Tag Archives: Christmas Carol-A-Thon

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1981)

American Conservatory TheatreChristmas Carol-A-Thon 2017 continues! 

This is a filmed presentation of the stage play by San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre and originally aired December 21st, 1981 on the Arts Channel.

The adaptation was by Dennis Powers and Laird Williamson and starred William Patterson as Ebenezer Scrooge. The only real mistake this Carol makes is that it’s one of those versions that reads WAY too much into Scrooge’s relationship with his father, even making up beatings that are never mentioned in the Dickens original. Other than that this production features some very nice touches.

During the Christmas Past segment Young Scrooge (Thomas Harrison) and Belle (Janice Hutchens) are ice-skating under starlit skies while having their breakup scene, which livens up this often tedious bit of business. When the Ghost of Christmas Present (Lawrence Hecht) shows Scrooge the Continue reading

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SONG: CLEAN UP YOUR ACT FROM AN ALL DOGS CHRISTMAS CAROL (1998)

Yes, it’s another isolated song from a version of A Christmas Carol which I have previously reviewed in its entirety. From An All Dogs Christmas Carol it’s Clean Up Your Act as the Scrooge stand-in (Carface Caruthers) begs the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come to give him some hope. 

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CHRISTMAS CAROL (1965): FRANK BAXTER

Frank BaxterBalladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon for 2017 continues! This time around I’m examining a 1965 production from California PBS station KCET. The title may not sound action-packed and appealing but Dr Frank Baxter was to the 1950s and 1960s what Carl Sagan and The Reduced Shakespeare Company were to later decades.

Just as The Reduced Shakespeare Company made the works of the Bard of Avon more accessible and therefore more popular among non-Shakespeare fans Dr Baxter’s Shakespeare on TV series inspired younger generations to take an interest in the works of the great Elizabethan playwright.

And like Carl Sagan’s series Cosmos made him a virtual rockstar of the scientific field Dr Baxter’s entertaining and educational Bell Laboratory  Science Series of film shorts made him enormously popular among teachers and students in every school that used those shorts as classroom aids. The Bell Laboratory Science Series educational shorts were so effective and beloved they were still being used in the 70s and 80s.

This black & white hour-long holiday special features Baxter at a Continue reading

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SONG: A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1954)

Ray Middleton as Nephew Fred and the Ghost of Christmas PresentChristmas Carol-A-Thon 2017 continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! These neglected songs from various versions of A Christmas Carol have proven pretty popular so here’s another. From the fairly blah Shower of Stars tv presentation of A Christmas Carol from 1954 it’s the song A Very Merry Christmas.

Part of the fun comes from the fact that the song is sung by Ray Middleton, who went on to play Colonel Thomas McKean in the theatrical release of the musical 1776. Middleton played Nephew Fred and the Ghost of Christmas Present in this Christmas Carol

This song is just so-so, but if you’re like me you’re desperate for new background songs to sprinkle in during Christmas Time get-togethers. Some of these out-of-the-way songs from Carol adaptations are ideal.

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SCROOGE AND THE STARS (1963)

Scrooge and the StarsBalladeer’s Blog’s Eighth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Back in the 2012 edition I reviewed Rich Little’s Christmas Carol, his 1978 television special. In that review I mentioned impressionist Little’s earlier, shorter, stand-up version of the special in which he used the voices of entirely different celebrities for the characters in A Christmas Carol.

This time around I will look at that 1963 AUDIO version. Rich Little had compiled the piece over the course of years, stretching back to his days as a DJ when he would ad-lib much of the material.

A historical footnote is the fact that – since Rich Little prepared the material far in advance of Christmas – he used the voice of John F Kennedy for the Ghost of Christmas Present. The record album version was released mere days after JFK’s assassination. Continue reading

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THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, FROM THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN

Balladeer’s Blog’s Eighth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon presents another song from the live-action musical The Stingiest Man in Town. This one is titled The Christmas Spirit and is another hit from the soundtrack that became a Christmas time staple.

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A JETSON CHRISTMAS CAROL: CAROL-A-THON 2017

JetsonsA JETSON CHRISTMAS CAROL (1985) – Christmas Carol-A- Thon 2017 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

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