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Mickey's Christmas Carol

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Mickey's Christmas Carol
MickeysChristmasCarol
Film information
Directed by: Burny Mattinson
Written by: Burny Mattinson
Tony L. Marino
Ed Gombert
Don Griffith
Alan Young
Alan Dinehart
Release Date(s): December 16, 1983
Running time: 25 minutes
MickeysChristmasCarol-art

Promotional artwork for the special (used as the cover to the Little Golden Book adaptation).

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 theatrical featurette featuring established Disney characters re-enacting A Christmas Carol. The production, hailed as Mickey Mouse's big-screen comeback (despite his limited supporting role), was inspired by An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players, a 1972 Disney record conceived by Alan Young and Alan Dineheart. The film also marked the first screen production in which Young provided the voice of Scrooge McDuck, whose voice he had provided on the aforementioned album. The featurette also marked the first theatrical outing for Wayne Allwine as the voice of Mickey (who had previously voiced the character in animation produced for The New Mickey Mouse Club TV series in 1977) as well as one of Clarence Nash's final performances as the voice of Donald Duck. Nash is the only original voice actor involved in this film, as other original voice actors such as Walt Disney (Mickey Mouse), Pinto Colvig (Goofy), Billy Bletcher (Pete), Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket) and Billy Gilbert (Willie the Giant) died prior to the film's production.

The film premiered in the United Kingdom on October 20, 1983, and was packaged together with a re-release of The Rescuers, starting on December 16th of the same year.

In addition to Scrooge McDuck as his namesake, the cast of characters includes Mickey as Bob Cratchit, Donald as Scrooge's nephew Fred, Daisy Duck as Scrooge's first love Isabelle, Minnie Mouse as a silent Mrs. Cratchit, Morty Fieldmouse (one of Mickey's nephews) as Tiny Tim, Goofy as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Willie the Giant (from Fun and Fancy Free) as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Future, Moley and Ratty (from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad) as the charity collectors, Mr. Toad himself in a silent cameo as Fezziwig and scores of other cameos from the theatrical shorts and films.

Synopsis

On Christmas Eve, while all of Victorian England is in the merry spirit of Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Scrooge McDuck) thinks only of the money he has made and of making more (apparently, he charges people 80% interest, compounded daily). While Scrooge's selfish thoughts cascade in his head, Bob Cratchit (Mickey Mouse), exhausted and underpaid, continues to work long and hard for him. Cratchit reluctantly asks for a "half day off" for Christmas, to which Scrooge replies it will be unpaid (in contrast to the original version where Scrooge is irritated at giving Cratchit Christmas off with pay). Scrooge's nephew Fred (Donald Duck) comes in to invite Scrooge to his family's Christmas dinner, but Scrooge turns him down. When collectors Rat and Mole, along with beggars on the streets, kindly ask for a simple donation, Scrooge responds to them that if he does, the poor will no longer be poor and thus they (the collectors) will be out of work, "and you [can't] ask me to do that, not on Christmas Eve."

That Christmas Eve night, the ghost of Scrooge's greedy former business partner Jacob Marley (Goofy) appears and scares Scrooge out of his wits. When Scrooge commends him for his ruthlessness, Marley chuckles "Yup", but then recalls his sinfulness, and tells that because of his cruelty in life, he is doomed to wear heavy chains for eternity ("maybe even longer"). He warns that a similar fate, if not worse, will befall Scrooge unless he changes his ways. Marley then leaves, falling down the stairs when he tries to avoid tripping over Scrooge's cane again and letting out his signature Goofy holler.

Scrooge soon dismisses the incident, but is later awoken by The Ghost of Christmas Past (Jiminy Cricket). He shows Scrooge his past, when his growing love of money led him to cruelly break the heart of his fiance Isabel (Daisy Duck) by foreclosing on the honeymoon cottage's mortgage. (This is in sharp contrast to the original novel where Isabel is the one who ends the engagement with Scrooge in a relatively amicable manner.)

Not long after the first visit, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Willie the Giant) arrives, surrounded by turkey, mince pies, suckling pigs and other delicious foods. He shows him the poverty-stricken Cratchit family, who still keep a festive attitude in their home despite their hardships. Bob's young son Tiny Tim (Morty Fieldmouse) is revealed to be ill and Willie foretells tragedy if the family's hapless life does not change. However, just when Scrooge is desperate to know Tim's fate, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the house both vanish. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (a hooded figure later revealed to be Pete) takes Scrooge to the future in a graveyard. When he sees Bob mourning for Tiny Tim, who has passed away (indicated by Bob placing Tim's crutch on his memorial marker), Scrooge fearfully asks whether or not this future can be altered.

He then overhears the laughter of two gravediggers (two weasels from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad), who are amazed and humoured by the fact that no one attended the funeral of the man whose grave they were digging for. After the weasels leave to take a break from their work, Scrooge and the ghost approach the lonely grave, where the ghost lights a cigar, revealing Scrooge's name on the tombstone, and gives him a shove into his grave, calling him "the richest man in the cemetery". Scrooge falls towards his coffin as the lid opens and the flames of Hell burst out. Scrooge clings to a vine, but it snaps and Scrooge falls into his grave, shouting his repentance as the ghost laughs cruelly.

Suddenly, he is back home on Christmas morning. Having been given another chance, he throws his coat over his nightshirt, dons his cane and top hat, and goes to visit the Cratchits, cheerfully donating generous amounts of money along the way and telling Fred that he will come to dinner at his house after all. He tries to play a ninny on Bob, dragging in a large sack supposedly filled with laundry and announcing gruffly that there will be extra work in the future. But to the Cratchits' joy, the sack is instead filled with toys and a big turkey for dinner. Scrooge gives Bob a raise and makes him his partner in the counting house as Tiny Tim proclaims the original character's famous line of "God bless us, everyone!"

Scrooge picks up Tiny Tim and sits him on his lap before setting his top hat on Tiny Tim's head, picking up Tiny Tim's little sister Martha and sitting her on his lap and then getting a hug from Tiny Tim, Martha and Peter before directing his smile at the Cratchits - the scene of which goes into a freeze frame and the words "The End" and "Walt Disney Productions" appear.

Characters

The above role-casting is mostly the same as the version presented in the Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players record, with the exception of the roles of the collectors for the poor and two of the ghosts. In the original record, the collectors were portrayed (ironically) by Foulfellow and Gideon from Pinocchio, the Ghost of Christmas Past was played by Merlin from The Sword in the Stone and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was played by Queen Grimhilde (in her witch form) from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Cameo appearances include:

Voice cast

Television broadcasts

The film premiered in the United Kingdom on October 20, 1983 and was packaged together with a re-release of the 1977 film The Rescuers, starting on December 16th of the same year. It was billed as Mickey's "big-screen comeback" because his last appearance in a theatrical cartoon, the short The Simple Things, was 30 years earlier, in 1953.

The film made its television debut on NBC on December 10, 1984 and was rebroadcast there annually until 1990, after which it aired on CBS from 1991 to 1998. These broadcasts spanned a full hour, with the first half consisting of three winter-themed theatrical Disney shorts (Donald's Snow Fight, Pluto's Christmas Tree and The Art of Skiing). Each segment was preceded by a narrative wraparound segment in which one of the characters (Donald, Pluto (with Mickey translating), Goofy and Mickey, respectively) would talk about his favorite Christmas, thus leading into the cartoon in question. From 1989 onwards, The Art of Skiing was removed from the annual broadcast, replaced at the end of the hour by a new different segment each year. The 1993 telecast, for example, featured a behind-the-scenes featurette on The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The special last aired on ABC in 2003. It has aired alongside Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too on ABC Family as part of the 25 Days of Christmas since 2008, but with many abrupt edits. The special notably also aired on Toon Disney on Christmas Day in 2008.

Home video releases

VHS

Betamax

  • Mickey's Christmas Carol

CED

  • Mickey's Christmas Carol

Laserdisc

DVD

Blu-ray

  • Mickey's Christmas Carol: 30th Anniversary Edition

Trivia

  • This is notably one of the very few times Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse, originally featured in the Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip, have ever appeared in animation.
  • In the Finnish language dub, the characters are referred to as the Disney characters portraying the roles, rather than as the Christmas Carol characters they are portraying. A notable result of this change is that Daisy's character, Isabel, is instead identified as Goldie O'Gilt, Scrooge's secret sweetheart introduced in Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comic story Back to the Klondike.
  • The Goof Troop episode "Wrecks, Lies & Videotape" featured a nod to this special, in which Goofy poses as a Jacob Marley-like ghost to warn Pete what will happen if he doesn't change his ways. Additionally, in the Mickey Mouse Works short "How to Haunt a House", Goofy, having temporarily become a ghost for the short's purposes, attempts to scare Donald, dressing up as Marley again at one point.
  • A short snippet of the film appears in Prep & Landing, in the scene where Wayne starts slacking off and sits down to watch TV.
  • This is the last "official" theatrical Disney cartoon to start and end the "classic" way; where it starts with the Buena Vista logo and opening credits, and end with "THE END. A WALT DISNEY PRODUCTION". Starting from the next theatrical cartoons; Tummy Trouble and The Prince And The Pauper, theatrical cartoons start and end the "modern" way; Starts with the Walt Disney Pictures logo, then followed on with "Walt Disney Pictures Presents" and the short's title (no opening credits), and have end credits.

Gallery

See also

External links

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