Bah, Humbug!

I remember the first time I saw A Christmas Carol. It was a cold Sunday afternoon, my mother was taking her after-church nap and Dad was out in the tack-room in the barn with the woodstove going, oiling saddles and ignoring the holiday fuss as much as possible. (He really was a humbug, bless him.)

I must have been all of nine-years-old and I’d just blown through my latest Trixie Belden book, so I turned on the TV, kneeled in front of it and did some channel surfing. (This was in the era BR – Before Remotes.) It didn’t take long, since we only had seven channels on a clear day, and besides, I stumbled across something that grabbed my attention right away.

The ghost of Jacob Marley flickered on the screen, wailing a stern warning for Ebenezer Scrooge. Find some holiday spirit or end up like me, a miserable spirit doomed to roam the earth forever. I curled up on the couch, entranced and terrified in equal parts, and let this strange tale work its magic on me. It became – and remains – my absolute favorite holiday story.

I’ve read it, of course, and I’ve seen it told countless times in a wild variety of ways. I love The Muppets’ Christmas Carol, the Looney Tunes’ Bah Humduck, and Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I thought the recent Disney take with a live-captured Jim Carey in the lead role was brilliant, and I adored Patrick Stewart in the 1999 made for TV version (though I kept waiting for Scrooge to tell the ghosts to Engage! or Make it so.) George C. Scott gave a remarkable performance in the 1984 remake, and Bill Murray’s snotty TV executive in Scrooged always makes me laugh.

But the quintessential Christmas Carol for me is the first one I saw, and in my mind, Alastair Sim is Ebenezer Scrooge. The film is grainy and the special effects don’t hold a candle to the more recent versions, but the bargain DVD I found in a bin at Target many years ago still gets watched every year at my house. Some things – like a good story well told, and like Christmas itself – don’t need modern upgrades. They’re wonderful and magical enough as is.

I hope your holidays are filled with good spirits!

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13 responses to “Bah, Humbug!

  1. I LOVE the George C. Scott version. It’s my favorite.

    Though I did once see a Redneck Christmas Carol performed by students at the University of North Florida that was hilarious. The funniest part however was the older lady sitting in front of me at the theater who kept yelling at the director on stage introducing the play. “Speak up, I can’t hear you.” She must’ve yelled at him in the middle of the play about six times, then finally moved up to the front. I was ROLLING on the floor laughing.

  2. Funny, A Christmas Carol isn’t my favorite movie, nor my favorite Dickens’ book – I much prefer Bleak House or a Tale of Two Cities. For me, it’s the original Grinch. That’s what I remember seeing as a kid and it’s what I watch every year. Yes, I have the DVD, but because I grew up watching it with commercials, I still do that as well…

    But if I have to pick a version – it’s the Bill Murray Scrooged. Drop dead funny and also very poignant. My favorite Bill Murray movie (okay, except maybe for Ghostbusters!).

    Kate

    • I love The Grinch, too. We just watched it a couple of nights. Anyone know who sings that “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” song??

  3. Funny, I don’t even like Christmas movies, but I do like watching films around this time of year. Last year it was “Planet of the Apes.”

    I hope your holidays are great too!

    eden

  4. George C. Scott will always be Scrooge to me. *laughs* Though Bill Murray’s portrayal is flat-out awesome.

    My mother had a VHS tape with all the Christmas shows on it. A few years ago I transferred it onto DVD. So even though I have a number of them (Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, etc) on DVD individually there’s something about watching the grainy versions complete with 1980’s commercials around this time of year. 😀

    K

    • Tonight we’re watching “The Year Without A Santa Claus”. Doesn’t get any better than Snow MIser and Heat Miser!! 🙂

  5. I think the only versions I’ve seen are the Micky Mouse version, the one with Patrick Stewart, and Scrooged. I’ll have to look for the George C. Scott version since you all are raving about it. 😀

  6. Scrooged, without a doubt, though like Eden, I don’t really get into Christmas movies. If I must watch something holiday-related, <Groundhog Day is something I can’t watch over and over and over and…

  7. Two years ago my friend Sheryl invited me to travel to London with her. We went to the West End to see “A Christmas Carol” live, and it was hilarious. They have special performances, with audience participation. We yelled, danced and jumped up and down. That will always be my favorite performance.

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