Santa Claus Visits Fair Park — 1969 and 1970

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The list is ready…

by Paula Bosse

Check out two charming film clips of Santa visiting kids in Fair Park on Dec. 20, 1969 and Dec. 23, 1970 (the links to the clips are below). He arrives, of course, in a helicopter. These events were sponsored by the Negro Chamber of Commerce.

From this clip’s YouTube description:

A Black Santa Claus lands via helicopter in Fair Park as a large crowd of predominantly African American children rush to meet him; children are seen on Santa’s lap as parents stand by; a box of wrapped apples is seen. (A “Black Santa” was an unusual sight in the 1960s, and the concept was much in the news in the 1969 Christmas season as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had issued a demand that department stores in Cincinnati hire African American Santas or face a boycott, and the story was widely covered around the country.) (Silent)

Watch the full 38-second (silent) clip on YouTube here. Below are some screenshots.

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Santa made a return visit the next year — again via chopper — on Dec. 23, 1970. An article appeared in The Dallas Morning News revealing Santa’s helper to be Issac Debois who was quoted as saying with a chuckle, “I’m the only black Santa Claus from the South Pole.” Watch the full 38-second (silent) clip here.

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Merry Christmas!!

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Sources & Notes

All images are screenshots from WFAA-Channel 8 news stories — from the WFAA Newsfilm Collection, G. William Jones Collection, Southern Methodist University.

The first clip (from 1969) is contained in the larger video on YouTube here — the specific short clip is here.

The second clip (from 1970) is contained in the larger video on YouTube here — the specific clip is here.

Read the Dallas Morning News story about the second visit in the DMN archives: “Santa Enjoys Happy Visit, With Gifts” (DMN, Dec. 24, 1970).

Find more Flashback Dallas posts on Christmas here and Hanukkah here,

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.