaves the Daytons, Eddie reveals how the gangsters found the Dayton house, and why he later reported them to the police. Stan doesn't care though, wanting his buddy to follow him to San Francisco. Meanwhile, Bob tells Polly to not marry Rod but instead marry him. Polly roundly agrees and soon is kissing Bob, admitting that she has always been in love with the math teacher. Gil visits with Terry, surprised to learn that his son can already write. As Linda beams, Gil decides to postpone work, staying behind to play a game with Terry and tell him a story. The shop owner seems satisfied after a job well done as he prepares for Christmas. Finally, he morphs into Santa Claus, waving to Terry as he flies into the night aboard his sleigh. Commercials deleted.


  • DATE: December 23, 1979 Sunday 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:37:28
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:53892
  • GENRE: Drama
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV, 1979


    • Dick Clark … Executive Producer
    • Al Schwartz … Co-Executive Producer
    • Lee Miller … Producer
    • Corey Allen … Director
    • George Kirgo … Writer
    • Leonard Gershe … Writer
    • Peter Matz … Music by
    • Norman Gimbel … Music by
    • Diane Arnold … Choreographer
    • Fred Astaire … Cast, Costume Shop Proprietor/Chauffeur/Policeman/Cab Driver/Jeweler/Floor Walker/Choral Director/Street Vendor/Santa Claus
    • Gary Burghoff … Cast, Bob Willis
    • John Byner … Cast, Stan Summerville
    • Bert Convy … Cast, Gil Travis
    • Tara Buckman … Cast, Polly Primer
    • Brooke Bundy … Cast, Linda Travis
    • Eddie Barth … Cast, Babyskin
    • Ron Feinberg … Cast, Bruno Betinger
    • Nanette Fabray … Cast, Dora Dayton
    • Harold Gould … Cast, Dickie Dayton
    • Danny Wells … Cast, Chandler
    • David Greenan … Cast, Rod Sanborn
    • Ray Vitte … Cast, Eddie
    • Majel Barrett … Cast, Ms. Forsythe
    • Andre Gower … Cast, Terry Travis
    • Debbie Lytton … Cast, Melissa
    • La Torre, Tony … Cast, Angelo
    • Eddie Ryder … Cast, Hans
    • Ted Thurston … Cast, Clerk
    • Sasha Von Scherler … Cast, Shopper