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A Christmas Carol--ing

I have been a sucker for A Christmas Carol ever since I can remember. I have several versions of the original story, and at one point -- before I married my minimalist husband -- I was even collecting the Christmas Carol pastiches that almost every television show with more than one season under their belts has run.

Newell is not such a connoisseur, but over the last few days, we have rectified that somewhat. AMC has been showing many versions -- in fact, yesterday, they ran the 1938 version and the 1971 Scrooge back to back. (He liked the old one better, but I have always loved the songs in Scrooge). I was THRILLED to see that the version of Scrooge that they ran actually had the scene in Hell, which I vaguely remembered from the theatrical release, but have looked for in vain on every television viewing since. I don't know why they always cut it, though I guess it is a safe place to lose several minutes for commercial space.

We also watched the Patrick Stewart version the other day, and it is interesting to compare the three and see which snippets are added to one and deleted from another. The Stewart version has Marley's funeral at the beginning, and a good scene with the scavengers who "attend" Scrooge at the end. It also had the children Want and Ignorance under the Spirit of Christmas Present's cloak. The musical had the ghostly coach and four driving through Scrooge's house (one of my favorite bits, for some reason). The 1938 version left out Belle entirely, but showed Scrooge as a boy apprentice to Fezziwig, which makes much more sense.

Another thing I love to do is spot the other actresses and actors who are famous in their own right, but don't get the billing of the man (or in the Marlo Thomas pastiche, woman) playing Scrooge. The 1938 version featured the Lockhart family (Gene, Kathleen, and June) as Cratchits. Patrick Stewart's sported Joel Grey as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Leo G. Carroll as Marley. The musical had a number of famous celebrities -- David Collings as Bob Cratchit, Edith Evans as the Ghost of Christmas Past...and more, but I am too lazy to go to IMDB and look them up.

The only one of the familiar versions that I haven't seen this year is the George C. Scott one, but I do have fingers crossed that it might turn up. Which version is your favorite, and why?

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April 2011


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