Premiered December 1, 1984.
“Like, bah humbag, the Ghost of Christmas Past is coming to haunt me!”
-Shaggy, playing Ebenezer Scrooge
It’s Christmas Eve and Scooby Doo (Don Messick
), his nephew Scrappy (Messick) and their mystery-solving pals are helping an orphanage produce their Christmas pageant, which will feature performances of A Christmas Carol
and The Nutcracker
Mrs. Fezziwig, the owner of the home, is grateful for the gang’s help. Tiny Tina, a resident of the orphanage, is excited when Fred (Frank Welker
) helps her put the Nutcracker on top of the Christmas tree.
Their seasonal spirits are dampened when millionaire Winslow Nickelby (Welker) and his cat Snowball (Welker) arrive. The orphanage used to belong to Nickelby and he intends to buy it back, which would leave the children with nowhere to live.
Mrs. Fezziwig refuses to sell, but Nickelby says he’ll take it over “one way or another.” Fezziwig assures the kids she'll never sell their home to Nickelby.
Later, while Scooby and Shaggy (Casey Kasem
) are rehearsing a scene from A Christmas Carol
, they’re interrupted by a “spirit” who calls itself the Ghost of Christmas Never! The ghost chases the gang outside into the snow.
When they go back inside the orphanage, the gans discovers that the stage and all its holiday decor have been trashed. Daphne (Heather North
) finds a lapel pin in the wreckage that bears the inscription “WN.” Everyone guesses that WN must stand for Winslow Nickelby and they decide to pay him a visit.
Scooby and friends overhear Nickelby say that his uncle left a valuable gem in the orphanage. While Nickelby has no legal rights to the orphanage, he says that his “friend” will force the orphans to leave their home. This leads Shaggy to believe Nickelby is “in cahoots” with the Ghost of Christmas Never.
The gang decides that the emerald is the key to discovering the identity of the ghost and saving the orphanage. When they search for the emerald, they find the ghost instead! The Ghost of Christmas Never disappears with the emerald, which makes solving the mystery at hand even more difficult.
Will Scooby and his friends solve the mystery and save Mrs. Fezziwig’s orphanage? Is Nickelby connected to the Ghost of Christmas Never? Will the ghost’s activities ruin the Christmas pageant? Will Nickelby find the spirit of Christmas in his heart and let the children stay in the orphanage?
J.A. Morris says:
I mentioned in our recent review of this series’ Halloween episode
that its regular cast only featured Scooby Doo, Shaggy, Daphne and Scrappy. This episode includes Fred as a guest star, but not Velma. So Velma fans, consider yourselves warned.
Just like the Halloween episode, “Nutcracker Scoob” is a typical episode of Scooby Doo, except that it takes place at Christmas. Lots of Christmas episodes feature references to A Christmas Carol
and music from The Nutcracker
ballet. This episode features both, you can't get much more Christas-y than that!
The stakes are upped a little bit too. I don’t remember other Scooby villains who wanted to force orphans out of their home! Perhaps that was added to make Winslow Nickelby even more Scrooge-ish. Nickelby and the Ghost Of Christmas Never are good antagonists for the gang and the orphanage.
Speaking of Scrooge, this episode features lots of references to A Christmas Carol
and other works by Charles Dickens. Fezziwig, the name of the orphanage’s owner, was young Scrooge’s mentor. Tiny Tina is a good stand-in for Tiny Tim. Nickelby takes his name from Nicholas Nickelby. However, Nickelby does not get visited by three spirits, “Nutcracker Scoob” features only one ghost.
“Nutcracker Scoob” includes the usual Scooby Doo chase scenes, with the added fun of the Christmas setting. That means the chases involve skis and horse-drawn sleighs!
I especially liked the sleigh that looks like the Mystery Machine.
Plus, the chases and other scenes are accompanied by holiday tunes like “Deck The Halls,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” and “Jingle Bells”
We try to avoid spoilers here, even for 35 year-old episodes. I won’t spoil the detail the ending of “Nutcracker Scoob,” but since it was part of a Saturday morning animated series, and it’s a Christmas episode, I don’t think it’ll come as a shock that a happy holiday will be enjoyed by everyone before the episode is over.
It’s worth noting that this is the final episode of The New Scooby Doo Mysteries
. It’s also the last appearance of Fred (as a grownup) until 1998.
I enjoyed this Christmas episode, but I would’ve enjoyed it more if Velma had been around. Otherwise, “Nutcracker Scoob” has comedy, action, good villains and it should provide solid Yuletide entertainment for everyone.
J.A. Morris’ rating:
3 candy canes.