Monday, December 14, 2009
...Is none other than Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol. The first big animated Christmas TV special, Magoo's Christmas Carol debuted in December 1962 and is special to me for several reasons. Mr Magoo introduced the Charles Dickens classic to me. The ghosts appear out of order from the book, but it always seemed to me that the ghosts of Christmas Present, Past, and Future was the logical order. Second; the music of Jule Styne and lyrics of Mike Merrill was top notch and unforgettable. This tandem went on to write the music for the play "Funny Girl" which made Barbra Streisand a star. In fact, the Streisand smash hit "People" which was written for Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol did not make it into the final production and then was used in "Funny Girl". Lastly, the show featured actual prominent stage actors such as Jack Cassidy (the father of Sean Cassidy of The Partridge Family), Royal Dano, and Les Tremayne. Let it not go unsaid that Jim Backus's Magoo as Scrooge was a part the near sighted old codger was born to play.
The animated Dicken's classic is framed by Magoo playing a star actor in a stage production. There is even a curtain call at the end of the 60 minute cartoon.
It's a shame that this yuletide gem has fallen by the wayside and has been overshadowed by Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and Frosty. Magoo's Christmas Carol has not been show an annual Christmas viewing since the 60's. If you haven't seen it, do yourself and your young ones a favor and buy the DVD.