Once upon a time, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol was an annual TV Christmas special. In fact, if memory serves, it was TV's first animated Christmas special. But its animation was seen as somewhat basic as the years passed, not up to network standards (ignoring the concept of content standards...) and it fell out of the annual rotation. It still shows up on off-network broadcasts, and a couple years ago NBC brought it back to primetime for its 50th anniversary.
It is also, for my taste, still the best animated Christmas special. Oddly, it's also a pretty good adaptation of Dickens' story, even with all the liberties it takes. And it easily has the best score of any animated Christmas special -- perhaps any animated special, period.
The songs were written by two Broadway legends, Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, right in the middle of when they were working on a Broadway show that would soon open -- Funny Girl. (In fact, a famous story about the making of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is that one day the producer was walking by Styne and Merrill's office, and heard them playing a new song that he absolutely loved and went in to tell them how great it was. To his chagrin, they had to explain that it wasn't for the TV show, but the Broadway musical, a number called, "People.")
Still, they ended up getting a bunch of absolutely wonderful songs in the TV broadcast. And here are a couple of them.
This first is "Ringle, Ringle," a counterpoint number (a kind of song I love, just on general principle), sung between Ebeneezer Scrooge (performed by Jim Backus) and Bob Cratchit (performed by Jack Cassidy, father of the recently-passed David). It comes early on, before Scrooge has had his visit from the Ghost of Jacob Marley.
This second number takes place during the Ghost of Christmas Present, as the Cratchit family sings of the joys that they have to celebrate, despite not having a feast of plenty, a rousing "showstopping" type number that has a big reprise at the end and is played over the curtain call at the end, "The Lord's Bright Blessing."
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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