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SleighEvery year the Friday after Thanksgiving kicks off Balladeer’s Blog’s Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon in which I post new reviews of various versions of A Christmas Carol along with some classics from Carol-A-Thons Past. Long past? No, YOUR past.

Ghost of Christmas PresentAren’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.

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


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Ithaca BombersWHITELAW BOWL – The 2017 edition of the Scotty Whitelaw Bowl pitted the ITHACA COLLEGE BOMBERS against the SALISBURY UNIVERSITY SEA GULLS. The two teams were tied 7-7 after 1 Quarter of play but the Sea Gulls were on top 10-7 by Halftime. That had become a 17-7 advantage as the 4th Quarter started. From there the Bombers came alive for TWENTY unanswered points to win the game 27-17.  

Alfred SaxonsLYNAH BOWL – The ALFRED UNIVERSITY SAXONS battled the STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS in the James Lynah Bowl. The Mustangs grabbed a quick 3-0 1st Quarter edge but by the break the Saxons held a 21-3 lead. In the 2nd Half Alfred University kept their opponents at arm’s length for a 29-16 victory.

Cortland State Red DragonsNEW YORK BOWL – The very first New York Bowl presented a team from the Empire 8 Conference – the CORTLAND STATE RED DRAGONS – against a team from the Liberty League – the UNION COLLEGE DUTCHMEN. The Red Dragons dominated early, leading the Dutchmen 14-7 in the 1st Quarter and 28-7 at the Half. Union College came roaring back, however, causing Cortland State to hold on for a 35-28 triumph.   Continue reading

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truro-massTwo thousand fishermen from Cape Cod had gone off to enlist in the Continental Army, and in their absence the British had repeatedly landed raiding parties to harass the citizens.

Every man, woman and child on the Cape hated the soldiers and sailors of King George and would do anything to work them harm. When the Somerset was wrecked off Truro in 1778 the crew were helped ashore, but they were immediately marched to prison.

It was November – the night before Thanksgiving Day in fact – and ugly weather caused a British three-decker warship to yaw wildly and drift toward land with a broken tiller. No warning signal was raised on the bluffs; not a hand was stirred to rescue. The New Englanders who saw the accident watched with sullen satisfaction.

Ezekiel and Josiah Breeze – father and son – stood at the door of their cottage and watched the warship’s peril until three lights twinkling faintly through the gray of driving snow were all that showed where the enemy lay, straining at her cables and tossing on a wrathful sea.

They stood long in silence, but at last the boy Josiah said “I’m going to help the ship.” Continue reading

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Thanksgiving Eve is here and that means Balladeer’s Blog’s annual showing of Oliver! late tonight. As Oliver Twist meets Fagin and his band of child pickpockets here’s the song You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two.

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new england college pilgrimsThanksgiving Week continues! I’m sure we all remember how the Pilgrims of the 1600s fled England to escape persecution for their horribly malformed faces (see left).

William Bradford sought out Professor Charles Xavier and together the two men parted the waters of the Atlantic Ocean so that Puritan Mutants could make their Exodus and walk all the way to the New World.

Upon arrival, Xavier decided to lie and say that he and his fellow Pilgrims had reached Plymouth Rock. This was not true, of course, but even then Charles Xavier was a pathological liar.   Continue reading

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Oliver!Thanksgiving is this Thursday, which means that on Wednesday Night Balladeer’s Blog will be showing its yearly Thanksgiving Eve presentation of Oliver! Yes, I know there’s no connection between Thanksgiving and that musical based on the Dickens novel Oliver Twist. 

The Christmas season is too packed with theme movies so I long ago chose Thanksgiving Eve for Oliver!  Here’s the song Consider Yourself as Oliver Twist meets the Artful Dodger:

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Speedy JourneyOne of the most popular posts here at Balladeer’s Blog was my list about “ancient” science fiction from 1634-1909. Here is a followup list of sci fi tales that were way ahead of their time. FOR THE ORIGINAL LIST CLICK HERE     

THE SPEEDY JOURNEY (1744) – Written by Eberhard Christian Kindermann. A five-man crew from Earth pilot a spacecraft to a moon of Mars, where they encounter alien life-forms of all kinds as well as secrets tying the inhabitants to Earth people by way of odd religious parallels. The space travelers also encounter a world-destroying meteor and a “space whirlpool.” CLICK HERE  

THE VOYAGE OF LORD CETON TO THE SEVEN PLANETS (1765) – Written by female author Marie-Anne de Roumier. Set in the 1640s this story features an angel named Zachiel who transports a man and his sister to the planets of our solar system. Continue reading

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