Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge
Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit
Goofy as Jacob Marley
Morty Fieldmouse as Tiny Tim
Donald Duck as Fred
Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past
Willie the Giant as the Ghost of Christmas Present
Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come
Ratty and Mole as Collectors for the Poor
Minnie Mouse as Mrs. Cratchit
Ferdie Fieldmouse as Peter Cratchit
Melody Mouse as Martha Cratchit
Daisy Duck as Isabelle
Mr. Toad as Mr. Fezzywig
Cameo Appearances By: The Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs (The Three Little Pigs, 1933)
Toby Tortoise and Max Hare (The Tortoise and the Hare, 1935)
Clara Cluck, Gus Goose, Peter Pig, Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Grandma Duck, Chip 'n Dale, Huey, Dewey and Louie
Angus McBadger, the Weasels and Cyril Proudbottom (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, 1949)
Secretary Bird (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971)
Lady Kluck, Sis, Tagalong, Skippy, Toby, Mother Rabbit and Otto (Robin Hood, 1973)
Setting: London, England, during the Victorian Era
Plot: Scrooge McDuck stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in Disney’s adaptation of the Dickens’ classic.
This short premiered and was originally packaged with the December, 1983 theatrical re-release of The Rescuers (1977) but would play on television during Christmastime for years thereafter.
The version I grew up watching as a kid was one my Mom taped from television and it included Donald's Snow Fight, Pluto's Christmas Tree and The Art of Skiing (all of which were reviewed on this very blog) during the first half before leading into the feature.
This was more-or-less the animated version of the 1974 record An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players. The main differences were that Pinocchio’s (1940) Gideon and Foulfellow played the roles of the two collectors for the poor, Merlin from The Sword in the Stone (1963) portrayed the Ghost of Christmas Past and the witch from Snow White (1937) as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Before Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Uncle Scrooge’s presence in animation was minimal at best. Known primarily as a character in Carl Bark’s Donald Duck comic books and later his own eponymous series, Scrooge only had two off-the-page appearances: first was a very brief appearance in the Mickey Mouse Club and then in the 1967 theatrical featurette Scrooge McDuck and Money.
This is mere speculation on my part but I feel that Scrooge’s performance here is what helped inspire and open the door for the creation of the immensely popular DuckTales (1987) television series.
Making up the décor in Scrooge’s Counting House are a “Talk is Cheap” and “Time is Money” framed pictures hanging on the walls.
As Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, this is the rare occasion where Donald gets to play a pleasant, well-adjusted Duck.
One of our favourite scenes is when Goofy (as Jacob Marley) ominously warns Scrooge of three spirits coming to visit him but only holds up two fingers. In fact, Goofy’s performance is one of his best and straight up steals the show (again!).
Can you imagine a young Goofy as Scrooge’s even more ruthless business partner??? Wish we could’ve seen a flashback of that…
The Ghost of Christmas Past (Jiminy Cricket) visits Scrooge at 3am.
Pay close attention during the Ol’ Fezzywig party sequence; that’s where the majority of the cameos appear.
As you probably noticed, Disney exhausted its deep bench of anthropomorphic British animal characters in filling out the cast of extras – particularly from such movies as Robin Hood and the Wind and the Willows portion of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
Scrooge broke off his engagement to Isabelle by foreclosing her mortgage on her Honeymoon Cottage she wanted to share with him… ouch.
Of the 24 Christmas/Winter shorts we’ve reviewed this month, this is Daisy Ducks first and only appearance.
Willie the Giant was last seen in the Mickey and the Beanstalk segment from Fun and Fancy Free (1947).
Scrooge finally awakens/returns to his home just after 6am.
Melody Mouse along with the Fieldmouse boys were mainstays of the Mickey Mouse comic strip but have rarely appeared in any animated productions.
Poor Minnie Mouse had all her lines cut in post.
With a veritable “Who’s Who of Classic Disney” filling out the cast, who was the most glaring omission? Pluto, of course! Really, no room for Mickey’s loyal pup???
Putting a Bow on It:
This cartoon was a HUGE part of my childhood and I rank it right up there with (the non-Disney) Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) as my very favourite Christmas Specials. I fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Mickey’s Christmas Carol was only a scant 26 minutes long! With its array of characters, depth of story and quality animation, I had always assumed it was, at the very least, an hour long.
This is also Disney’s best use of its deep roster of players – never have more characters been used more effectively in a single story than here. And, just for what this featurette meant for the career of Scrooge McDuck and Disney’s growth and legacy in general is immeasurable. I mentioned it before but I staunchly believe (with no real evidence to back me up whatsoever) that without Mickey’s Christmas Carol there is no DuckTales and, with that, no Disney Afternoon (1990 – 1997) which makes it the greatest Christmas present of them all!