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.


This page about a Christmas special or an episode from a television series with a Christmas theme is in need of a longer synopsis. You can help the Christmas Special Wiki by expanding this synopsis.

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
Cosmo Scam
Jim Henson Fred the Elf
Frank Oz Thig
Snerf #1
Jerry Nelson Thog
Richard Hunt Bing
Miss Kitty
John Lovelady Bong
Snake Frackle
Snerf #2
Alarm Frackle
Danny Seagren Gloat
Snerf #3
Fran Brill Snerf #4
Marilyn Sokol
Byron Whiting
Greg Antonacchi
Cary Antebi
John Byrum
Additional Muppet performers


External links

Jim Henson Productions and Related Shows
Sesame Street and related shows Christmas Eve on Sesame StreetA Special Sesame Street ChristmasElmo Saves ChristmasElmo's World: Happy Holidays!A Sesame Street Christmas CarolElmo's Christmas CountdownChristmas with Ernie & Bert • "Monster Monster Day" • Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas • "A Furchester Christmas"
The Muppets John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas TogetherA Muppet Family ChristmasThe Muppet Christmas CarolIt's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas MovieA Muppets Christmas: Letters to SantaLady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular • "Single All the Way" • "A Very Muppet Babies Christmas" • "Summer's Super Fabulous Holiday Surprise"
Other shows and specials The Great Santa Claus SwitchEmmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas • "The Bells of Fraggle Rock" • The Christmas Toy • "Refrigerator Day" • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree • "Mrs. Zabarelli's Holiday Baton" • "A Berry Bear Christmas"
Merry Christmas from Sesame StreetJohn Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas TogetherA Sesame Street ChristmasElmo Saves Christmas: Holiday FavoritesA Green and Red ChristmasBob! from Sesame Street: Christmas Sing Along