I’m not a big fan of “A Christmas Carol”. I find it to only be a moderately decent story out of the gate, and the countless recreations of it grow excruciatingly tiresome. The fact that so many of the retelling stick so closely to the original material is what makes the whole affair so tedious & repetitive. In general, the only versions I like are the ones which take vast liberties with the tale (The Scrooged movie and Bah, Humduck are good examples).
However, there are a few exceptions. This article is about two such specials. Both stick pretty closely to the original material, yet I hold a certain fondness for both despite this fact. These two specials have little in common with one another, besides being cartoons & the fact that I saw them when I was little (before all the repetitiveness
ruined the story for me).
The first one was co-produced by Chuck Jones, but actually animated by Richard Williams. The style is decidedly dark & realistic looking (completely the opposite of what one would expect from something with Chuck Jones’ name on it). I believe this was the first non-cartoony cartoon that I ever saw (which may be why it left such an impression on me). It’s a short version of the tale (only 25 minutes, designed to fill a half-hour TV slot in 1971).
The second version is Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol. In sharp contrast to the previously mentioned one, this one is very cartoony, and even musical (wait till you get to the scene near the end, where the theives are singing, their mouths consume their whole heads, ala Charlie Brown Christmas). I was really into Magoo when I was a kid, so that might be why this one sticks with me. It is twice as long as the other (53 minutes, designed to fill a full hour TV slot in 1962).