Who is Old John? The writers wisely did not reveal exactly who - or what - old John was, but they dropped a few hints, not the least of which was the time setting of the show (note the original airdate). Viewers are meant to believe he is a supernatural being, and the choice to which they are guided is Santa Claus. The appearance is approximately right, and Nelson makes a point of noting they discovered him near Christmas Island. But we never know for certain who he is, or why he intervened in the young Prince's life.