Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Mister Magoo's Christmas CarolI thought I’d seen most of the Christmas Carol versions of this classic Dickens story, but stumbled upon Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol this evening and decided to give it a go. I have to say, if you don’t know the story of Scrooge, this post will contain spoilers.

I loved Mister Magoo as a kid, I suppose I was around 8 years old when I first started watching him in the ’70s. I think it was on BBC2? Anyway, I had no idea the short-sighted old duffer had done a version of my favorite Christmas story. I’m a bit critical of the Scrooge thing because I think nothing can come close to Alastair Sim’s 1951 black and white version.

Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol is obviously animated and hails from 1962. It sees our hero as a Broadway star who plays Ebeneezer Scrooge to an audience in a theatre. Strange concept?

Anyway, Magoo sets about being your typical Scrooge and the first part almost keeps to the original story but Scrooge’s nephew is not anywhere to be seen? I think the interaction between the two was a highlight of the original story, but hey-ho, it’s only a cartoon.

Next, we see Magoo visited by his ex-partner Jacob Marley who warns Scrooge he’d better mend his ways or he will forever be in misery after he has met his maker. Marley tells of 3 ghosts who will visit our hapless hero during the night.

This is where another bit of the story differs from Dickens’s book. The first ghost is from the present, the second ghost is from the past and the last ghost is from the future. It just seemed strange to do it this way…it should be past, present then future. As I said before, I’m a bit critical when it comes to this story!

Anyhoo, the rest of the story pans out much the same as the original story; Scrooge sees the error of his ways, wakes up all happy, shouts to the little boy to buy the big Turkey from the shop, etc. with the only difference being that Scrooge visits Bob Cratchit on Christmas Day instead of his nephew and tells Cratchit, and his family, that he’s going to raise his wages and look out for Tiny Tim. This is where the story ends and we see the whole cast, on stage, taking a bow in front of the audience.

I really missed the bit when Cratchit is late for work on Boxing Day and Scrooge makes him squirm for a few moments before telling him how wrong and miserly he’s been in the past. This for me will always be the best part of the story…but it was missing in Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Pity.

Never mind, it was, after all, a cartoon, and I did chuckle a few times at old Mr. Magoo’s short-sighted scrapes.

Mr. Magoo…you’ve done it again! Well, not quite this time. I only give the 52-minute movie 3 out of 10. Humbug?

Here’s a short snippet.