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October 4, 2015

A holiday tradition: Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 24th 2009 8:02AM
Every year during the holidays, we all enjoy different Christmas movies and evergreen TV specials. One that they don't run often any more but I remember with great fondness is Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. Fortunately, it's now available on DVD, and if you think you've seen the best of Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge but haven't seen this one, I urge you to reserve judgment till you do. Don't laugh! I'm absolutely serious. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is a fantastic version of Dickens' short story.

Sure, sure, the animation is nothing to write home about. But the script and those songs are! It was 1962. NBC aired the one-hour cartoon special on December 18. It wasn't just any cartoon either. The idea was that Mr. Magoo was cast in a stage production of A Christmas Carol, so the entire enterprise had a theater angle.

And for the occasion, Broadway composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill provided the words and music. Two years after Magoo, they were writing Funny Girl, creating a score that included "Don't Rain On My Parade" and "People."

For Magoo, their songs were charming and touching. Here's one of the best ballads, sung by a young Scrooge:

What I remember best about this holiday special, and the reason I return to it each year, is that it's nostalgic and heartwarming. It's what you want to see this time of year. It's the same reason that I enjoy A Christmas Story and It's A Wonderful Life and Elf. They're on my holiday viewing list, too.

What about you? What do you watch every Christmas?

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Count me as another one who considers this my favorite xmas special. The songs, the theater framework, the portrayal of the Cratchet family and the ghosts rank this as good as any live-person version. Huge credit also goes to Jim Backus, whose portrayal of Magoo's transformation from miserable to horrified at his future to exhuberant and generous really moving to watch.

December 26 2009 at 3:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am sure that this was the first version of Christmas Carol I saw. It's also my favorite. I saw it as a kid back in the sixties, and didn't see it against until the midseventies. I own the DVD so I don't have to worry about missing it anymore. This ranks up there with A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as can't miss TV at Christmas time.

December 24 2009 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also, many people don't realize that it was the first animated Christmas special. There was an interesting "Making Of" book recently published. http://www.amazon.com/Magoos-Christmas-Making-Animated-Special/dp/0692001557/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261701334&sr=1-1

December 24 2009 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am always amazed at how many people immediately get the reference to "razzleberry dressing". Especially people that were born long after the '60's.

December 24 2009 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jlfive's comment

How true. However, because of Tiny Tim's speech impediment in the Magoo version, I always say it "wazzlebeawy dwessing."

December 24 2009 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mr Heat Miser, Mr Hundred And One And Mr Cold Miser,Mr Ten Below - I love this one!!!!

December 24 2009 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sir Yuck-Yuck

every Christmas I watch

~ the Homecoming : a Christmas story (this 1971 Tv movie was a pilot for the Waltons)
~ a Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (I was 10 when this first aired and I have watched it every year since)
~ Miracle at Moreaux (M*A*S*H*'s Loretta Swit as a nun who helps 3 Jewish children escape some Nazi baddies during Christmas time actually right in the middle of a Christmas play being performed by the Christian children)
~ a Judy Collins Christmas at the Biltmore estate (classic Christmas carols sung by the lovely voice of Judy Collins)

well that is it for me *~*Merry~*Christmas~*~*~

December 24 2009 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Allison, thank you! This is a personal favorite and I haven't seen it in years. this song was one of my favorites and being the age that I was I never made the connection to Funny Girl, my favorite movie when I was a young girl. It makes sense now.

Merry Christmas!

December 24 2009 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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