The Holiday Music Fest 2019
One of the best made-for-TV animated specials was Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. In fact, it was the very first animated Christmas special on American TV, which first ran on NBC in 1962. The hour-long show aired annually until 1969, but because the animation was considered a bit primitive, it unfortunately (and in my biased opinion, foolishly, since the special is so terrific and not all that much more primitive than, say, Frosty the Snowman) went off the network air, though showed up over the years in syndicated local airings. Back in 2012, however, NBC did run the show again for its 50th anniversary.
The shame that it hasn't been seen even more is that not only is it wonderfully done (and actually quite a good adaptation of the Dickens story), but it has arguably -- and I'm tempted to say, inarguably -- the best score of any animated TV special made. The songs are by Broadway composers Jule Styne and Bob Merrill who at the time they were working on this show were also working on their upcoming musical, Funny Girl. Their score is absolutely wonderful and at that level. In fact a story is that one day the Magoo producer was walking past the office where Style and Merrill were working, overheard them playing a new song and told how great he thought it was. They had to explain that the song wasn't for the TV special (though it would have fit), but rather it was for their Broadway show. The song was "People."
I'll post a bunch of the songs during the Fest, and here for starters are three of them.
This first, "Ringle, Ringle" introduces Scrooge and also Bob Cratchit in the counting house, featuring the voices of Jim Backus and, as Cratchit, Jack Cassidy.
Second is the Cratchit family during the Ghost of Christmas Present section with big "showstopper" of sorts, "(We'll Have) The Lord's Bright Blessing."
And third is the achingly touching, "I'm All Alone in the World," sung by Scrooge and his younger self from the Ghost of Christmas Past.
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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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