At our house, one of the family favorite movies in all creation is the Muppet Christmas Carol.
We love the frogs and the mice and the singing vegetables…and that kid Scrooge hits with a holly wreath. I laugh my head off and then feel guilty for laughing.
Plus, you’d be surprised at how moving a sobbing rat can be.
And there’s just something about Michael Caine crying in his nightgown over that one girl.
Now, this is not to say that I don’t enjoy the other versions. I do. Honestly,
George C. Scott is a mighty scary piece of Scroogy meaness. Maybe it’s his gravely voice…I don’t know.
It helps too that Jacob Marley does a pretty darn convincing guy with his jaw falling off. Ewww.
And in the even more ancient Alastair Sim version, old Marley gets sucked right out the window with the other spooks. Scares the heck out of me.
When I was a kid we also had a record–yes, I’m that old–of Lionel Barrymore in the role of Scrooge. Laurie and I had the silly thing memorized..still do, I’m afraid. I think we could have worked parties. We were weird kids…needed more sunlight…or something.
Our family book club is now reading “A Christmas Carol” the real version. No singing pigs or crippled frogs–but the original, as Dickens meant it to be. It’s only about 80 pages but the language is so classic, 1840’s English that it takes a bit longer to suck it all in. So it’s a slower read for some of us. We chose it because it’s President Monson’s favorite book and because it felt important to be able to say, “Of course I’ve read A Christmas Carol. Duh…” in that snobby voice that’s meant to impress people–but rarely does.
I realize that the Muppet story and the vintage book are worlds apart in presentation, but I think it’s ok. I think Mr. Dickens would be very pleased with how many ways his little short story has been presented. Likely, he would be more pleased with the impact that his words–classic or muppetized–still have on people.“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
And I personally believe he’d even get a kick out of the screaming lettuce.