For a story that was written way back in 1843, it’s amazing how popular it is. Many versions of the story has been produced from everything from Mr. Magoo to Barbie. A Christmas Carol was originally produced as a novella by Charles Dickens. It is said that the book was written during the Victorian era where people were longing for forgotten Christmas traditions and new traditions, such as the Christmas tree and greeting cards, were being introduced.
The story is simple one, but many versions have missed the point of the original text. For instance, “Humbug” was actually a term meaning “deceitful efforts to fool people” and “pretending a false sincerity.” In essence, Scrooge already knew that he didn’t care about anyone else but himself but he also believed that this was true of all people. In his eyes, he felt that he was the only one being truthful. So, to say “Bah Humbug” was to mean, “You are a phoney. You don’t really care for others.”
Here is a brief history of some of the most prominent, tasteful, odd and even strangest versions of ACC that have been produced over the years.
|Photo: Paul’s Animatograph Works|
Possibly the first film adaptation of the story created in the UK. It is only 6 minutes and 20 seconds long in length.
|Photo: Worldview Entertainment|
Scrooge: Marc McDermott
While slightly longer than the 1901 version, this silent film still only clocks in at only 10 minutes.
Scrooge: Reginald Owen
MGM released a record-breaking 375 prints of the film so that as many people as possible could see it during the Christmas season. It featured Gene, Kathleen and June Lockhard.
|Photo: George Minter Productions|
Scrooge: Alastair Sim
Often regarded as the best film version ever. Mr. Sims and Michael Hordern would reprise their roles as Scrooge and Marley for the animated version in 1971.
|Photo: United Productions of America|
Scrooge: Mr. Magoo (Jim Backus)
The song “People” from the musical, Funny Girl, was originally planned to be used in this TV special, but the animation had already been completed. It later became the first hit for Barbra Streisand.
|Photo: Waterbury Films|
Scrooge: Albert Finney
While Finney was 34 years old at the time, Michel Medwin played his nephew, even though he was 46 year old!
|Photo: Richard Williams Productions|
Scrooge: Alastair Sim (again!)
This animated movie was originally a made-for-TV special, but it was released in theaters and is the only “Carol” to win an Oscar.
Photo: Canadian Broadcasting Co.
Scrooge: Rich Little
Impressionist, Rich Little, did a one-man show where he portrayed each character as a famous celebrity including W.C. Fields as Scrooge. Unfortunately, the special was accompanied by a bad laugh track.
|Photo: Walt Disney Productions|
Scrooge: Scrooge McDuck
Disney waited until 1983 to create it’s version of ACC. In this short, Mickey Mouse plays Bob Cratchit, Goofy is Jacob Marley’s Ghost and Donald Duck is Scrooge’s nephew - which he is in “real life.”
|Photo: Entertainment Partners, LLC|
Scrooge: George C. Scott
Traditionally, Scrooge is seen mostly in his nightgown, slippers and cap. However, in this version, he wears dress-slacks, a dress-shirt and a vest throughout.
|Photo: Warner Bros./Hanna Barbera|
Scrooge: Mr. Spacely
Merely just another episode of the Jetsons TV series where the story is presented in “the future” with Mr. Spacely replacing Scrooge.
|Photo: Paramount Pictures|
Scrooge: Bill Murray
This story is given a modern twist with Bill Murray playing Frank Cross, who runs a TV station which is planning a live adaptation of ACC. Though a comedy, it is rather dark and not as funny as it should have been given the cast.
|Photo: Jim Henson Co.|
Scrooge: Michael Caine
This Muppet adaptation is surprisingly accurate to the original story. Every character is played by a Muppet except for the lead which was played by Michael Caine.
|Photo: Warner Bros./Hanna Barbera|
Scrooge: Fred Flintstone
This adaptation takes place in the town of Bedrock where Fred is playing Scrooge on stage.
This less-than-faithful adaptation features a couple of dogs trying to save Christmas from Carface and an evil spirit that wants to use dogs all over the world to ruin Christmas forever. It was also the 3rd film in the “All Dogs” franchise.
|Photo: RHI Entertainment|
Scrooge: Patrick Stewart
Stewart traded in his Star Trek uniform to don the top hat a cane of Scrooge. The made-for-TV movie was produced after a successful theatrical readings of ACC on Broadway and London.
|Photo: VH1 Television|
Scrooge: Vanessa Williams
This remake turns the story on its head with Vanessa Williams playing Ebony Scrooge, Kathy Griffin as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Chilli Thomas as Marli Jacob.
|Photo: ABC Family|
Scrooge: Tori Spelling
Yet another modernized version with Tori Spelling as a cranky TV talk show host. It also starred William Shatner and Gary Coleman. Quality television for sure.
|Photo: Hallmark Entertainment|
Scrooge: Kelsey Grammar
Known for yeas as the jovial Dr. Fraiser Craine, Kelsey Grammar steps into the role of Scrooge. This primetime Emmy winner featured original music by Alan Menken.
|Photo: Toon City/Warner Bros.|
Scrooge: Daffy Duck
In this version, Daffy Duck is the greedy proprietor of the Luck Duck Mega Mart and Bugs Bunny is a last minute shopper.
|Photo: Sesame Workshop|
Scrooge: Oscar the Grouch (Who else?)
Oscar the Grouch is visited by three ghosts in an attempt to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
|Photo: Mattel Entertainment|
Now there is proof that Barbie CAN have a bad day. Here, she portrays the role of Eden Starling, a singing star that forces her fellow performers to work on Christmas Day.
This version of the story sounds like a nightmare with Dora teaching Swiper a lesson with the help of Santa Claus with “all new” musical numbers.
|Photo: Walt Disney Pictures|
Scrooge: Jim Carrey
One of the best versions of the story. It features Jim Carrey in a variety of roles using motion capture technology. It is faithful to the original tale and has stunning 3D effects.
|Photo: Sony Pictures Animation|
Used as marketing ploy to sell DVDs of the movie “The Smurfs,” this short is featured as a bonus. In 20 minutes the blue guys attempt to tell the ACC story with Grouchy stepping in for Scrooge.