'Miracle on 34th St.' Santa and reindeer up for auction
This is no ordinary Christmas decoration. Created for the 1947 classic "Miracle on 34th Street" with Natalie Wood, the eight reindeer and sleigh-riding St. Nick have a short but memorable cameo in the opening scene of the movie. As window dressing in the shop of Lillian Schary Waldman Interior Decoration, the arrangement startles a passerby named Kris Kringle (played by Edmund Gwenn), who points out errors in the composition, only to be dismissed as a kook.
Spoiler alert: That kook turns out to be the real Santa Claus.
This piece of film history will be auctioned by movie memorabilia specialist Profiles in History during its 43rd Hollywood auction on Dec. 17 and 18.
The piece was consigned by a private collector with what's believed to be one of the largest Christmas movie-themed collections in the world. "It's papier-mâché and a little crusty, but beautifully constructed by the 20th Century Fox props department," Profiles in History owner Joe Maddalena said. Indeed, the wire-armature reindeer have a sleek mid-century flair that is somewhat reminiscent of the figurative papier-mâché sculptures by the late Hollywood designer Tony Duquette.
It is expected to sell for $20,000 to $30,000 -- a lot of jingle for a 10-inch-high Kringle, his flying companions and a hand-painted balsa-wood sleigh. "It's one of the few pieces from the movie that has survived," Maddalena said. "In my 26 years in this business, I have never seen a costume or anything else from this timeless film."
Also featured in the auction: More than three dozen props from another holiday favorite, Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
-- David A. Keeps
Photo credit: Profiles in History