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?