This entry for Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2016 is a true oddity. It’s not so much a “love it or hate it” version of the Dickens classic so much as it’s a “like it or ridicule it” version, due entirely to the forced religious slant.
The Gospel According to Scrooge is a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol – one which continues to be performed to this very day at various Christian venues around the country. This very first performance was televised in December of 1983 on the Trinity (as in Holy Trinity) Broadcasting Network.
I have a hard time forcing myself to be as rough on Christianity as I used to be, given the atrocities committed by Muslim fanatics on a daily basis and the way in which the world grovels for those same Muslims, all the while that same world pretends to be “daring” and “iconoclastic” by relentlessly bashing Christians and Jews. Uh. Yeah. Gutless hypocrites.
At any rate since I’m a non-believer in all the world’s religions I laugh my ass off whenever I watch The Gospel According to Scrooge, but committed Christians will probably like this Carol for all the same reasons that someone like me laughs at it.
Dean Jones, the go-to guy for romantic leading man roles in Disney films of the 60s and 70s, plays the narrator of this Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t just dislike Christmas this time around, he has grown disillusioned and distant from his former religion period. His foul treatment of Bob Cratchit and the Christian charity collectors is fueled by this rather than greed.
Instead of Marley’s Ghost Scrooge is visited by God Himself, adopting his pretentious Old Testament moniker of “I AM” (As in “I AM always doubled-over with laughter by this point”). Some of the stage versions instead make this visitor Jesus Christ, who presumably is peeved at Ebenezer for stiffing his birthday celebration every year.
God, alias “I AM” (no distinguishing scars or tattoos) chews Scrooge out about his barren spiritual nature and foretells the arrival – not of ghosts – but of the ANGELS of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. From there you can guess every beat of the story, but with religious elements replacing the usual story elements. As I’ve said, to me this whole thing is enjoyably absurd from start to finish but Christian believers might very well enjoy it for what it is.
The songs are the usual mixed bunch and I find most of them rather bland, and that’s NOT based on their religious content, by the way, it’s based on them being mediocre at best. The exception to this would be The Most Wonderful Gift, which will definitely stay with you and which I have actually tried to push as a Christmas standard by sneaking it in with other Christmas Carols played in the background at get-togethers this time of year.
There is one other song which MIGHT be a keeper but in this taped broadcast of a live performance the singers rush the lyrics SO terribly that virtually nothing can be made out. I can’t even tell what the title of the song is. The music is catchy but with the garbled lyrics you’d probably have to attend a live performance to make them out since this Trinity Broadcasting Network version is the only version on DVD right now.
Ironically, The Gospel According to Scrooge might actually be a Carol that would appeal to ALL tastes, all the way from riffing non-believers like me to True Believers at the other extreme and even to folks in the middle who may just have a light affiliation with the Christian belief system.
FOR DOZENS MORE VERSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/a-christmas-carol-2/
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