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 sofa.com 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
A 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.