Saturday, August 2, 2014


RELEASE DATE: Thursday 20th October 1983

I'm sure when Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, he had no idea his little story about the redemption of a grumpy old man would become such a classic for the ages. A Christmas Carol has been translated to film over twenty times! Something about this story strikes at the heart of people all over the world. In 1983, Disney decided to put its own unique spin on the tale by having an all-star cast of animated characters play the roles in the story.

At 26 minutes long, Mickey's Christmas Carol is neither full-length nor an "animated short." It was originally shown as an opening movie in front of re-releases of The Jungle Book in the U.K. and The Rescuers in the U.S.A. It has since been shown regularly during December on television screens all around the world.

"Mickey's Christmas Carol" is a slightly odd title, since Mickey Mouse isn't actually the star of the movie, nor is he really given much screen time. The main star of the show is Scrooge McDuck! (Naturally... what other Disney character could possibly play Ebenezer Scrooge??)

This was the first time Scrooge was voiced by Alan Young, who has since been the voice of Mr. McDuck all the way up to the fantastic DuckTales Remastered last year.
So apart from Mickey simply being a minor character, the real joy of watching this movie is recognising all of the Disney cameos playing many different roles, some just background filler. I'll highlight a few of them...

Mickey plays Bob Cratchett while Donald is Scrooge's nephew Fred. (This fits well, since Donald IS actually Scrooge's nephew!)

A number of characters from the "Wind In The Willows" segment of "The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad" double as characters in this story. Ratty and Moley are the money collectors, while Toad himself is Fezziwig!

The ghost of Jacob Marley is played by Goofy.

Lots and lots of character cameos happen at Fezziwig's party, including a fleeting glance at Donald's cousin Gus Goose!

The three Christmas spirits are played by Jiminy Cricket, Willie the Giant (from "Fun & Fancy Free") and Captain Pete.

The character of Isabelle (Scrooge's once-long-ago love) is performed by Daisy Duck.

You must always keep an eye out during the crowd scenes. Running past here are Skippy and Toby from "Robin Hood." There are still many more quick nods to previous films that I haven't mentioned. See how many you can find!
MALEFICENT: This is the first time I've ever seen Mickey's Christmas Carol, and I loved it! It's awesome! I got a little bit teary, but it's A Christmas Carol. This story always does it to me.

ANNA: It's one of my favourite Christmas movies ever!
MALEFICENT: I think I prefer the Muppet version. This one doesn't have any songs. It would have been nice with some songs.

NALA: In the Muppet Christmas Carol it's the same story but it's got songs in it.

IRVYNE: And it's also an hour longer!

NALA: Yeah, but there's more stuff in it. It's got a narrator telling the story.

WENDY: Yeah. Mickey's version goes so quickly, it's like the cliffnotes version!

IRVYNE: A Christmas Carol has a very simple plot though. They didn't cut any of the story out to make it run for 26 minutes; It just keeps moving, whereas most other versions stop and take their time in each scene.

WENDY: You don't get as much emotion though, if you're just racing quickly through the story from one ghost to the next.

MALEFICENT: It's a good length for kids.

SHENZI: I laughed when Willie the Giant used a lamp-post as a torch.

WENDY: There's so many cameos! I didn't recognise most of them when I was little, but now that we've watched all of the Disney movies this year, I can see who they all are. 
IRVYNE: It's a bit surprising that they chose to mine "The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad" for characters, since it was a fairly obscure film from the late '40s that most people had probably forgotten about completely by 1983. Cyril the horse even makes a little cameo!
MICHAEL DARLING: I thought it was funny when Scrooge was trying to act grumpy but Tiny Tim could see all the toys in his sack.

PASCAL: The lighting was really clever in the scene where Scrooge held his candle up the chimney and then back out into his bedroom.

IRVYNE: Mickey's Christmas Carol has always been one of those traditions. I think I watch it every year in December.

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