Year-end summary time
“You will be visited by 69 spirits”: 23 TV episodes based on “A Christmas Carol”
1. Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)
Often cited as the first animated Christmas special, Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol is also one of the first TV shows to place an existing character within the rough outline of Charles Dickens’ classic novella about an elderly miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and the series of ghosts who provide him with some historical perspective on his life. In this hourlong special, the nearsighted bumbler Mr. Magoo (voiced as always by Jim Backus) appears on Broadway in a musical version of Dickens’ tale, with songs by famed composers Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. After the “this is just a play” framework is established, Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol serves up a shortened but still potent take on the story, with Styne/Merrill numbers like “Alone In The World” charting Scrooge’s gradual emotional softening. The show was such a hit that it opened the floodgates for Christmas cartoons on TV, and also inspired the short-lived NBC series The Famous Adventures Of Mr. Magoo, which stuck Quincy Magoo in different literary/historical adventures each week.