FANDOM


Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 theatrical featurette featuring established Disney characters re-enacting the classic Charles Dickens story 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 1974 Disney record conceived by Alan Young and Alan Dinehart.

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 Isabel, 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 Water Rat (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). As he reaches his counting house, he realizes it's seven years since the passing of his partner Jacob Marley. 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 Future (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 humored 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 root, while the ghost laughs cruelly, but it snaps and Scrooge falls into his grave, shouting his repentance.

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

Mickey's Christmas Carol was originally intended to debut as a prime-time special on CBS in 1982, with a comic strip adaptation running in Sunday newspapers in November and December of that year. However, due to an animators' strike, the special was not finished in time for Christmas of that year, resulting in CBS instead running A Disney Christmas Gift in the planned time slot.

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.

ABC last aired the special in 2003. On cable, it was also aired annually on the Disney Channel from 1987 to 1999 and 2002 to 2006, and on Toon Disney (prior to it being replaced by Disney XD) on Christmas Day in 2008. It has aired on ABC Family (now Freeform) as part of the 25 Days of Christmas since 2008, but with many abrupt edits in order to show more commercials (a common practice on ABC networks when showing older programming).

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

Reception

Film critic Leonard Maltin said that rather than being “a pale attempt to imitate the past," the film is “cleverly written, well staged, and animated with real spirit and a sense of fun.” Robin Allan stated that the film calls to mind the similarities between Walt Disney and Charles Dickens, in terms of both the work they produced and their work ethic.

However, famed movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert of At the Movies gave it “two thumbs down”. Siskel felt there wasn't enough emphasis on Mickey's character and that it didn't rank with most of Disney's full-length animated features. Ebert stated that it lacked the magic of visual animation that the “Disney people are famous for” and that it was a “forced march” through the Charles Dickens story without any ironic spin.

Mickey's Christmas Carol was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Animated Short Subject of 1983; unfortunately, it lost to Sundae in New York.

Trivia

  • During the special's production, a comic strip adaptation was produced for the Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales Sunday newspaper strip. Due to the delay from the above-mentioned animators' strike, the comic strip adaptation ran from October 3rd to December 26th of 1982, a full year before the special was actually released!
  • 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.
  • 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 Jacob Marley 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. WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS". 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.
  • The scene in which Scrooge hangs over a fiery grave might have been the inspiration to use a similar scene in another version of the story, Disney's A Christmas Carol (with Jim Carrey). This scene may have originally been inspired by a similar scene, but longer, in the 1970 musical adaptation of the story, known as Scrooge.
  • The sound of Pete's evil laughter was later reused in the 2013 short Get a Horse!
  • Pluto does not appear in this film.
  • Footage from this film was for the Disney Sing Along Songs volume Very Merry Christmas Songs for the song Sleigh Ride.

Gallery

See also

External links


v - e - d
Mickey Mouse short logo
1920s
Plane CrazyThe Gallopin' GauchoSteamboat WillieThe Barn DanceThe Opry HouseWhen the Cat's AwayThe Barnyard BattleThe PlowboyThe Karnival KidMickey's FolliesMickey's Choo-ChooThe Jazz FoolJungle RhythmHaunted HouseWild Waves
1930s
Fiddling AroundThe Barnyard ConcertThe Cactus KidThe Fire FightersThe ShindigThe Chain GangThe Gorilla MysteryThe PicnicPioneer DaysThe Birthday PartyTraffic TroublesThe CastawayThe Moose HuntThe Delivery BoyMickey Steps OutBlue RhythmFishin' AroundThe Barnyard BroadcastThe Beach PartyMickey Cuts UpMickey's OrphansThe Duck HuntThe Grocery BoyThe Mad DogBarnyard OlympicsMickey's RevueMusical FarmerMickey in ArabiaMickey's NightmareTrader MickeyThe Whoopee PartyTouchdown MickeyThe Wayward CanaryThe Klondike KidMickey's Good DeedBuilding a BuildingThe Mad DoctorMickey's Pal PlutoMickey's MellerdrammerYe Olden DaysThe Mail PilotMickey's Mechanical ManMickey's Gala PremierPuppy LoveThe Steeple ChaseThe Pet StoreGiantlandShanghaiedPlayful PlutoGulliver MickeyMickey's SteamrollerOrphan's BenefitMickey Plays PapaThe DognapperTwo-Gun MickeyMickey's Man FridayThe Band ConcertMickey's Service StationMickey's KangarooMickey's GardenMickey's Fire BrigadePluto's Judgement DayOn IceMickey's Polo TeamOrphans' PicnicMickey's Grand OperaThru the MirrorMickey's RivalMoving DayAlpine ClimbersMickey's CircusMickey's ElephantThe Worm TurnsMagician MickeyMoose HuntersMickey's AmateursHawaiian HolidayClock CleanersLonesome GhostsBoat BuildersMickey's TrailerThe WhalersMickey's ParrotBrave Little TailorSociety Dog ShowMickey's Surprise PartyThe Pointer
1940s
Tugboat MickeyPluto's Dream HouseMr. Mouse Takes a TripThe Little WhirlwindA Gentleman's GentlemanCanine CaddyThe Nifty NinetiesOrphan's BenefitLend a PawMickey's Birthday PartySymphony HourPluto and the ArmadilloSquatter's RightsMickey's Delayed DateMickey Down UnderMickey and the Seal
1950s
PlutopiaR'Coon DawgPluto's PartyPluto's Christmas TreeThe Simple Things
1980s-Present
Mickey's Christmas CarolThe Prince and the PauperRunaway BrainGet a Horse!
See Also
Mickey Mouse

Start a Discussion Discussions about Mickey's Christmas Carol