"South Park" began its life as a series of crudely animated short film called "The Spirit of Christmas," which Matt Stone and Trey Parker made while students at the University of Colorado. The first short, made with paper cutouts, featured several small boys witnessing an ultra-violent fight between Jesus Christ and Frosty the Snowman. It was all very amusing. When Brian Graden, a Fox executive, saw "The Spirt of Christmas," he gave Stone and Parker $1,000 to remake it as a personal video Christmas card he was going to share with friends. The central fight was changed to Jesus Christ fighting Santa Claus, with the conflict being resolved by words of wisdom from Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano. It was distributed in Christmas of 1995. The short soon broke out online — back when it took hours to download a five-minute short — and began causing a sensation on the cult circuit; this author saw "The Spirit of Christmas" at a Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation in 1996. The redux of "The Spirit of Christmas" codified the setting as South Park, Colorado, and introduced the characters to be carried into a "South Park" TV series that debuted on Comedy Central on August 13, 1997.