Sunday, 9 December 2007

Santa arrested.

I see that santas in Australia have been banned from crying HO-HO-HO as being some way politicial incorrect. They now have to say HA-HA-HA.

In 1986, by father got pulled by a policeman for playing 'Jingle Bells' while dressed as Santa Claus.

My brother had a toy shop and every year he had Santa arriving on different transport. In 1986 he had my father as Santa on the back of a truck with a tape recorder playing festive tunes. The parade was going well until a policeman stepped out and demanded to see their public broadcast permit. Actually my brother or the cop did not know that you do not need a broadcast permit as long as the vehicle is moving.

Anyway, the parade was allowed to proceed in silence.

There was a local reporter in the crowd, who got my father to pose behind an iron gate - 'Santa in jail'. This appeared in the Limerick Leader, then BBC Northern Ireland rang up and interviewed my father.

Next day my brother had a call from a producer in RTE (The Irish national TV company): "Have you presented your driving licence and insurance to the Gardai?" When Liam replied in the negative the producer asked him to delay it for a day.
On that day, my father, dressed as Santa, was filmed going into the police station. The seargent was not pleased with the policeman. "I've just had a call from my Superintendent and he has had a call from the Minister of Justice asking if we had anything better to do than in Kilmallock than going around arresting Santas" he said.

The RTE film was shown in the USA, Russia, Australia and South Africa. It made all the papers. I remember seeing it on the front page of The Sun, without realising that the story was about my father:-)

Naturally there was no charges, but the policeman was transferred to jail duties in Limerick Prison for several weeks.

My father had fan mail from all over the world for years afterwards.

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