'Tis the season for songs about Christmas and the holidays. And it's also the time of year when Shelly Goldstein and I call regular meetings of our Chowder & Marching Society club where we have a bowl of Smoking Bishop to honor the beloved animated special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol," which was the first animated musical Christmas special on network TV, in 1962, even earlier than A Charlie Brown Christmas.
It's a terrific show, and not a half-shabby adaptation of Dickens' tale, given that this was Mr. Magoo, after all. But what's always stood out with the special is its amazing score, written by Bob Merrill and Jule Style, two major Broadway composers. Indeed, when they were writing this, they were also at work on their next show, which happened to be Funny Girl. Their score gave the special, excellent on its own, a depth rare for cartoon shows. (A story about all this is that one day the producer for the Magoo show walked by their office and heard a song they were working on, and told them he was thrilled that such a great song would be in the TV special. They had to let him down and explain that the song was meant for Funny Girl. The song was "People.")
Anyway, here's one of the numbers from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. The first song, in fact, if you don't count the introduction song "Great to Be Back on Broadway" for the bookend story about Mr. Magoo appearing in a production of A Christmas Carol. It's Mr. Magoo (played by Jim Backus) and Bob Cratchit (performed by Jack Cassidy) with the wonderful, "Ringle, Ringle."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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