- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 23, 2006

Each week the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free, interactive sounds and action.

Santa cyber-cinema

Actor Tim Allen dons the red suit and hat for hopefully his final appearance as the jolly fat man in Disney’s latest film, “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.”

Those intrigued on this Christmas Eve by its plot about Santa’s struggle against Jack Frost will appreciate the movie’s official Web site (https://adisney.go.com/disney pictures/santaclause3/index. html) which takes them to a smattering of activities found within a pair of North Pole locations.

First, Santa’s Village offers 360-degree tours of the facility, accompanied by narration from the owner. Visitors can look and zoom into areas in the living room, classroom, village and bakery.

Additionally, the location’s Workshop offers a pair of really silly games on which to waste time. Players can either Whack a Jack by targeting and throwing presents at him or, in the tradition of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, have Santa box Frost in Jungle Bell Brawl.

I also enjoyed a Blooper clip found in the Videos section that showed how Mr. Allen and comedian Martin Short had way too much fun making the movie.

Next, under Frostmas Village, the online fun continues with pictures from the film and the normal lineup of downloadable screen savers, wallpapers and Buddy icons. Under Chill Zone, visitors find more stuff to do as they compete in a Gift Grab to help Santa snatch presents off a conveyor belt before Frost gets to them.

Rudolph meets Regis

Nothing quite warms the cockles of a heart during Christmas eve like a rendition of a classic holiday song emoted by former Joey Bishop sidekick and current talk-show host Regis Philbin.

OK, maybe not, but those who stop by the Christmas Classics’ Web site (www. christmasclassics.tv) are privy to a music video of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that features a stop-motion-animated version of Mr. Philbin crooning at the North Pole.

Within a cartoon reminiscent of the classic Rankin and Bass style from the 1970s, viewers get to see Regis, Kelly Ripa, Gelman, Rudolph, Bumbles and even Donald Trump, who stops by to select Rudolph to guide his sleigh. (Man, that guy owns everything.)

While at the site, visitors also will want to watch stop-motion-animated videos of Mariah Carey singing “Santa Clause Is Comin’ to Town” and Destiny Child’s version of the Rudolph tune.

Additionally, information on classic 1960s and 1970s holiday cartoons is available and includes smaller-sized video clips from “Frosty the Snowman,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and “Santa Clause Is Comin’ to Town.”

Norad tracker

Youngsters eagerly anticipating the arrival of their favorite fellow with a long white beard this evening need to stop by the North American Air Defense Command (Norad) Tracks Santa site (www.norad santa.org) to follow the trail of a sleigh guided by nine tiny reindeer.

Through the use of radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighters, the U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for aerospace defense offers its yearly service to monitor his arrival with free visual recon.

While at the site, visitors also can learn about Santa, put together a puzzle, listen to nine holiday-themed musical selections from the Air Force Academy Band, and print out six coloring pages and multiple map quadrants.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail ([email protected]). Joseph also writes a Web-exclusive column for The Washington Times’ Web site, where he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www. washingtontimes.com/family times/romperroom.htm.

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