Sunday, September 8, 2019
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) released Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol on Tuesday, December 18, 1962. My mother loved Mr. Magoo, and delivered me Friday, October 5, 1962, so I may have watched Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol during my first Christmas season, whether I remember it or not. What I do remember, is watching (and enjoying) it as a child. Just as watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! became an October/Halloween tradition for me, watching Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol become a December/Christmas tradition, as did watching other, live-action, black and white adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, on television. My mother also gave me a copy of the book (probably an abridged adaptation), which I read.
Years passed; I grew up, and joined the U.S. Army, which sent me to Afghanistan to serve at Bagram Airfield, from August, 2006 to February, 2007 (part of Operation Enduring Freedom VII). During that Christmas season in Afghanistan, U.S. military and Dalsey, Hillblom, and Lynn (DHL) personnel performed a theatrical adaptation of A Christmas Carol at the Base Chapel.
This performance impressed me so much that, while serving at Victory Base Camp near Baghdad, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, in the winter of 2008 and 2009, I started collecting copies of every adaptation of A Christmas Carol I could, on Video Home System (VHS) and Digital Video Disc (DVD).
By January, 2017, I owned copies of sixty-six adaptations of A Christmas Carol. Now I own, perhaps, a hundred. The earliest version I currently own is a silent, black and white adaptation from 1901, starring Daniel Smith, in the form of an .mp3 file. The earliest adaptation I have on DVD, is from 1910, produced by the (Thomas) Edison Film Manufacturing Corporation - yes, the man who invented the light bulb. I have copies of adaptations from every decade since then, until my most recent adaptation, released in 2018, starring Pat Robertson. I intend to review and rate all of them, answering the following questions about each adaptation:
Title: (e.g., Scrooge, Ebbie, Ebenezer...)
Version: (starring/featuring the voice of/
Date/Year of Release: (e.g., Friday, October 5, 1962)
Format: (e.g., DVD, animated/live-action, feature-length, made for TV...)
Is this version reverent?
Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"
Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?
What does my wife think of it?
How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?
What dialect is used?
When and where does this adaptation take place?
Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?
Is this adaptation supernatural?
Is this adaptation "framed"? (No/Yes. If yes, explain; e.g., The Flintstone and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carols are framed because Fred Flintstone and Mr. Magoo play the role of Scrooge in plays.)
What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included? (So-and-so sings such and such. So-and-so's dance to...)
How attractive is the visual art? (The set/wardrobe/art is poorly done/adequate/excellent.)
How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another? (The transitions are poorly done/adequate/excellent.)
What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?
What extras are included on the tape or DVD?