Christmas Movie Blogathon: Miracle on 34th Street


“Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.”

So, why did I pick Miracle on 34th Street for my Christmas Blogathon post? Well, to be perfectly honest, I thought it would be a breeze to write. How could it not? It’s such a well-known and timeless classic – heartwarming, charming, upbeat – and it delivers an important message about faith, generosity and the true spirit of Christmas.  So why have I been agonizing for days about writing this post??? Well, I’d have to say it’s precisely because Miracle on 34th Street is such a perennial Christmas classic — I hardly know where to begin or if I can even do it justice…

That said, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and rather than recounting the story here for everyone, I’d like to celebrate the wonderful cast (big and small) and some of their signature quotes instead… So here goes…


The Stars:

Maureen O'Hara as Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street 1947Maureen O’Hara as the beautiful and pragmatic Doris Walker

“I think we should be realistic and completely truthful with our children, and not have them growing up believing in a lot of legends and myths, like Santa Claus for example.”


John Payne as Fred Gailey in Miracle on 34th Street 1947 John Payne as attorney and all-around-good-guy-next-door

“Look Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.”


Natalie Wood as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Natalie Wood as Doris’ adorable and skeptical daughter

 “If you’re really Santa Claus, you can get it for me. And if you can’t, you’re only a nice man with a white beard like mother says.”


Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle Santa Clause in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Edmund Gwenn as the mysterious man who believes
that he’s, well, you know…

“Not only IS there such a person, but here I am to prove it.”

(The role of Kris Kringle aka Santa was originally offered to Gwenn’s cousin Cecil Kellaway, who turned it down.)


And a cast of colorful character actors…

Percy Helton as drunk Santa with Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street

Percy Helton (right) as the intended, but quite inebriated, ‘parade’ Santa

“It’s cold. A man’s got to do something to keep warm.”


Philip Tonge as Julian Shellhammer, head of Macy's toy department in Miracle on 34th Street

Philip Tonge as, Julian Shellhammer, the Head of Macy’s Toy Department

“Here’s a list of toys that we have to push. You know, things that we’re overstocked on. Now, you’ll find that a great many children will be undecided as to what they want for Christmas.  When that happens, you immediately suggest one of these items. You understand?”


Alvin Green as Alfred in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Alvin Greenman in his Feature Film Debut as Alfred, the young Macy’s employee and YMCA Santa

“There’s a lot of bad ‘isms’ floating around in this world.  But one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it’s the same. Don’t care what Christmas stands for, just make a buck, make a buck.”


Thelma Ritter debut role in Miracle on 34th Street 1947Thelma Ritter in her Feature Film Debut as a harried, and quite surprised, mom and shopper

“Listen. I want to congratulate you and Macy’s on this wonderful new stunt you’re pulling. Imagine, sending people to other stores. I don’t get it… Imagine a big outfit like Macy’s putting the spirit of Christmas ahead of the commercial. It’s wonderful. Well I’ll tell you, I never done much shopping here before… but I’ll tell you one thing, from now on, I’m going to be a regular Macy’s customer.”


Harry Antrim as Mr. Macy in Miracle on 34th St 1947

Harry Antrim as the practical Mr. R. H. Macy
(The real Mr. R. H. Macy died on March 29, 1877, 47 years before the first annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, and quite a long time before the movie ‘takes place’.)

“I admit that on the face of it this plan sounds idiotic and impossible. Imagine Macy’s Santa Claus sending customers to Gimbels. But, gentlemen, you cannot argue with success. Look at this. Telegrams, messages, telephone calls, the governor’s wife, the mayor’s wife…over 500 thankful parents expressing undying gratitude to Macy’s…We’ll be known as the helpful store, the friendly store, the store with a heart, the store that places public service ahead of profits. And, consequently, we’ll make more profits than ever before.”


Porter Hall as Granville Sawyer in Miracle on 34th Street 1947Porter Hall as the nervous, ill-tempered store ‘psychologist’, Granville Sawyer

“After giving this man a comprehensive examination, it’s my opinion he should be dismissed immediately… I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. He should be placed in a mental institution.”


James Seay as Dr. Pierce in Miracle on 34th St 1947

James Seay as Dr. Pierce, a geriatrics physician at the Brooks Memorial Home for the Aged where Kris lives

“People are institutionalized to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Mr. Kringle is incapable of either. His is a delusion for good. He only wants to be friendly and helpful.”


Herbert Hayes as Mr. Gimbel in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Herbert Heyes as the equally practical Mr. Gimbel

“Every shopper in New York City… suddenly thinks of Macy as a benevolent soul, thinking only of the welfare of the public. And what does that make Gimbel? Nothing but a profiteering money-grubber. Well, two can play at this game. From now on, if we haven’t got what the customer wants, send him back to Macy’s.”


Jerome Cowan as District Attorney Thomas Mara in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Jerome Cowan as District Attorney Thomas Mara

“Kringle has been declared a menace to society by competent doctors. It’s my duty to protect the state of New York and see that he’s put away.”


William Frawley as Charlie Halloran in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

William Frawley as Charlie Halloran, Judge Harper’s political advisor
(yes, that would be Fred Mertz 🙂

“You go on back in there and tell them that you rule there is no Santy Claus. Go on. But if you do, remember this: you can count on getting just two votes, your own and that district attorney’s out there.”


Gene Lockhart as Judger Harper in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Gene Lockhart as the honorable Judge Henry X. Harper.
(In real-life, Lockhart was the father of actress June Lockhart.)

“But, Charley, listen to reason. I’m a responsible judge. I’ve taken an oath. How can I seriously rule that there is a Santa Claus?”


Jack Albertson in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Jack Albertson as a postal worker
(yes, from Chico and the Man)

“Hey, here’s a new one. I seen them write to Santa Claus — North Pole, South Pole, and every other place. Here’s a kid writes ‘Kris Kringle, New York County Courthouse.’ Can you beat that?”


And just some quotes to wrap things up (Big Spoiler Alert):

case dismissed miracle on 34 st

“Your Honor — every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore, the Post Office Department, a branch of the federal government, recognizes this man, Kris Kringle to be the one-and-only Santa Claus!”

“Since the United States government… declares this man to be Santa Claus… this court will not dispute it. Case dismissed.”


Miracle on 34 st 1947

“You couldn’t get it because you’re not Santa Claus, that’s why. You’re just a nice old man with whiskers, like my mother said, and I shouldn’t have believed you.”

 “I was wrong when I told you that. You must believe in Mr. Kringle and keep right on doing it. You must have faith in him. I mean, faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. Just because things don’t turn out the way you want them to the first time, you’ve still got to believe in people.”


House in Miracle on 34th Street 1947

“This is my house Mommy, the one I asked Mr. Kringle for. It is! It is!  I know it is! My room upstairs is just like I knew it would be! Oh, you were right, Mommy. Mommy told me if things don’t turn out just the way you want them to the first time, you’ve still got to believe. And I kept believing and you were right, Mommy! Mr. Kringle is Santa Claus!”

“The sign outside said it’s for sale.  We can’t let her down.”


miracle on 34th st; cane in fireplace at house


And now for just a few fun facts… 

Miracle on 34th Street Home at 24 Derby Road, Port Washington, New York

The Miracle on 34th Street Home at 24 Derby Road, Port Washington, NY

The house shown at the end of the film is a 1703 square foot single family home built in 1943 at 24 Derby Road, Port Washington, New York. 

The film received a ‘B’ rating (morally objectionable in part) from the Legion of Decency because Maureen O’Hara played a divorcée.

The film won three Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn), Best Writing Original Story (Valentine Davies) and Best Writing Screenplay. It was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to Gentleman’s Agreement.

In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


Susan's Letter to Santa from Miracle on 34th St

Susan's Letter to Santa Miracle on 34th St


There are two versions of the book currently available on amazon, a used version of the original hardcover 1947 edition and the reprint edition from 2010:



A big Thank You to Chris (@StoryboxChris) of FamilyFriendlyReviews for hosting this wonderful Christmas Blogathon event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event so please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub


This entry was posted in Blogathons, Posts by Annmarie Gatti, Quotes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Christmas Movie Blogathon: Miracle on 34th Street

  1. Pingback: Christmas Movie Blogathon: Day 3 | Family Friendly Reviews

  2. You did it! You found the perfect way to write about the perfect movie.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Le says:

    This film is so lovely and heart-warming! I watched it for the first time on Christmas Eve of 2011. It was on TV this Christmas, too.
    You did a wonderful job showcasing the quotes. Very original post!
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Sound Effects In Movies | Introduction to Film

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