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Santa Claus Takes Credit for Being a Man of the '80s

December 11, 1987|JAMES MARNELL

Whether the world is ready for this new yuppie may be the question of the '80s. Santa Claus as a slimmed down, aggressive character? Well, it's the brainchild of Heller Breene ad agency of Boston who created an account for Santa just for fun. Mark Myers, associate director, said that the agency's creative lights will seek to bring the jolly old elf "into the 20th Century, slimmed down, aggressive, hungrier--a fantasy figure in touch with today's goal-oriented kids." Children today are more familiar with Ronald McDonald, the firm said in justifying its intention to spruce up Santa's image. In one ad, which is part of a campaign that has the slogan "More than a myth," the agency takes on the controversy of whether the man exists at all. "Member since 1167," reads the American Express mock ad. "It takes more than an above-average income and good repayment record to earn the American Express card. You have to be real. So if American Express gives Santa Claus credit, why can't you?"

--Officials in Benson, N.C., have some sobering thoughts about what they call a four-day drunken brawl. It's known officially as Mule Days, an annual September tribute to the mule. But what it's become is a swift kick in the pants to many of the town's 3,000 residents. "Citizens complain you've got horses up and down the street, manure all over the streets, . . . disrespectful people in the neighborhoods, riding horses through flower gardens that little old ladies have worked on all year," Mayor Charles Matthews said. However, town leaders have just voted to continue the festival, deciding to consider such corrective measures as installing more toilet facilities, restricting camping and setting up a new parade route that keeps animals out of neighborhoods.

--Maybe it was the breakfast. But Ajax, a pesky crow, owned by Sheriff Tony Woody of Hayesville, N.C., has disappeared, and Woody is thinking the worst. "He got gone about two weeks ago (last Monday). I fed him his breakfast and he left. I haven't seen him since," said Woody, who believes that perhaps an irate hunter has taken revenge. Hunting season started about the time that Ajax disappeared. "He probably dive-bombed them (hunters) and then flew up in a tree laughing at them, and they probably shot him," Woody said. "Somebody could have caught him and have him in a cage." Ajax, according to Woody, has always been a pest--if not a downright thief--dropping rocks onto cars, snatching shiny objects from pickup trucks and stealing clothespins from clotheslines. "I'd be afraid to offer a reward for him," Woody said. "My neighbors wouldn't stand for it. Didn't nobody like him but me."

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