Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Announcing Dickensfest 2012!

John Leach illustration of the Ghost of Marley visiting Scrooge  (1843) 
A note from ye olde bloggers:
February 2012 marked the bicentennial of Charles Dickens, one of the greatest authors who ever lived and referred to by some as "the man who invented Christmas."  

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) -  "The Man Who Invented Christmas" 
This review begins "Dickensfest 2012." We will watch and review as many adaptations of A Christmas Carol as possible during this Holiday season.

The Ghost of Christmas Present comes to call on Scrooge -  John Leach (1843) 
We're presuming that if you read this blog, you have some familiarity with the story of the Charles Dickens novella which was first published in 1843.  A miser named Ebenezer Scrooge terrorizes his employee and has little regard for his fellow human beings, until he is visited by three spirits who show him the error of his ways, causing Scrooge to wake up a changed man on Christmas morning. We plan to point out differences in adaptations, what changes are made to the story, who plays a better Scrooge, etc.

Patrick Stewart as Scrooge (1999) 

Mr. Magoo as Scrooge with Gerald McBoing-Boing as Tiny Tim (1962) 
And there have been adaptations of A Christmas Carol as long as there has been a film industry. The earliest known adaptation was released in 1901 under the title Scrooge, Or Marley's Ghost. Sadly, no complete prints of that film exist, but half of the 11 minute film can be found on youtube.

Reginald Owen's Scrooge meets Marley's ghost in this 1938 film adaptation
Television productions of the story have also been around since the dawn of TV.  Several live performances of A Christmas Carol were transmitted in the 1940s.

Ebenezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) and Mr. Baldrick (Tony Robinson) in "Blackadder's Christmas Carol" (1988) 
We will be covering various live action and animated adaptations. We'll include episodes of TV shows (such as Family Ties , Blackadder and WKRP In Cincinnati) that parody or pay homage to Dickens' story.
So we'll be breaking from our usual format in these Dickensfest reviews. 

The Real Ghostbusters meet some Dickensian spirits in "Xmas Marks The Spot" (1986) 

Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) meets the Ghost of Christmas Past in a 1975 episode of Sanford and Son
In addition to the many versions of  A Christmas Carol, we will also look at some adaptations of Dickens' other Holiday stories, such as "The Cricket On The Hearth" (published in 1845) and "A Christmas Tree" (published in 1850).

A Dickensian Christmas Cricket (Rankin Bass, 1967)
Plus, we'll look at Holiday films/episodes/specials where Dickens appears as a character, such as Doctor Who.
The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Charles Dickens (Simon Callow) in  "The Unquiet Dead" episode of Doctor Who  (2005) 
We're also excited to announce that some of our friends will be guest-blogging about their favorite Scrooge-adaptations.
Henry Winkler in An American Christmas Carol (1979) 
Bill Murray and Carol Kane in Scrooged (1988)
We hope you will enjoy our exploration of some of the many Dickens adaptations that have been produced and hope you'll be inspired to seek out some of them for yourselves this holiday season.   The message of the story still resonates, hence the dozens and dozens of adaptations that we'll be sampling from this month.

Edward Woodward and George C. Scott in a 1984 adaptation of A Christmas Carol 
--  J.A. Morris & RigbyMel 


bga said...

My husband's favorite Scrooge is Alistair Sim (The Christmas Carol, 1951).

Unknown said...

The finest production of A Christmas Carol is the version with George C.
Scott as Scrooge - the tale was finally treated with the dignity it deserves. Now, if we could somehow get the Mrs. Dilber character from the Alastair Sim version in there...