A Christmas Carol (1954 TV musical)
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A one-hour version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol was presented on the CBS television anthology Shower of Stars on December 24, 1954. It was also one of the few American TV productions of the time telecast in England, in 1957. Unusually for the time, it was presented on film and in color. Unfortunately, only a black-and-white print seems to have survived, and it has been released on DVD. The commercials seen live during the program have also survived. The program is introduced on kinescope by host William Lundigan.
The production boasted a script and lyrics by noted American playwright Maxwell Anderson, and a score by Bernard Herrmann. Fredric March, in his only known portrayal of the role, starred as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Basil Rathbone portrayed Marley's Ghost.
The production featured few songs, but those it did feature forced the adapters to severely condense the story, especially the final third. Rather than having a Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the adaptation featured a bird resembling a crow or raven, who leads Scrooge to a graveyard in which he sees not only his own grave, but that of Tiny Tim.
The script added an unusual twist to the story in having the Ghost of Christmas Past (Sally Fraser) and the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ray Middleton) be portrayed by the same actors who played Scrooge's sweetheart Belle and his nephew Fred, respectively, and Scrooge not only notices the resemblance, but mistakes the Ghost of Christmas Present for his nephew.