“A Christmas Carol” is probably the most timeless of all Christmas stories. It’s been spoofed on sitcoms since the invention of the sitcom. It’s been quoted a kathousand times in talks and Christmas programs, and it’s been remade so many times, I’ve lost count. Believe it or not, it was first adapted to film in 1901.
I can’t really blame us for this Dickens obsession we have—it’s a wonderful story and brings home the importance of showing love to those around us and making ourselves fit to be the Lord’s servants in answering others’ prayers.
Here are just a few of my favorite versions of this perennial Christmas favorite, in no particular order.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): Trust the Muppets to come up with their own spin on a classic story. Michael Caine stars as Scrooge, with Kermit at Bob Cratchit and (you guessed it) Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchit. This movie is significant because it was the first movie the Muppets made after the death of Jim Henson.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) is a short version of the story, with Scrooge McDuck starring in the lead with Mickey as Bob Cratchit. The best part of the film is when Scrooge’s doorknocker, in the shape of Pluto, comes alive to howl at him.
I enjoyed the 1999 television version that featured Patrick Stewart, and who can forget the Bugs Bunny version with Yosemite Sam as our famous miser?
In my opinion, the message of the story is priceless, but some adaptations are frightening. Many of the earlier versions show a frightening ghost of Christmas future, and I don’t think that portrayal is appropriate for children. That’s why I tend to lean toward the animated versions and those starring familiar characters. Whichever version I choose, I like to contemplate my own life and think of the ways in which I could do better at reaching out to those around me, a valuable assessment to take at this Christmas season.
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