The Great Santa Claus Switch was a Christmas special featuring Jim Henson's Muppets, originally aired on CBS on December 20, 1970, as a special episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. As a gift for Jim Henson, Sullivan gave him a whole hour of his show for thanking him for four years of appearances on his weekly live telecast from the theater bearing his name in New York City.
The Great Santa Claus Switch was a full Henson production – written by Juhl, with music by Joe Raposo and puppets by Don Sahlin. The production also marked the first time Henson worked with Richard Hunt and Fran Brill.
The special has never been released on home video, but is currently available for viewing at the Paley Center for Media.
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The show, narrated by Ed Sullivan, begins at the North Pole with Santa Claus and his elves getting ready for another Christmas. However, Cosmo Scam has hatched a plan to kidnap Santa and take his place. As part of the plan, Cosmo plans to abduct Santa's elves (one at a time) and replace them with his evil henchmen.
- This special marks the very first appearance of the puppet that would later become Gonzo. He was then known as Snarl (or the Cigar Box Frackle) and would eventually be remodeled and reused for The Muppet Show.
|Actor / Muppeteer||Character|
|Art Carney|| Santa Claus|
|Jim Henson|| Fred the Elf|
|Frank Oz|| Thig|
|Jerry Nelson|| Thog|
|Richard Hunt|| Bing|
|John Lovelady|| Bong|
|Danny Seagren|| Gloat|
|Fran Brill||Snerf #4|
| Marilyn Sokol|
|Additional Muppet performers|
- Muppet Wiki: The Great Santa Claus Switch
- The Great Santa Claus Switch at the Internet Movie Database
- Christmas Specials Wikia contributor Tough Pigs' Transcript of The Great Santa Claus Switch