Dear friends and fans of Santa Claus: The Movie and the world of Alexander and Ilya Salkind in general:
In October 2004, it was my sad duty to inform my fellow Vendequm of the passing of one of our dearest and most honorable friends, Christopher Reeve. Those of you who regularly visit us here at KringleQuest.com are aware of my reference to Kal-el, son of Jor-el, in my Introductory remarks, wherein I comment: "Considering the ways whereby [Alexander Salkind] helped our next-door neighbor here at the Top of the World --- some of you may know this particular fellow as Superman --- well, let us simply say that we Vendequm owe Alexander and his son Ilya a debt of gratitude that we shall never be able to repay."
Such is likewise the case with dear Christopher. He, more than anyone else, was the greatest connecting link between Santa and his friends and the magic of the Salkinds per se. Undoubtedly, no one (including Santa) was more devastated by the news of this loss than Ilya Salkind himself. Upon learning of Christopher's passing, Ilya issued the following statement:
Undoubtedly, we here at North Pole Headquarters agree. Christopher's last project as director and executive producer was the A&E Original Movie The Brooke Ellison Story, now available on DVD and Blu-ray from A&E Home Video. At the time of Christopher's passing, he was supervising and directing a CGI theatrical feature, which in the beginning had the working title Yankee Irving. It tells the story of a father and his baseball-loving son who journey on a 1000-mile quest to help Babe Ruth and the Bronx Bombers take home the World Series Championship. Now available on DVD and Blu-ray from 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment, the film has since been retitled Everyone's Hero, which Fox released theatrically in the U.S. and Canada; with the long-since defunct IDT Entertainment handling those responsibilities worldwide. We Vendequm hope that, when you watch the incredible journey of Everybody's Hero, it will build a dream in your heart the way it built a dream in Christopher's.
Of course, we know that the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation will continue to serve as a source of Truth, Justice and Inspiration to fans of Santa Claus: The Movie, as well as all the adventures of the Reeves, the Salkinds, and everyone else that helped make the world believe that Superman could fly.
The Reeves' battle for stem cell research goes on; indeed, as Dr. Philip Stieg, Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center has said: "One cannot measure in words what Christopher Reeve has done. His was a journey that spanned the realms of science and social policy..... He took the injury that paralyzed him and used it as a means to aid the force of Mankind."
We here at North Pole Headquarters were making our usual toymaking plans when we learned of Christopher's passing; we'd heard so many wonderful stories over those nine fantastic years about his courageous battle to make the world better, in spite of his paralysis. With Dana long since gone as well, let me reassure young Will that Santa's spirit will remain with him, and with his older brother and sister, Matthew and Alexandra, as well as Chris' own older brother Ben, and their dear parents, Frank and Barbara.
Needless to say, of course, for some of our young friends, Christopher Reeve will always be the ONE enduring image of the Man of Steel. There are some of you who are reading this, in fact, for whom Chris was practically the ONLY Superman you would ever know! Still, it took the efforts of a lot of people --- beginning, first and foremost, with a webmaster nicknamed Hiphats --- to keep the memory and legacy of Superman: The Movie alive. We were especially saddened that the passing of Christopher Reeve occurred as we were marking Santa Claus: The Movie's 20th Anniversary; no doubt KringleQuest's Founding Elf, Richard Washington, would have enjoyed the pleasure of exploring Christmas in the world of the Reeves themselves.
For others, however --- in particular, our friends at INSITE --- Chris will always be Richard Collier, the Midwestern-born playwright drawn by impulse to the love of the beautiful Elise McKenna, portrayed by Jane Seymour. Somewhere in Time is, as far as we Vendequm are concerned, the test run that led its director, Jeannot Szwarc, to the world of the Salkinds --- and it's the reason why they chose Jeannot to work with us Elves!
In closing, however, just a few simple thoughts on why Christopher Reeve matters: for a little time, he took the power of the imagination and made it his own when he declared himself, in his own words, the "temporary custodian of a prominent piece of American popular culture." Clearly, he believed in taking seriously the spirit of Superman, to say nothing of the Man of Steel's eternal devotion to Truth, Justice and the American Way. In a universe changed forever in part through the events of September 11th, 2001, that spirit is needed now more than ever. And I would say, even for an Elf of my old age, if he succeeded beyond measure in taking that spirit seriously, he is worthy of an entire cache of imperishable tales, songs and stories.
Again, our condolences and good wishes to all of Chris and Dana's families and friends, both in and out of the Hollywood community. You have my every assurance that Santa will especially remember you all this and every Christmas. We certainly miss them both more than words can adequately express.