5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Still my favorite musical version of Dicken's classic story,
This review is from: Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
"Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" has always been my favorite musical version of Dicken's classic tale for the simple reason that the songs have been better than all those other versions, including the most recent attempt with Kelsey Grammar. Since the music and lyrics are by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, the same team that did "Funny Girl," this is not surprising. I have just finished watching the show again and I finally noticed that there are only four songs. They just happen to be four really good songs and even when there is not singing three of them are used to great effect as background music. No wonder that as soon as you hear the opening theme on the DVD the feelings and memories coming rushing back.
Once you get past the framing device of Magoo showing up for the performance and taking a curtain call as he brings down the house at the start and the end of the show there are only a few moments where you are dealing with Mr. Magoo's nearsightedness. For the most part Barbara Chain's script does "A Christmas Carol" straight up and it works, mainly because when Mr. Magoo scowls and does his whole "Bah, humbug" bit you buy it. As we all know Jim Backus does the voice of Mr. Magoo/Scrooge, while Jack Cassidy does Bob Cratchit, Royal Dano is Marley's Ghost, Les Tremayne voices the Ghost of Christmas Present, the great June Foray (a.k.a. Rocky the Flying Squirrel) does the Ghost of Christmas Past, Joan Garnder is Tiny Tim (who is "played" by another cartoon character from the 1950s, Gerald McBoing-Boing), and Paul Frees' recognizable voice does several characters. Frees and Foray sing together on "The Bandit Song" and Jane Kean sings "Winter Was Warm" as Belle, the woman beloved by the young Scrooge.
All things considered, "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" is my favorite animated holiday show and it is not Christmas unless I see it, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I love the finale when they all sing "The Cratchit Family Dinner Song" (a.k.a. "We'll Have the Lord's Bright Blessing). It does not matter that the animation is bare-boned (the audience never moves) or that there are some completely comic supporting characters, because the songs are so wonderful and the emotion of the story comes through. Watching your favorite holidy specials brings back memories of Christmas as a child, and there is not much in this world sweeter than that. I do not know if this show can win over a new generation of fans, but if you have ever seen this one you know you have to see it again.