Three Scrooges, Part 9 of 12: Strange Scrooge, Kill What’s Inside of You…

Three Scrooges, Part 9 of 12: Strange Scrooge, Kill What’s Inside of You…
                Thought of the blog: If the Ghost of Christmas Past only lived during Christmas Day, and he supposedly visited Scrooge “the next night at the same hour”. That would have been 1:00 amDecember 26th – wouldn’t he have been dead for an hour by this time (of course a ghost cannot be dead, by that I mean he no longer existed… )? If Marley visited Scrooge after midnight (and the second stave seems to imply), then the Ghost of Christmas Present may have visited Scrooge on December 27th– and would have been dead for the prior 25 hours.
                One “Thought of the blog” has been resolved – how long has Cratchet been employed. In “The End of It” Scrooge wishes Cratchet a Merrier Christmas “than I have given you, for many a year.” So Bob had worked for Scrooge several years – thus this was Fred’s first visit to his uncle to invite him to Christmas dinner!
                “Scrooged” was a theatrical movie starring Bill Murray from 1989. It met to mixed reviews but did fairly well at the box office and has since become very popular. It is a modern take of the Carol tale in which Scrooge is the CEO of a successful television network. He is cruel to his employees and family until three ghosts shows him the past, present and future. He redeems and reconnects with his family and lost love.  There the similarity with the Dickens’ tale ends. Wonderful special effects, a funny script and good acting on all parts make this a fun movie.
                Social satire abounds – especially when it punctures the state of mass entertainment.
                Hold on to your belts: the 2004 Barnes & Noble Classic paperback “A Christmas Carol, the Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth” by Charles Dickens, Katharine Kroeber Wiley calls Bill Murray’s take on Scrooge one the most accurate depiction of Scrooge as Dickens intended. Wow. It’s true – his cynicism and redemption both seem true and realistic. Murray is an expert at playing the wisenheimer (think “Stripes” only meaner) and chews the scenery in the last bit as the cast sings into the camera to their Christmas Eve audience, but I would bet anyone who knew a network CEO would say how well he nails their personalities. “… greed, gluttony and sleazy self-indulgence …”? Nailed it!
                “Rich Little’s Christmas Carol” – only in my blog and Rich Little’s website will you see his name and “comic genius” in the same sentence. I LOVE Rich Little. His mimicking ability steals every scene in every show he has guest-starred –  from Carol Burnett to the Muppet Show. But he has never been able to capture the magic in a show on his own. This TV special from 1978 is a great example.
                I saw it when it aired and I want my 60 minutes back.
                Little played most of the roles – WC Fields as Scrooge (actually a good choice – he would have made a good Scrooge…) and Paul Lynde, Nixon and Little’s flawless Johnny Carson and Humphrey Bogart all in various other roles. What could have been a great idea if more thought was put into applying the right voice to the right character fell flat. It was not funny. Worse, it was Bob-Hope-in-his-later-years lame.
UNSEEN SCROOGES (version I have not seen but will review anyway, oh like that’s never been done by professional critics…)
                “A Country Christmas Carol” with Hoyt Axton as Scrooge and “Scrooge’s Rock ‘N Roll Christmas” with Jack Elam as Scrooge.
                These beg to being spoofed, don’t they? Like “Carol” doesn’t lend itself to being spoofed anyway…
                 The Country version could have Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr. (if you could pry the tin foil off his head) and Hank Williams III as the Ghosts…
                I actually wrote and drew a rock version of Christmas Carol in 1986 or so. Eric Clapton was convinced to stop his synth-pop nonsense from the mid 1980s to go back to real rock and roll. Elvis as Ghost of Rock-n-roll Past, Tom Petty as Present and a faceless computer jock as Yet to Come. Of course he was forewarned of their visit by the ghost of Bob Marley (I was particularly pleased with that one…)
NEXT:  Part 10, Big Guns!
Copyright 2012 Michael G. Curry

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