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  • December 2010
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A Dickens Tradition

I just finished reading  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens this morning.  This was the first time I have ever read this classic holiday tale.  Of course, I alreay knew the story by heart.  Who doesn’t? 

Since Charles Dickens first published A Christmas Carol 167 years ago on December 19, 1843, dozens, if not hundreds, of adaptations have been done for stage, screen and television. 

Musical versions have been performed for decades in cities all over the country.  The Civic Light Opera (CLO) is presenting A Musical Christmas Carol  at The Byham Theater starring Tom Atkins. 

<em>A Musical Christmas Carol</em>

Scrooge , a film musical, starring Albert Finney was released in 1970.  According to the Internet Movie Database, it can be seen on the Turner Movie Classics (TMC) channel on December 19th and 24th.

  

A Christmas Carol , a made-for-television movie from 1984 starring George C. Scott is considered to be one of the best adaptations.

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol  is a delightful  musical version.  According to Wikipedia, it was the very first animated holiday special produced specifically for television.  It first aired in 1962. 

The Muppet Christmas Carol came out in 1992 starring Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit. 

Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, and The Muppet Christmas Carol are all on DVD, and the library has all of them. 

Some other takes on A Christmas Carol:

 A Christmas Carol  has never been out of print since 1843.  Many editions include illustrations.  There have been many comic book adaptations. 

Here are a few of my favorite passages from the book:

It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe, and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there; and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney, as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge’s time, or Marley’s, or for many and many a winter season gone. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door.

“Come in!” exclaimed the Ghost. “Come in! and know me better, man!”

Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”

Scrooge reverently did so. It was clothed in one simple green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. Its feet, observable beneath the ample folds of the garment, were also bare; and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath, set here and there with shining icicles. Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but no sword was in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust.

Scrooge's Third Visitor 

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

SPOILER ALERT! 

 Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

Scrooge and Bob Cratchit

~Marian

 

 

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