Off Limits

The shining

And so Farrell is helping to push an endowed scholarship at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication in memory of Professor William McReynolds, Santa's alter ego. "I was a student of Bill's," says Farrell, a 1988 graduate. Not just any student, either, but a "non-traditional student," the kind of student this scholarship will aid. Farrell, who went on to become close friends with McReynolds and spoke at his memorial service last September, says she learned a lot from the popular professor -- not the least of which was that even editorial writers have to do research. "One of the assignments we got in a big tussle over was a movie review," she remembers. "He wanted us to see Santa Claus: The Movie. I didn't want to. He was right." After all, she points out, real reviewers don't have a choice of what to see and what not to see.

Just like real police investigators.

McReynolds was a slave to Santa long before he retired from the J-school and began playing Kris Kringle on the Pearl Street Mall and at holiday parties. His students even called him "Santa." "Bill's belief was that Christmas should be every day," explains Farrell. "The spirit of his life was a Santa Claus spirit -- and that was before he put on the red suit. He was the most kind, gentle man I ever met."

Farrell says she's meeting with the journalism school's new dean this week to talk about the scholarship, which has garnered only $6,545 toward a goal of $25,000. Hmmm. Maybe some of the $100,000 that the Globe gave the J-school in a settlement deal -- Jefferson County had brought charges against a tab editor for trying to buy a copy of the Ramsey ransom note -- could be earmarked as a gift for the Santa fund. (That Jeffco case also landed Fleet White in jail for contempt of court, making him the only person jailed in connection with the Ramsey case -- but that's another story.)

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Denver read about her when he read about the recorder being stolen. It's a shame that wasn't in the movie.


Denver found out about her when he found out about the recorder in the paper. I've learned lots about this in the past few months and feel sad that the movie wasn't more truthful about the facts.