Tag Archives: Christmas

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1982)

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2018 comes to a close with Balladeer’s Blog’s look at this neglected 1982 Australian cartoon version.

A Christmas Carol 1982A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1982) – Burbank Films of Australia produced this mediocre at best animated version of the Dickens classic. Previously I reviewed the 1969 Australian cartoon version and if you were to go strictly by this 1982 rendition of A Christmas Carol you would think that Australian animation technology had not progressed one bit since 1969.

Background figures often don’t move at all and the ones that do just repeat the same gestures and gesticulations ad nauseum like in early video games. There’s also a delayed reaction element to every dialogue exchange early on. The Australian accents add a bit of novelty but that was also true of the 1969 version.

Moving on to the story, Nephew Fred’s visit to his Uncle Ebenezer and Bob Cratchit largely sticks to dialogue directly taken from the novel but pointlessly throws in meaningless asides here and there. The delayed reactions in the early exchanges of dialogue really stick out here. It’s like you’re watching live actors who take a while to remember their next line.

The dialogue flows much better between Scrooge and the two Charity Collectors. Bob Cratchit’s farewell to his boss is trimmed to the bone, robbing it of any impact, but this IS one of those versions which shows Bob joining children in sliding along the sidewalk ice like an overgrown kid so that’s nice.   Continue reading

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BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1988)

blackadder's christmas carolBLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL – My Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! Long-time readers know what a big fan I am of Rowan Atkinson’s work – especially his Blackadder programs. Hell, I’m even an enormous fan of his more serious work in Full Throttle. And I never tire of telling anyone who will listen that I think he’d make a perfect Dikaiopolis in Aristophanes’ comedy The Acharnians

As to why it took me so long to finally get around to reviewing Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, it’s the same reason that applied to the George C Scott version: I wanted to handle some of the more obscure Carols before hitting the well-known ones.

This Christmas Special is set in Victorian England with Atkinson starring as Ebenezer Blackadder, owner of a moustache shop. Tony Robinson is on hand as yet another member of the Baldrick family line.

In typically perverse Blackadder fashion the storyline reverses the usual sequence of events. Ebenezer starts out as a kind-hearted and generous soul but soon the Christmas Spirit (Robbie Coltrane) shows him visions of Blackadders Past, Present and Yet-to-Come.     Continue reading

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CHRISTMAS MUZAK PLAYED IN K-MART STORES: 1974

Snowy parking lotHere at Balladeer’s Blog I’m known for my strange sense of humor and my love of oddities, the more obscure the better. How could you NOT love the internet when it lets you find virtually any particular cultural kitsch that you get in the mood for?

In addition to K-Mart Christmas Muzak from 1974 plenty of other years are available, all the way up to the 21st Century. Just pick your favorite year and listen!

After all, what could be more Christmassy than the periodic between-song reminders that smoking is permitted ONLY at the Snack Bar. Or a Blue Light Special in the Deli! It’s like an audio version of a Currier and Ives Christmas Print! (I’m kidding.) 

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CHRISTMAS CAROL-A-THON: BRE’ER RABBIT’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992)

brer-rabbits-christmas-carolBR’ER RABBIT’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992) – Balladeer’s Blog’s Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear, Br’er Gator and many other characters created by Joel Chandler Harris are featured in this animated version of the Dickens tale.

Br’er Rabbit’s Christmas Carol is my favorite out of all the versions which present A Christmas Carol as the framework of a Mission Impossible/ Leverage “con job” to make a greedy character change their ways. To nobody’s surprise, Br’er Fox is the Scrooge stand-in who requires a wakeup call.

brer-rabbits-christmas-carol-2All the characters live in a town in the American South, where a charity stage production of A Christmas Carol is being performed, with the proceeds going to benefit the terribly ill Timmy Mouse. No, not “Br’er Timmy” or anything like that, just Timmy Mouse as our Tiny Tim stand-in.

Br’er Fox has no time for silly fiction and is completely unfamiliar with the Dickens Christmas classic. That fact gives Br’er Rabbit the idea to work with his friends to instill some holiday spirit into Br’er Fox, who refuses to help Timmy Mouse and charges the other animals exorbitant prices for the firewood he sells. If they can’t afford to pay, they go cold.   Continue reading

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AN ALL DOGS CHRISTMAS CAROL (1998): CHRISTMAS CAROL-A-THON CONTINUES

All Dogs Christmas CarolBalladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2018 continues 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.   Continue reading

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HOORAY FOR SANTY CLAUS: SEVERAL VERSIONS

Here is the iconic Holiday standard Hooray For Santy Claus! It’s by the poor man’s Skitch Henderson – Milton De Lugg – and The Little Eskimos.

And here’s the version by Al “Green Hornet Theme” Hirt: Continue reading

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CHRISTMAS CAROL-A-THON 2018 BEGINS: LEYENDA DE NAVIDAD (1947)

If it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving then that means it’s the start of this year’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon! Between now and Christmas Day Balladeer’s Blog will examine multiple versions of A Christmas Carol, both new reviews AND old favorites mixed in. 

Leyenda de NavidadThis film version of A Christmas Carol 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 … Continue reading

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