Time for another post in Balladeer’s Blog’s annual orgy of entries on various versions of THE Christmas tale. The Charles Dickens classic has a certain  unquenchable charm that ensures it will continue to be adapted for at least another few hundred years. 

“Blame Canada” for today’s version of A Christmas Carol. In 1978 Theatre Three in Edmonton, Alberta filmed their stage adaptation of the Carol and broadcast it in the USA as well as their own country. It’s been popping up on PBS and various cable outlets ever since. “Minimalist” would be the watchword for this version, from the nearly bare stage to the slimmed- down cast.

Marley’s Ghost not only chews Scrooge out in the usual way, but serves as Ebenezer’s ghostly guide through Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come. Scrooge’s nephew Fred and his wife, as well as the two charity solicitors have likewise been compressed into this Carol’s new characters, Mr and Mrs Monty (Insert your own Full Monty joke here) . Warren Graves, who  scripted this adaptation, stars as Scrooge and his son Colin plays a Tiny Tim who has a churlish streak of Artful Dodger in him which makes him a nice change of pace from the usually angelic Tims.

The down side of this Carol is the fact that it’s one of those versions that pointlessly tries to psycho- analyze Ebenezer Scrooge. I think it’s a waste of time when people try to create all kinds of involved reasons for Scrooge’s stinginess. Dickens, the man who actually created the character, told us all we need to know. Belaboring his relationship with his father serves no purpose and actually undermines the story. After all, plenty of people who don’t have Ebenezer’s sad past often end up as Scrooges, too.

But, at any rate, if you’d like to see this World-Class story presented on a shoestring budget, this 1978 production is much more entertaining than it has any right to be, especially if you’re looking for something a little bit different in a Carol adaptation.





  1. Woman

    I seem to always be agreeing with you. Honest! I don’t have an agreeable personality!!!!!! But I agree with you, when they try to psycho- analyze Ebenezer Scrooge, it takes away from the show.

    I loved Bill Murray!!!!!!

  2. Thank you! I’m glad to be the exception by being someone you agree with a lot!

    I’m a big Bill Murray fan, too!

  3. I guess I will have to do with the more traditional version way over here – which sounds like a good thing. As for Bill Murray – just rewatched Zombieland and he is so good in that…kind of LOVE Woody Harrelson though…

  4. Yeah, I thought Woody was great in Natural Born Killers. Very creepy. And speakikng of zombies, A Christmas Carol With Zombies was one of the many classics to get a funny horror version in recent years.

    And since you take such pride in your Aussie origins have you seen the 1960’s and/or the 1980’s Australian cartoon versions of A Christmas Carol? I love them, especially the 60’s version.

  5. Add me to the list of people who think it’s dumb to pschoanalyze Scrooge. Great review. I’m loving all these diferent versions you found!

  6. I never knew there were so many versions of this great story! This blog is full of little wonders!

  7. Dude, right on there – stop putting Scrooge on the couch for therapy, just enjoy the story!

  8. That’s a depressingly slimmed down cast but this does sound like an intriguing production!

  9. Garrett Kieran

    I’ve read extended reviews of this production, as well as others covered here, and some of them have really picqued my curiosity. Balladeer, being that your reviews confirm you’ve seen them, I just can’t resist asking, do you actually have links to them that you could send people?

  10. Garrett Kieran

    In the book “A Christmas Carol and its Adaptations” author Fred Guida goes into detail about what this production is like. Apparently, in this version, Tiny Tim sells boxes of matches to earn money to buy Bob a Christmas gift, and Scrooge manages to steal one. The book also contains a photograph from the film of Scrooge and Marley, the latter played by Drew Borland. Borland and Graves are the only ones who play just one character.

  11. Julie Sgroi

    We are looking for a copy of the version in 1978 with Warren Graves that you talked about. We recorded it from TV that year but lost our VHS tape when we moved. I have been searching for years, for anyone that might have a beta tape, or VHS, or DVD. Do you know any where else to look? Thanks. Julie

  12. Kent

    I really enjoyed this review! I love A Christmas Carol!

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