After a bit of a hiatus, a couple of minor crises, and a bad cold…. I’m baack! Anyway, it’s still Christmas until January 6th. So here’s number 4.
I first saw Mickey’s Christmas Carol when I was four or five years old. For a long time it was the version of A Christmas Carol that I knew, and I’m quite sad that tape went, too. (Note to self, find the DVD).
Everyone knows the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Spirits, but who’d have thought the Disney gang could pull it off? Jacob Marley can be a terrifying figure, and Goofy plays him here? Yet it works. Goofy manages to be somewhat sinister a couple of times and then be himself later while still having you believe the character. “Tonight you will be haunted by three spirits,” he says while holding up two fingers. “Listen to ’em. Do what they say. Or your chains will be heavier than mine!” Son of a gun.
Having Scrooge MacDuck as the old moneylender is a no-brainer, as well casting Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Future, but some of the other choices are interesting: Rat and Mole, Jimminy Cricket, the Giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk… and of course, Mickey and Minnie as the Cratchits. It’s a delightful special that still manages to wring a lot of pathos out of its half-hour running time. Tell me… when did you last see Mickey Mouse cry? Yet in the Future sequence when he stands by Tiny Tim’s grave he looks utterly broken. It really stands out from the rest of his “career.”
In short, Mickey’s Christmas Carol is an imaginative, abbreviated twist on the old classic that’s a lovely way to introduce children to the story or simply enjoy it without having to sit through the three hours of commercials AMC inflicts on the George C. Scott version every year. It’s still Christmas, folks. Go dig this one up.