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How did the Santa Tracker begin? ABC News tells the story:
“Every year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa’s journey around the world, using radar, satellite, fighter aircraft and, of course, a “Santa Cam.”
The tradition began as so many do – by accident. In 1955, a little girl who saw a Sears and Roebuck ad called in to what she thought was a Talk-to-Santa hotline. But she did not hear Santa Claus on the other end of the line.
Instead, she heard Col. Harry Shoup. He was working in the CONAD ops center (NORAD’s predecessor) and was shocked to hear a child’s voice. According to a NORAD spokesperson, John Cornelio, only two people had the number for that line – the president and the four-star ommander.
As it turned out, the department store had printed the wrong number in the ad and alas, a tradition was born.
“It’s the innocence of the story that makes it so special,” Cornelio said. And Harry Shoup was given a new title- he is known as Santa Colonel.”