Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol
MagooChristmas.jpg
2007 DVD cover
Based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Written by Barbara Chain
Directed by Abe Levitow
Voices of Jim Backus
Morey Amsterdam
Jack Cassidy
Royal Dano
Paul Frees
Composer(s) Jule Styne
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Lee Orgel
Henry G. Saperstein
Running time 53 mins
Production company(s) United Productions of America
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original network NBC
Original release December 18, 1962

Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol is a 1962 animated musical holiday television special produced by UPA. It is an adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, featuring UPA's character Mr. Magoo as Ebenezer Scrooge. The special first aired on December 18, 1962 on NBC.

Jim Backus provides the voice of Magoo, with additional voices provided by Paul Frees, Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, and Jack Cassidy.[1] The special is directed by Abe Levitow and features songs composed by Jule Styne, with lyrics by Bob Merrill.[2] It is the first animated holiday program ever produced specifically for television, predating Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by two years.[3][4]

Plot[edit]

Mr. Magoo is heading to a theater on Broadway, where he is starring as Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical production based on A Christmas Carol. Due to Magoo's nearsightedness, he arrives thirty minutes late and accidentally injures the director ("It's Great to Be Back on Broadway").

Scrooge is a miserly money lender in Victorian London on Christmas Eve, counting money while his clerk Bob Cratchit is underpaid and has no coal for his fire ("Ringle, Ringle"). After rudely refusing two men who ask him for a donation to charity, Scrooge reluctantly allows Cratchit to take the holiday off. Scrooge goes home and gets ready for bed, but is visited by the ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley, who has been dead for seven years. Marley is bound in heavy chains due to his misdeeds in life, and warns Scrooge that he risks the same fate unless he heeds the advice of three spirits who will visit him over the course of the night.

The Ghost of Christmas Present visits Scrooge and takes him to observe Cratchit and his family, who are counting their blessings despite their poor situation ("The Lord's Bright Blessing"). The Ghost warns Scrooge that Cratchit's young son Tiny Tim, who is sickly, will not survive until next Christmas if things do not change. The Ghost of Christmas Past visits Scrooge next and takes him back to his boyhood, where Scrooge was a lonely schoolboy ("Alone in the World"). The Ghost also shows him Belle, a woman he had a relationship with before she left him due to his desire for money ("Winter Was Warm").

Scrooge encounters the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and is shown a vision of the future, where an unloved man has recently died. Scrooge sees his belongings being sold to Old Joe, the local rag-and-bone man ("We're Despicable (Plunderer's March)"). Scrooge begs to be shown "tenderness connected with death", but discovers that Tiny Tim has died. The Ghost takes Scrooge to a cemetery and shows him his own grave, revealing that this deceased man is him. Scrooge realizes in anguish that he has spent his life poorly, and repents ("Alone in the World (Reprise)").

Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning with a renewed purpose. He meets the two men from the previous day and makes a generous donation, then anonymously sends Cratchit a Christmas turkey. He later visits Cratchit to give him a raise in pay and help nurse Tiny Tim back to health, and shares Christmas together with them ("The Lord's Bright Blessing (Reprise)").

The musical concludes and the audience applauds. Magoo nearsightedly thinks he is bringing the director out on stage, but really he is bringing him backstage as the stage's props fall on him. Magoo proudly exclaims, "Ah, Magoo, you've done it again, and by George, I've brought down the house!" and wishes both his audience and the television audience a merry Christmas.

Cast[edit]

Songs[edit]

  1. "It's Great to Be Back on Broadway"
  2. "Ringle, Ringle"
  3. "The Lord's Bright Blessing"
  4. "Alone in the World"
  5. "Winter Was Warm"
  6. "We're Despicable (Plunderer's March)"
  7. "Alone in the World (Reprise)"
  8. "The Lord's Bright Blessing (Reprise)"

Background[edit]

Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol was produced by UPA in its last days as an animation studio, following its acquisition by Henry G. Saperstein. UPA later produced a television series titled The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, in which Magoo portrayed other literary characters. The series ended soon after as UPA was unable to mass-produce cartoons for television.[1]

The special was rerun on NBC throughout the Christmas season until 1969. NBC aired the special again in 2012, with scenes depicting Magoo in the framing device cut in order to make room for commercials. The CW subsequently acquired the broadcast rights to the special; the original special aired in its entirety in 2014, but the NBC version aired the following year.

Distribution rights to the special are currently held by NBCUniversal Television Distribution following parent company Comcast's acquisition of DreamWorks Classics, formerly known as ClassicMedia. It has been released on VHS and DVD by DreamWorks and Sony Wonder.

Popular culture[edit]

Clips from the special were seen on television monitors in Scrooged. Animal Collective's debut album Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished is named for one of Scrooge's lines in the special.

The special was parodied as "Mr. McGrew's Christmas Carol" in The Simpsons episode "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" .

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kurer, Ron (2007-10-25). "The Nearsighted Mister Magoo". Toon Tracker. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  2. ^ "The Official Jule Styne Website". Julestyne.com. 1962-12-14. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  3. ^ Hill, Jim (November 28, 2006). "Scrooge U: Part VI -- Magoo's a musical miser". JimHillMedia.com. Retrieved 2006-12-25.
  4. ^ Murray, Noel (2010-12-20). ""You will be visited by 69 spirits": 23 TV episodes based on "A Christmas Carol" | TV | Inventory". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  5. ^ "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol Cast & Crew List". The Big Cartoon Database. Retrieved 2007-12-21.

External links[edit]