Kiss Saves Santa: the Christmas cartoon that never was

Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas, or whatever you personally call this time of year.

If you've ever visited my site or blog before, you've probably noticed that I have a peculiar fascination with rare recordings and films related to rock music. My friend once joked that my website is about "albums that don't exist", his tongue-in-cheek description of my site about albums that are out of print. As we celebrate this holiday season, and as we congratulate Kiss on their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, I want to debunk the myth about a "rarity" that really, literally doesn't exist: a supposed TV Christmas special called Kiss Saves Santa.

Where does the myth of its existence originate? From a 2001 episode of Seth McFarlane's Family Guy: Season 3, Episode 16, to be exact. During this Christmas-themed episode of the irreverent animated series, the Peter Griffin character expresses a desire to watch a Christmas special called Kiss Saves Santa, an animated show-within-the-show in which the original make-up-clad members of Kiss are depicted as superheroes who save Santa Claus from pterodactyls. The four original members of Kiss (Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss) lent their voices to the episode. The Instant Video page for the episode mentions the Kiss cartoon as if it was the main plot point, even though it only makes up a tiny part of the full satirical episode. Here is a YouTube video that distills the three scenes from the fictitious Kiss cartoon from the Family Guy episode:

It seems that some people have mistaken Kiss Saves Santa for a show that was actually made in real life. If you Google the phrase "Kiss Saves Santa", you will see that people have posted questions about its existence on Yahoo Answers, among other sites. And if you look at the Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase, you will see "a real movie" and "1979" as suggested additional keywords. 1979! The myth even has a year attached to it, even though the Family Guy episode does not mention a year in which the special was supposedly produced. If you add that year into the Google search term, you will come across websites that actually suggest (jokingly, I presume) that the cartoon was a real 1979 production! Also, if you search on YouTube for "Kiss Saves Santa", the autocomplete suggests adding "full movie" to the search term, suggesting that people have searched for exactly that.

I must regretfully inform everyone that Kiss Saves Santa is not a real show. And that's a shame, because based on those three scenes, it looks like it would have made for one cool Christmas special. Darn it, I want to see how the band saved St. Nick from falling from that dinosaur nest!

Evidently, I am not the only person who feels this way. If you add "a real movie" into the Google search term, you will notice (among other things) a Facebook page and an online petition requesting that Kiss create a real full-length version of the cartoon.

I don't blame anyone for thinking -- and wishing -- that the show was real. It looks like something that the band really would have been interested in making in or around 1979, the same time period in which there were Marvel Comics magazines and a live-action made-for-TV movie (Kiss Meets The Phantom from 1978) which also depicted the quartet as superheroes. That's what makes this particular Family Guy gag so funny: it's believable to anyone who is familiar with how the Kiss brand works.

I stand with the Kiss fans who wish that Kiss Saves Santa was a real show, even if it might have become a rarity that I would have had to search out. As I said before, I love searching for rarities like that!

Realistically, if Kiss Saves Santa did exist, I imagine it would be available as part of the 2007 DVD box set Kissology Vol. 2: 1978-1991, which does include Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park. Now that movie is so bad that it's funny, but when I watched it on TV as a child, I thought it was great!