Mickey's Christmas Carol

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Mickey's Christmas Carol
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBurny Mattinson
Story by
  • Tia W. Kratter
  • Burny Mattinson
  • Tony L. Marino
  • Ed Gombert
  • Don Griffith
  • Alan Young
  • Alan Dinehart
Based onA Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Mickey Mouse
by Walt Disney
Ub Iwerks
Produced byBurny Mattinson
Edited byJames Melton
Armetta Jackson
Music byIrwin Kostal
Animation by
Layouts by
Backgrounds by
  • Jim Coleman
  • Brian Sebern
  • Kathleen Swain
  • Tia W. Kratter
  • Donald A. Towns
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
  • December 16, 1983 (1983-12-16)
(with The Rescuers)
Running time
26 minutes
CountryUnited States

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 American animated Christmas fantasy featurette directed and produced by Burny Mattinson. The cartoon is an adaptation of Charles Dickens's 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, and stars Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge. Many other Disney characters, primarily from the Mickey Mouse universe, as well as Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio (1940), and characters from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) and Robin Hood (1973), were cast throughout the film. The featurette was produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution on December 16, 1983, with the re-issue of The Rescuers (1977). In the United States, it was first aired on television on NBC, on December 10, 1984.[1]

Mickey's Christmas Carol was largely adapted from the 1974 Disneyland Records audio musical An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol. The musical featured similar dialogue and a similar cast of characters.[2]

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1984, but lost to Jimmy Picker's Sundae in New York.[3] It was the first nomination for a Mickey Mouse short since Mickey and the Seal (1948).


On Christmas Eve, a greedy miser, Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) resents the merriment of Christmas. He refuses to give money to a panhandler outside his counting house, declines his nephew Fred (Donald Duck)'s invitation to Christmas dinner, and dismisses two gentlemen (Rat and Mole) fundraising aid for the poor. His overworked and underpaid employee, Bob Cratchit (Mickey Mouse), who Scrooge pays just a little extra to do his laundry, requests to have half of Christmas Day off, to which Scrooge reluctantly accepts on the condition that Cratchit is docked half a day's pay. When Scrooge goes home, he is visited by the ghost of his seven-years-dead partner Jacob Marley (Goofy). Marley informs Scrooge that as punishment for his greedy ways, he is condemned in the afterlife to carry long and heavy chains, and warns that the same thing will happen to Scrooge; he tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits and that he should listen to them and do what they say, lest his chains become heavier than Marley's.

At one o'clock, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past (Jiminy Cricket), who takes him back in time to his early life. They visit his time as an employee under Fezzywig (Mr. Toad) who throws a Christmas party and the young Scrooge in love with Isabelle (Daisy Duck). However, the Ghost shows Scrooge how over time, he came to love money more than Isabelle and as a result, Isabelle left him when he foreclosed the mortgage on their honeymoon cottage. The ghost reminds a distraught Scrooge he fashioned these memories himself. As Scrooge laments over his past actions in bed, he is visited by the gigantic, merry Ghost of Christmas Present (Willie the Giant), who takes Scrooge to Bob Cratchit's house. Scrooge sees that their Christmas dinner for their family of five consists of barely enough food to feed one person, and becomes especially concerned when he sees Bob's ill son Tiny Tim (Morty Mouse). The Ghost hints that if things don't change for the family, Tiny Tim will die and then disappears. As Scrooge begs for clarification, he is transported to a cemetery, where he meets the Ghost of Christmas Future, a silent, cloaked, cigar-smoking figure. When Scrooge inquires about Tiny Tim, the Ghost points to Bob and his family mourning at Tiny Tim's grave. As a devastated Scrooge asks if this event can be changed, he sees two gravediggers (Weasels) who are amused that no one attended the funeral of the man they are burying. As the gravediggers leave to rest, Scrooge asks the ghost who the grave belongs to. The Ghost reveals the tombstone bearing none other than Scrooge's name and, after revealing his face (Pete), shoves him into the grave while dubbing him "The richest man in the cemetery". As his coffin opens, shooting out flames, the terrified Scrooge vows he will change before falling into the coffin, only to find himself in his bedroom on Christmas Morning.

Gleeful that the spirits gave him a second chance, he makes plans to make amends. He ventures out to spread happiness and joy around London, donating a sizable amount of money to the gentlemen he earlier spurned and accepts Fred's invitation to Christmas Dinner and then goes to the Cratchit house to surprise Bob's family with a turkey dinner and Christmas toys. At first, putting on a stern demeanor, Scrooge reveals he brought food and gifts for them and intends on raising Bob's salary and making him his partner. Scrooge and the Cratchits happily celebrate Christmas.


Opening titles for Mickey's Christmas Carol illustrated by Michael Peraza Jr., in sepia tone with Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit.

Main cast[edit]

Voice actor Character Role
Alan Young Scrooge McDuck Ebenezer Scrooge
Wayne Allwine Mickey Mouse Bob Cratchit
Hal Smith (speaking) and Hannes Schroll (yelling) Goofy Jacob Marley's ghost
Eddie Carroll Jiminy Cricket Ghost of Christmas Past
Will Ryan Willie the Giant Ghost of Christmas Present
Pete Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Clarence Nash Donald Duck Fred, Scrooge's nephew
Patricia Parris Daisy Duck Isabelle ("Belle" in the novella)
None (characters have no spoken dialogue) J. Thaddeus Toad Fezzywig
Minnie Mouse Emily Cratchit
Millie or Melody Mouse[4] Martha Cratchit
Morty and Ferdie
Peter Cratchit
Dick Billingsley Tiny Tim
Hal Smith Ratty Collectors for the poor
Will Ryan Moley
Wayne Allwine Otto Beggar
Wayne Allwine and Will Ryan Weasels Gravediggers


Opening street scene[edit]

Party at Fezzywig's[edit]

Closing street scene[edit]

The film also includes unidentifiable dog, fox, pig, squirrel, bear, raccoon, goose, and chicken characters. The DVD print reveals that the graveyard scene also includes tombstones containing famous performers, including Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bob Mills, and Warren Oates.


This was the first original Mickey Mouse theatrical cartoon produced in over 30 years. With the exception of re-releases, Mickey had not appeared in movie theaters since the short film The Simple Things (1953). The graveyard sequence was also the first time Disney tested the animation photo transfer process.[6] Many additional characters seen in the film had also not appeared in a theatrical cartoon for several decades such as Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow. The film was also one of the final times Clarence Nash voiced Donald Duck before his death in 1985. Nash was the only original voice actor in the film as Walt Disney (Mickey Mouse) had died in 1966, Pinto Colvig (Goofy) in 1967, Bill Thompson (Scrooge McDuck), Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket) and Billy Gilbert (Willie the Giant) in 1971, and Billy Bletcher (Pete and the Big Bad Wolf) in 1979. It also marked the first time in animation that Scrooge McDuck was voiced by actor Alan Young (who had first voiced the character on the musical album); Young would continue to be the primary voice actor for McDuck, most notably in DuckTales, until the actor's death in 2016.


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 8/10 based on 8 reviews.[7]

Film critic Leonard Maltin said that rather than being "a pale attempt to imitate the past", the film is "cleverly written, well-staged, and animated with real spirit and a sense of fun".[8] Robin Allan stated that the film calls to mind the similarities between Walt Disney and Charles Dickens, in terms of both the work they produced and their work ethic.[9]

However, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert of At the Movies gave it "two thumbs down" as they were both disappointed. Siskel felt there was not enough emphasis on Mickey's character, in spite of the title, and that it did not rank with most of Disney's full-length animated features. Ebert stated that it lacked the magic of visual animation that the "Disney people are famous for" and that it was a "forced march" through the Charles Dickens story without any ironic spin.[10]

Mickey's Christmas Carol was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Animated Short Subject of 1983,[11] losing to Jimmy Picker's Sundae in New York.

Colin Greenland reviewed Mickey's Christmas Carol for Imagine magazine, and wrote that "it is surprising how entertaining this is, perhaps because it is actually a Scrooge McDuck movie (of course), with the effete rodent very much in a minor role as Bob Cratchit".[12]


Mickey's Christmas Carol premiered in the UK on October 20, 1983, alongside a re-issue of The Jungle Book (1967), and was released in the US on December 16 of the same year, with a Christmas 1983 re-issue of The Rescuers (1977). It has been broadcast on various television stations throughout the years. It started on NBC (1984–1990) with 12 new additional sepia title cards illustrated by Michael Peraza Jr. to match the 12 he had done for the original film to help bridge the segments together. It went on to air on The Disney Channel (1987–1999; 2002–2006), and CBS (1991–1998), occasionally on ABC (2000) before moving permanently to ABC Family (2001–). It was aired on Toon Disney in 2008. The run on ABC Family includes Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too and was part of their "25 Days of Christmas", but with several abrupt edits including the "Chocolate Pot Roast with Yogurt" line and Marley tripping on the stairs and falling down, letting out a Goofy holler. In Canada, it airs on CBC, and has been aired every Christmas season since 1985. It typically airs the Sunday before Christmas. For many years, the short film would air on CBC as a one-hour program, as mentioned below. In addition, Mickey's Christmas Carol would be shown unmatted. In recent years, however, Mickey's Christmas Carol is only aired in a half-hour time slot and in high definition matted widescreen, presumably to be more suited for modern television screens.

The aforementioned broadcasts in the 1980s and early 1990s spanned a full hour, with the first half consisting of the following older cartoon shorts: Donald's Snow Fight, Pluto's Christmas Tree, and The Art of Skiing. Each of the four items in the program was preceded by a narrative wraparound segment in which one of the Disney cartoon characters (Donald, Pluto (with Mickey translating), Goofy, and Mickey, respectively) would talk about his favorite Christmas, thus leading into the cartoon in question. From 1988 onwards, The Art of Skiing was excluded from the annual broadcast, replaced at the end of the hour by one segment or another. The 1993 telecast, for example, featured a behind-the-scenes featurette on The Nightmare Before Christmas. Later broadcasts simply reduced the timeslot to half an hour, showing Mickey's Christmas Carol by itself.

A clip of this film in Swedish was shown on Donald Duck's 50th Birthday to illustrate Donald's international appeal.

This short film was featured in Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse. The shot of Mickey holding Tiny Tim's crutch is also seen in the opening of Epic Mickey.

Home media[edit]

The short was released several times on VHS and LaserDisc throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It was released in the Mini-Classics line on September 28, 1989, September 25, 1990 and October 7, 1994. It was re-issued in the Favorite Stories line on October 2, 1996. Some releases featured The Making of "Mickey's Christmas Carol" as a bonus.

The short is also featured, without its opening credits, in the direct-to-home release, Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. It is also available on the ninth volume of the Walt Disney Classic Cartoon Favorites DVD collection, as well as in the Walt Disney Treasures set Mickey Mouse in Living Color – Volume 2; the latter is the only DVD to be released in its theatrical 1.66:1 widescreen aspect ratio, but it is simply cropping the 1.33:1 version. The short is also on the Disney Animation Collection Volume 7 DVD (1.33:1). On November 5, 2013, the 30th Anniversary Edition of this short was released on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray, but it was further cropped to 1.78:1 widescreen[13] and featured a heavy use of noise reduction. Various other shorts were included in the DVD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1989). Animated TV Specials: The Complete Directory to the First Twenty-Five Years, 1962-1987. Scarecrow Press. pp. 266–267. ISBN 0-8108-2198-2. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ Dickens' Christmas Carol by Disneyland Records at MouseVinyl.com
  3. ^ Oscars (2016-02-04), Short Film Oscar® Winners in 1984, retrieved 2019-07-11
  4. ^ The film does not specify which mouse plays her.
  5. ^ The film does not specify which mouse plays whom, but the 1974 musical identifies Tiny Tim as Morty.
  6. ^ Disney News Magazine Fall 1984: Walt Disney Productions
  7. ^ "Mickey's Christmas Carol". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  8. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New American Library. p. 79. ISBN 0-452-25993-2.
  9. ^ Allan, Robin (1999). Walt Disney and Europe. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 261. ISBN 0-253-21353-3.
  10. ^ At the Movies, December 1983
  11. ^ Oscars (2016-02-04), Short Film Oscar® Winners in 1984, retrieved 2019-07-11
  12. ^ Greenland, Colin (December 1983). "Film Review". Imagine (review) (9). TSR Hobbies (UK), Ltd.: 45.
  13. ^ "Mickey's Christmas Carol Blu-ray + DVD Review (30th Anniversary Edition)". www.dvdizzy.com. Retrieved 2019-07-11.

External links[edit]