Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)

mr magoos christmas carol poster 1962 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

First real Christmas special

Weird arrangement of Ghosts

TV Show Info

TV Show Name: Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Studio:  UPA

Genre(s): Cartoon/Seasonal

Release Date(s): December 16, 1962

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

mr magoos christmas carol spirit of christmas present

This would be more effective if I could see anything…

Mr. Magoo is putting on a play for the holidays. He’s picked Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as the subject and has cast himself as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Now Scrooge is being visited by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley, the Ghost of Christmas Present, the Ghost of Christmas Past, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Will the play go off without a hitch and will the nearly blind Mr. Magoo play the perfect Scrooge?

Directed by Abe Levitow, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol first aired on December 16, 1962 on NBC, and is widely considered the first real children’s TV Christmas special (there was a marionette play in 1950). The cartoon took the popular Mr. Magoo character (first created in 1949) and just inserted him into the 1843 Charles Dickens’ classic.  It aired for a number of years on different channels and was well received.

mr magoos christmas carol ghost of christmas yet to come

Seriously…I can’t read the tombstone….what does it say?

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol was already not part of the regular holiday mix when I was young.  Dominated by Rudolph, Frosty, and Charlie Brown, I don’t even really remember Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol airing…which leaves watching it a weird trip into an odd telling of the classic story.

The adaptation of A Christmas Carol is really strange and you have to assume part of the reason is time. They eliminated Scrooge’s sister and nephew, but the oddest thing is that the Ghost of Christmas Present comes before the Ghost of Christmas Past. It didn’t seem to serve any purpose except with the story becoming more Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim focused, while creating a bit of a buffer between by flashing back to Scrooge’s youth.

Mr. Magoo himself is a bit of an outdated character. Voiced by Jim Backus, he was revived by Leslie Nielsen in 1997 for a feature film, but many kids will be unfamiliar with him. Since there is little focus on his nearsightedness (there are a few little jokes sprinkled throughout), it might not even be noticed by a younger viewer, but it is odd since that is the thrust of Mr. Magoo’s humor.

mr magoos christmas carol razzleberry dressing

It would be ironic if Scrooge saved Tiny Tim from his disease but he ODed on razzleberry dressing

The art is what you expect for the time, but Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.  It isn’t the sleekest or the best looking of the specials, but the musical creators for the special went on to work on the film Funny Girl.

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is is an interesting relic of Christmas pasts.  The beloved character couldn’t be a bad guy so the special is presented as a play with Magoo simply playing a miser (not really being one).  It does really emphasize that you can simply throw money at a problem even more so than some of the other Christmas Carol adaptation…just don’t forget the razzleberry dressing (and tell Tiny Tim to shut up about it).

Related Links:

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) (1951)

Scrooge (1970)

An American Christmas Carol (1979)

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Scrooged (1988)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994)

A Christmas Carol (1999)

Christmas Carol—The Movie (2001)

A Christmas Carol:  The Musical (2004)

Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)

Batman:  Noel

Zombies Christmas Carol

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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