NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

  
Via:  kavika  •  4 weeks ago  •  7 comments

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.
Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.
 
The Santa Tracker tradition started with this Sears ad, which instructed children to call Santa on what turned out to be a secret military hotline. Kids today can call 1-877 HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to talk to NORAD staff about Santa's exact location. 
Courtesy of NORAD 
Terri remembers her dad had two phones on his desk, including a red one. "Only a four-star general at the Pentagon and my dad had the number," she says.
"This was the '50s, this was the Cold War, and he would have been the first one to know if there was an attack on the United States," Rick says.

The red phone rang one day in December 1955, and Shoup answered it, Pam says. "And then there was a small voice that just asked, 'Is this Santa Claus?' "
His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.
"And Dad realized that it wasn't a joke," her sister says. "So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho'd and asked if he had been a good boy and, 'May I talk to your mother?' And the mother got on and said, 'You haven't seen the paper yet? There's a phone number to call Santa. It's in the Sears ad.' Dad looked it up, and there it was, his red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus."


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Kavika
1  seeder  Kavika     4 weeks ago

You have to love this story. The Colonel became famous for being the Santa Tracker.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
1.1  XDm9mm  replied to  Kavika @1    4 weeks ago
You have to love this story.

Most certainly.  It's great that he actually played along instead of blowing the kids off as all too many likely would have.

Now that man is a hero to so many kids who don't even know he existed.

 
 
 
Kavika
1.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  XDm9mm @1.1    4 weeks ago

The Colonel kids said he was strait laced but in this instance his heart was in the right place.

I found it particularly interesting that he took it to the next step when he found that the airman had drawn a sleigh on the board and he called the radio station. 

"Dad said, 'What is that?' They say, 'Colonel, we're sorry. We were just making a joke. Do you want us to take that down?' Dad looked at it for a while, and next thing you know, Dad had called the radio station and had said, 'This is the commander at the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object. Why, it looks like a sleigh.' Well, the radio stations would call him like every hour and say, 'Where's Santa now?' " Terri says.

Can you imagine the person at the radio station that took that first call...LOL, this is great. 

 
 
 
XDm9mm
1.1.2  XDm9mm  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    4 weeks ago
I found it particularly interesting that he took it to the next step when he found that the airman had drawn a sleigh on the board and he called the radio station. 

What really surprised me was the remf's at the Pentagon didn't bring him up on charges.   Maybe they realized the blowback for a fools errand like that would have made their own careers short lived. 

 
 
 
Kavika
1.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  XDm9mm @1.1.2    4 weeks ago

Exactly

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
2  sandy-2021492    4 weeks ago

Such a sweet story. 

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    4 weeks ago
Such a sweet story. 

It really is...

 
 
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