The Many, Many Adaptations of A Christmas Carol


From Bugs Bunny to a zombie apocalypse version, producers have been resurrecting and then murdering Dickens’ Christmas ghosts for many years…

I had suspected there were a lot but it was not until researching an article on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for that I discovered just how many adaptations for film, stage and TV there have actually been of the perennial festive favourite.

The novella’s comforting parable-like format, the splendid character (and name) of Ebenezer Scrooge, the simple but powerful message…it’s hardly surprising that scriptwriters and TV execs and have been hammering the thing to death for the last century and a half. There are at least 28 proper film adaptations (the earliest being a silent British film from 1901), three operas, two graphic novels and countless versions for theatre and television. And they’re still coming thick and fast – I was forced to sit through a version the other day on Disney Junior featuring Jake and the Neverland Pirates (a limp Peter Pan spin-off), with Captain Hook as Scrooge. Here’s a list of some of the more strange and spurious ones…


Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962), the first animated Christmas special ever produced specifically for television, and an annual American institution (in large part because of the songs written by the Broadway team of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill)

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) with Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit, Goofy as Jacob Marley and, inevitably, Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge,

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol (1979)  Looney Tunes version with Yosemite Sam as Scrooge

Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006) another Looney Tunes adaptation; this time with Daffy Duck as Scrooge.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) with Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.

A Sesame Street Christmas Carol (2006) featuring Oscar the Grouch as Scrooge

Brer Rabbit’s Christmas Carol (1992), animated television movie

A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994) – feature-length Flintstones in which Fred lets playing the role of Scrooge in a play go to his head

A Jetson Christmas Carol (1985)  – episode of The Jetsons. Three spirits visit Spacely to convince him that Christmas is a time of giving

The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol (2013), a straight to video Smurf version

Barbie in a Christmas Carol (2008), Barbie stars as the female version of Ebenezer Scrooge.

An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998), animated TV movie with canine characters based on All Dogs Go to Heaven

Mega Man Christmas Carol (2010) – computer game in which Mega Man must fight four Robot Masters

Huh-Huh-Humbug (1995), a Beavis and Butt-head version, with Beavis as Scrooge.

X-Mas Marks the Spot (1986) – animation in which the Ghostbusters travel back in time to Victorian London and accidentally ‘bust’ the three Christmas ghosts visiting Scrooge

 Sonic the Hedgehog’s Christmas Carol (1993) animation with Dr. Robotnik as Scrooge and Sonic as all three ghosts

Orange Carol (2012), an episode of The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange where Orange’s annoying antics are spoiling everyone’s holiday cheer until three ghosts change his ways

Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol (1979) – an American country music-based TV film

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (2010) – Christmas special of the long-running BBC series

Blackadder‘s Christmas Carol (1988) – parody in which Ebenezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), is initially kind and then becomes mean after being visited by the ghosts

Ebenezer (1997) – a Western version produced for Canadian TV, starring Jack Palance as Ebenezer Scrooge, a land baron.

The Six Million Dollar Man: A Bionic Christmas Carol (1976) – Steve Austin uses his bionic powers to transform a miser

Shofar, So Good (1994) – episode of Northern Exposure  in which Joel Fleischman learns the meaning of Yom Kippur from the ghosts of Yom Kippur past, present and future.

 A Christmas Carol (2000) – TV-movie with Ross Kemp as Eddie Scrooge, an East End London loan shark

A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000), TV movie with Vanessa Williams  as “Ebony” Scrooge, one third of a late-’80’s pop trio called “Desire” and now a grouchy solo diva

Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale (2013), a NBC TV special with Kelly Clarkson playing a Scrooge-like character

Marcel Marceau: A Christmas Carol (1973) – a mime version shown on the BBC show Omnibus

3 Ghosts (2011), a steampunk inspired stage adaptation by PiPE DREAM Theatre

Christmas Carol (1996), an adaptation for a cast of “eight actors and a lightbulb” by British director and playwright Neil Bartlett OBE.

The Passion of Scrooge (or A Christmas Carol) (1998), a chamber opera by Jon Deak for one baritone and chamber orchestra.

Donald Trump vs. Ebenezer Scrooge (2013) – a hip hop rap battle version featuring Kanye West

A Klingon Christmas Carol (2006) – stage adaptation set on the Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS in the Star Trek universe

I am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas (2009) – novel by Adam Roberts in which it turns out that Tiny Tim was carrying an infectious virus that threatens a zombie apocalypse, and it is left to Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future to save the world.

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5 thoughts on “The Many, Many Adaptations of A Christmas Carol

    December 26, 2014 at 11:10

    Congratulations. While many of us instinctively feel the popular culture is one steady descent into mindless frivolity, it can be hard to make the case empirically. De gustibus non est disputandum, etc. But you’ve just done it. Compared to this list of schlock, Disney is the Grimm Brothers.

    December 26, 2014 at 13:24

    The inclusion of Steve Austin makes me suspect that you’re pulling our legs once we get past Mr. Magoo. As I remember it, “The Bionic Man” depended on a tight-jawed sobriety to make the audience accept its premise. Introducing Dickensian overtones would have been like rewriting Tom Clancy in the manner of Pale Fire.

    • December 26, 2014 at 14:31

      How much do you want to bet on that, George?

        December 26, 2014 at 15:20

        “One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.” (Thanks to

        On that principle alone, I should not have needed to click on the link, but I did click on it. Amazing.

    Seamus Sweeney
    December 28, 2014 at 15:49

    Having young children, I have seen quite a few of these. The Flintstones one is surprisingly earnest with the on stage action mirroring Fred’s own narcissism. I’m surprised I haven’t been exposed to the Barbie one yet – shameful it is to confess but the Barbie adaptations of the Three Musketeers (“Don’t mess with the dress!”) and Swan Lake are reasonably watchable.

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