First released in the U.S. 16 December 1983
In this animated adaptation from the Disney Studios, all the principals are "played" by Disney characters! Hence, Scrooge McDuck (Alan Young), appropriately enough plays Ebeneezer Scrooge, Mickey Mouse ( Wayne Allwine) is Bob Cratchit, Goofy is Jacob Marley, Nephew Fred is Donald Duck (Clarence "Ducky" Nash) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are played by Jiminy Cricket, Willie The Giant (from Mickey And The Beanstalk) and Pegleg Pete respectively. Tiny Tim is "played" by Morty Fieldmouse (one of Mickey's nephews) and many smaller roles are taken by other familiar characters.
|A special introductory portrait of Mickey created just for this short|
* Scrooge's remark that Marley left him money for funeral costs, and Scrooge opted to bury his friend at sea to make a profit on the bequest.
* In addition to his usual mistreatment of Crachit, Scrooge also makes him do his laundry and fusses at Bob for trying to use a piece of coal to thaw out his inkwell.
* Scrooge's interactions with the three spirits are brief but mostly intact. The major departure here involves Scrooge's relationship with his fiance Isabelle (named Belle in the book and "played" by Daisy Duck in this adaptation). Not only does Scrooge's obsession with money and work lead to the end of their engagement, he forecloses on Isabelle's cottage! (That's harsh!)
|Scrooge (literally) breaks Isabelle's heart.|
|The contents of Scrooge's bag are way cooler than dirty laundry!|
If this isn't the first adaptation of A Christmas Carol that I saw as a child, it is certainly one of the earliest that I remember seeing. (My family went to see it at the local movie theater -- I think it was packaged as the short before the 1983 re-issue of The Rescuers). I enjoyed it then and continue to enjoy it now.
|Donald Duck as Nephew Fred enthusiastically enters Scrooge's counting house|
There are some great gags employed, my favorite being when the Ghost of Christmas Present picks up a streetlight and proceeds to use it like a flashlight. I also like the discovery of the toys at the end and I think the "Oh What A Merry Christmas Day" song that plays over the opening and closing credits is an overlooked holiday gem.
|Pegleg Pete as the Ghost of Chirstmas Future|
|Scrooge visits the Crachit home on Christmas Day.|
4 candy canes
|The Ghost of Christmas Past (Jiminy Cricket) whisks Scrooge away|
Unlike my co-blogger, I did NOT see this when it was new and didn't see it at all until the DVD release. I'm a big fan of Dickens and the Disney characters, so it's easy for me to enjoy this short.
|Mr. Toad as Fezziwig.|
|Willie the Giant as the Ghost of Christmas Present searching for the right house to visit|
|Young Scrooge and Isabelle at Fezziwig's party|
I'm surprised this never quite became a tv "classic" because it's a nice version of Dickens' tale and it could also motivate kids to seek out the book for the "real" story.
J.A. Morris' rating:
4 candy canes