Volume 91, Issue 54

Wednesday, December 3, 1997

Jack Frosh


The ghosts of Carols past

The spirit of A Christmas Carol has evolved from the legendary pen of Charles Dickens to inspire the likes of Disney's animators, a number of big-screen directors and even a large Canadian business. Here are just a few of the film, television and other adaptations that have continued the tradition of bah humbugging.

1951 (Scrooge) – This black and white film starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge has become an all-time classic Christmas movie. The actor's performance as the greedy miser left him immortalized as the Scrooge of all Scrooges. The film was also considered to have superior special effects for the 1950s.

1970 (Scrooge) – Nominations for two Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture and Best Actor, won by Albert Finney for his Scrooge performance) as well as four Oscars, made this musical adaptation a phenomenal movie success.

1972 (A Christmas Carol) – Chuck Jones directs the animation and Alastair Sim re-creates the voice of Scrooge in this Academy Award winning short film for ABC.

1983 (Mickey's Christmas Carol)– Walt Disney takes the role of Scrooge McDuck, a rich old miser-duck, to the theatres. McDuck was originally created in 1955 to mirror the Dickens' character.

1988 (Scrooged) – This modern big-screen adaptation would have made any Ebenezer proud – raking in $60.3 million at the box office. Bill Murray plays grumpy tycoon Frank Cross, who runs a TV station about to perform a live version of A Christmas Carol. Cross has little care for Christmas or his station's production until three ghosts ram some spirit into him.

1992 (A Muppet Christmas Carol) – Kermit the Frog (Bob Cratchit), Miss Piggy (Emily Cratchit), Fozzie Bear (Fezziwig/Fozziwig) and Michael Caine (Scrooge) bring this story to life ...er... puppets. This film by Jim Henson and Disney is narrated by Dickens himself (the great Gonzo).

Other TV adaptations and Scrooges:

1977The Honeymooners – Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason); 1979 An American Christmas Carol – Henry Winkler; 1981 WKRP in Cincinnati – Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump); Alice – Mel Sharples (Vic Tayback); 1983 The Dukes of Hazzard – Boss Hogg (Sorrell Brookes); 1986 Moonlighting – Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd); 1988 (Blackadder's Christmas Carol) – Ebenezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson).

Scroogebits – Canadian Tire has used Scrooge as a marketing tool for the past 15 years; Patrick Stewart (Star Trek) added to his acting repertoire by performing A Christmas Carol on stage entirely on his own last year.

To Contact The Focus Department: gazfocus@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997