Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2015 comes to a close with a look at this animated sequel to All Dogs Go To Heaven.
The dog-angel characters from that reasonably successful film use their Heavenly powers to get the dog-gangster Carface Caruthers (Ernest Borgnine) to change his ways. The portions of this direct-to- video flick dealing with the actual Christmas Carol adaptation are very good.
Unfortunately that element takes up barely half of the story. The overall tale is about a demonic figure called Belladonna (Bebe Neuwirth) who wants to use a gigantic magic dog bone to manipulate all of Earth’s dogs in a plot to destroy Christmas. Dog-Angels Charlie Barkin (Steven Weber) and Itchy (Dom Deluise) from the previous movie need the help of canine crime-lord Carface to thwart Belladonna’s plans. Hence the plot to “Dickens” him into becoming a better man … or dog, actually.
Charlie and Itchy get some of their other pals like Sasha (Sheena Easton) to help out as they stage visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come in their bid to reform Carface. Continue reading
THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN (1953) – For several years only the soundtrack for this terrific musical was available because the bulk of the video from this television production was missing. As of a few years back all the video has been restored so this Christmas season treasure can finally be enjoyed in its entirety.
Most people are only familiar with the 1978 Rankin-Bass Cartoon version of The Stingiest Man in Town, which chops the story down and omits or shortens a few songs. Here in all its glory is the original live 1953 production from December 23rd, rebroadcast in 1956, hence the 1956 date on some copies. Basil Rathbone stars as Scrooge, Johnny Desmond plays Nephew Fred, Martyn Green plays Bob Cratchit and Vic Damone appears as the young Ebenezer Scrooge at Fezziwig’s party.
Many of the songs in this musical have become Christmas song standards and people are often amazed that The Stingiest Man in Town is where the songs originated. An Old Fashioned Christmas, Listen to the Song of the Christmas Spirit, Yes, There is a Santa Claus, and Birthday Party of the King are among the Continue reading
A JETSON CHRISTMAS CAROL (1985) – Christmas Carol-A- Thon 2015 continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! This 1985 animated version of the Dickens classic incorporates the characters from the Hanna Barbera program The Jetsons. They were a family who were the far-future counterparts of the Stone Age family The Flintstones.
A Jetsons Christmas Carol is not very good but it’s a lot better than the irritatingly awful Flintstones Christmas Carol. If you know the characters you can fill in the blanks yourself:
George Jetson is the substitute for the novel’s put-upon Bob Cratchit, and finds himself ordered to work very late on Christmas Eve, disappointing his wife Jane and their kids Elroy and Judy. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog continues its annual orgy of versions of the Dickens classic as Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2015 resumes!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984) – Don’t be misled by the 1984 date, this is neither the George C Scott version NOR the French TV version which I first reviewed years ago. This is a taped stage performance that aired on Ohio Public Television station WNEO on December 22nd, 1984.
Just to give you an idea of the psychotically obsessive lengths I sometimes go to to track down these obscure versions of the Carol: Years ago when I bought this it was one of the many productions not available on video. Nor was it to be found on E-bay or Amazon or any of the usual outlets.
By emailing various staff members at Kent State University (whose theatre department mounted this version) I eventually reached a kind individual. He stated that, though the university did not have copies of the production for sale he would ask around on the KSU faculty’s exclusive chat boards to see if anyone had a copy they may have taped off television back in 1984. Continue reading
Ghost of Christmas Present
Aren’t we all pretty fed up with the same versions of A Christmas Carol being rammed down our throats like Razzleberry Dressing every Christmas season while many of the clever but lesser known variations of the Dickens Yuletide classic languish in obscurity?
I’m one of those people who begin wallowing in the dozens of versions of this Industrial Age epic myth right after Thanksgiving and don’t let up until Christmas Day. With the obsessive and semi- psychotic zeal of a Trekkie or an X-Phile I purchase every offbeat variation and adaptation of A Christmas Carol that I can lay my hands on.
Drawing on the extensive, albeit geeky, expertise that I’ve gained in this subject over the years I’d like to spread the word about some of the versions of the story that can be found in the remote hinterlands of home video or audio. This will be a look at variations of the actual Dickens story, set in London in the 1840’s. An entirely separate article could be written about adaptations of A Christmas Carol set in different time periods and locales, like Rod Serling’s anti-war parable Carol For Another Christmas, or the 1975 conservation short The Energy Carol or even the year 2000 Brazilian version depicting the Scrooge figure as a drug lord who repents. Just think of me as the Ghost of Christmas Carol Obscurities.
After reading this list you’ll hopefully conduct your own search for versions of the Carol beyond the limited world of Mr Magoo, Alastair Sim and George C Scott (“Dickens, you magnificent bastard! I read yer booooook!”) .
The man all mimes aspire to be … damn them.
Marcel Marceau Presents a Christmas Carol (1973) – Marcel Marceau is possibly the only name that comes to mind if you try to think of famous mimes. In fact “Famous Mimes” would make for one easy Jeopardy category because the response would always be “Who is Marcel Marceau?” Anyway, this BBC presentation featured Marceau acting out a pantomime of the Carol and playing every role.
This was accompanied by narration by another actor who once portrayed Scrooge, Michael Hordern. If you prefer versions of the Carol devoid of any and all speaking there are several silent movie Carols available out there. Continue reading
Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2015 continues!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1978) – From the year 1978 comes another televised Christmas Carol opera from the U.K.
This one was first aired on Wales’ Harlech Television on Christmas Day of that year. It is sung in Welsh, with the libretto by John Morgan and the music by Norman Kay. Continue reading
Welcome to another installment of Balladeer’s Blog’s annual orgy of versions of A Christmas Carol. This version was produced in Spain in 1947 (and was remade for Spanish television in 1966 ) and the Spanish language title is Leyenda de Navidad ( Legend of Christmas, of course).
The film was written and directed by Manuel Tamayo (who wrote the screenplay for the 1955 feature Tarde de Toros) This is a wonderful version for several reasons, not the least of which would be its well-done (for the time period) sets of 1843 London.
We’ll take the differences and similarities to other versions in order – 1. Scrooge has several people working for him for some reason, not just Bob Cratchit and NONE of them get Christmas Day off from this Scrooge …
2. Marley’s Ghost steps out of a life-sized portrait of the man that adorns the wall above a fireplace, and returns to that portrait after his standard warning about the 3 Ghosts …
3. Transportation through time with Continue reading