19 details you probably missed in ‘Elf’

19 details you probably missed in ‘Elf’

The elves in Santa’s workshop are making some recognizable toys and games.

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Bob the Builder and Mr. Potato Head are on their workbenches.

Warner Bros.


The scenes in Santa’s workshop show viewers what kind of toys they’re making. 

The elves can be seen making and carting around various brand-name toys, including Monopoly board games, Bob the Builder dolls, and Mr. Potato Heads.

The elf costumes may look familiar to fans of another classic Christmas movie.

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They are similar to the ones in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Warner Bros.; Rankin/Bass Productions


Fans of classic Christmas movies may recognize that the costumes in “Elf” look like the ones from 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Both movies show elves in belted green tops with white fur on the sleeves and neck, yellow leggings, black shoes, and pointy hats.

Leon the Snowman is also reminiscent of a character from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

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Leon the Snowman in “Elf” (left) and Sam the Snowman in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (right).

Warner Bros.; Rankin/Bass Productions


Before he leaves the North Pole, Buddy talks to Leon the Snowman, who looks very similar to Sam the Snowman from the Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Both snowmen wear dapper clothing, have goatees, and carry something in their right hands. They were also both voiced by famous singer-songwriters. 

Other fun details in the scene include Leon talking about the types of clouds that create snow while explaining where he came from, and the fact that Leon spelled backward is Noel. 

Buddy’s father’s secretary has a pretty strange phone call.

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Amy Sedaris as Deb in “Elf”

Warner Bros.


Walter’s secretary, Deb, is distracted by a phone call when Buddy first visits his father’s office, which allows him to walk by her unnoticed before he returns to ask for directions. 

Viewers who listen closely will notice that the conversation she’s having on the phone is pretty bizarre.

The person on the phone asks if she can declaw eight kittens, an unexpected request to make of a secretary at a publishing house.

There are real books and book posters in Walter’s office.

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“The Sea King” is a real children’s book.

Warner Bros.


When Buddy visits his father, Walter Hobbs, at his publishing job, there are plenty of real children’s books (and promotional posters) in his office that were released a little before “Elf.”

For example, Jane Yolen’s “The Sea King,” which was published in 2002, can be seen on top of a bookshelf.

Gimbels closed years before the movie was made.

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Gimbels was a department store in New York City.

Warner Bros.


When the security guards at Walter’s office throw Buddy out, they suggest he go back to Santaland at Gimbels.

The highly festive store is heavily featured throughout the rest of “Elf,” but viewers may not have realized that Gimbels was a real department store in New York City that closed in 1986.

The film used the Textile Building on Fifth Avenue for the wide exterior shots of Gimbels, and the decorations were reportedly added using CGI.

The manager at Gimbels wears a name tag that was meant for a different actor.

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Faizon Love played the manager at Gimbels.

Warner Bros.


Faizon Love’s character wears a name tag that reads “Wanda,” but he’s only ever referred to as “Gimbel’s Manager” in the film’s credits.

According to the “Elf” episode of

Netflix
‘s “The Holiday Movies That Made Us,” producer Jon Berg said that they originally wanted Wanda Sykes to play the role, but she dropped out at the last minute.

It was Love’s decision to wear the “Wanda” name tag — which they preemptively made for Sykes — in the film.

Buddy recreated the Mona Lisa on an Etch A Sketch.

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He recreated the famous painting while decorating the department store.

Warner Bros.


Buddy decorates Gimbels and manages to transform the Santaland area overnight.

In the iconic montage, he creates fake snow out of pillows, cuts paper snowflakes and chains, and recreates the New York City skyline out of Legos.

All of Buddy’s decorating work is impressive, but one of the most unexpected decorations is the version of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa he recreated on an Etch A Sketch.

There’s an anti-tobacco poster at the doctor’s office.

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It’s a real add that circulated in the early 2000s.

Warner Bros.


While Walter talks to Buddy’s doctor, Buddy chats with a girl in the waiting room.

They discuss Santa while sitting in front of a poster that reads, “Right decisions, right now.”

This is an actual anti-tobacco campaign slogan that was popular at the time.

They never explain how Buddy got all of the sugary food he eats at the Hobbs’.

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They either already had them, or we missed an eventful shopping trip.

Warner Bros.


When Buddy stays at the Hobbs’ house, he eats plenty of sugary meals.

However, we don’t see Buddy go food shopping, so it’s unclear if he had an unseen, eventful trip to the grocery store, or if the Hobbs family somehow had all of the treats already.

A more likely explanation is probably that Emily, Walter’s wife, had to go and pick up bottles of maple syrup, boxes of Pop-Tarts, and bags of candy for Buddy. 

Buddy’s schedule of cozy winter activities includes another branded item.

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There are lots of toy and food brands featured in the movie.

Warner Bros.


Buddy makes a schedule on an Etch A Sketch of all the fun winter activities he wants to do with his dad.

The list includes making snow angels, going ice skating, and having a “Toll House cookie-dough eating race.”

In addition to all the name-brand toys featured in the film, Toll House is one of many visible food brands. 

Will Ferrell actually ate Buddy’s super-sweet meals.

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It would be hard to fake those shots.

Warner Bros.


Buddy eats plenty of sugary concoctions throughout the movie, but his most memorable meal may be the spaghetti he tops with marshmallows, Hershey’s syrup, M&M’s, and chocolate Pop-Tarts.

And according to the Mirror, Will Ferrell, who played Buddy, actually had to eat the food in the scene.

Buddy’s coworker wasn’t putting syrup in his coffee.

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Mark Acheson played “Mailroom Guy” in “Elf.”

Warner Bros.


During Buddy’s brief time in the mail room at his father’s office, he strikes up a friendship with a coworker.

When Buddy sees him pouring something from an amber-colored bottle into his coffee, he assumes that the coworker is drinking maple syrup and asks for some to put in his own cup. 

But based on how sleepy and emotional Buddy and his new pal get after they drink their coffees, it seems that it was actually alcohol. 

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