(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Mickey's Christmas Carol)
Doug (vo): Merry Christmas, everyone. In honor of this, I'm gonna talk about one of my favorite Christmas specials of all time, not just from Disney, but just in general, Mickey's Christmas Carol. I know for a lot of you, the Muppets was your introduction to this classic story. Well, for me, it was Mickey Mouse. And honestly, for the short amount of time that it has, it's a very well done rendition. At a mere 45 minutes*, they have to squeeze in a lot of character, a lot of story, a lot of visuals, and it, for the most part, works out pretty well.
- (The short runs for around 26 minutes)
Story[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): I think most of you know this story, but just in case...Ebenezer Scrooge, played by probably the most fitting casting of all time, Scrooge McDuck, is a bitter old man who hates people, but loves money. One night, everything changes, though, when his old partner, Jacob Marley, played this time by Goofy, warns him that if he doesn't change his ways, he'll be roaming the afterlife in nothing but chains. He's visited by three Ghosts, and they show him the visions of the past, present, and future, focusing mainly on the treatment of his employee, Bob Cratchit, played by Mickey Mouse.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): The short is pretty much by the numbers. They don't really change up that much, but what they do show is done very effectively. For a TV production, the animation is really stellar. Keep in mind, this is back in the 80s. There wasn't any CG, and Disney wasn't exactly in the best spot financially. So for a TV production to have this kind of movement, this kind of music, this kind of color, it really is impressive.
(Several clips focusing on Donald Duck's role as Scrooge's nephew Fred are shown)
Doug (vo): If I'm right, I think it's also the last time you'll hear the original voice actor of Donald Duck ever do that voice. And it's a shame, I feel like they never got a replacement that was good enough. There really was something just so unique about the way he would say things. The replacements aren't bad, but you can't beat the original.
(Various clips showing a combination of light-hearted moments and darker moments featured in the short are shown)
Doug (vo): Much like the best Christmas Carols, they really balance out the humor and joy with the darkness and depression that a story like this brings. When it needs to be funny, it is legit funny. It even opens up with a really funny line about the passing of Marley.
(The opening scene of Scrooge walking into his bookshop is shown)
Ebenezer Scrooge/Scrooge McDuck: In his will, he left me enough money to pay for his tombstone. And I had him buried at sea.
Doug (vo): What an asshole.
(Clips focusing on the short's darker moments are shown)
Doug (vo): But when it needs to go dark, it goes dark, man. They make Tiny Tim super cute in this, and when you have to cut to what happens to him in the future, you will believe a Mouse can cry. It is grim. There's also a scene that scared the shit out of me as a kid, where Scrooge's coffin opens up, revealing fire like Hell is waiting for him. Good God!
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): If I had to point to any problems with it, I would say, there are two major ones. The main one being, it's way too short. Don't get me wrong, a lot of Christmas Carols have done their stories in a half-hour or so, but for the tone and emotional impact it was trying to get across, it really did need an hour and a half. After we're introduced to Tiny Tim, we cut immediately to the Ghost of Christmas Future. That's a big leap. Don't get me wrong, they condense a lot of it very cleverly and very nicely. But just imagining what they could've done with other scenes from the story and with other characters, it does kind of feel like a missed opportunity. And along with the length, it really should've been a musical. This seems tailor-made for great music. In fact, there's a wonderful song that starts off, and it's really catchy, and I listen to it every Christmas. If we had three or four more songs like that utilized throughout the special, telling the story and giving us an idea what the characters are feeling, I'd really feel like this could be a 10-out-of-10 Christmas Carol.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): But as is, I still really, really like it. I feel like the makers of this were probably given a lot of limitations, like you have to use these characters, and it has to be under this time limit, and that can't be easy. But they pulled it off really, really well. It's very touching, it's very funny, it's very dark, it's very hopeful and optimistic. If you have a little kid, I'd really recommend showing it to 'em. It's a great introduction to the story. Yeah, Muppets is good, too, there's no problem with that, but this one's always gonna hold a special place for me. And honestly, even if you don't have little kids, still check it out. It's really, really well done and has a lot of artistry and good acting, and I think it's getting more and more attention over the years, but it still deserves even more. Check it out, and have, oh, what a very merry Christmas day.
(The special's final scene, showing Scrooge officially becoming friends with the Cratchit family, is shown)