“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” – Review

Unsightly Christmas Movie

I swear to God, if I hear “razzleberry dressing” once more I’m going to scream.

Originally broadcast in 1962, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol was the first animated holiday special made solely for TV. Jim Backus voices the UPA character as he plays Scrooge on Broadway.

Things begin with your typical Magoo-ish sight (or lack thereof) gags, but quickly move to a very standard performance of Dickens’ classic, and, oddly enough, it’s the faithful rendition that really cheesed me off.

Where’s the fun?! Not once in the entire Christmas Carol portion is Magoo really Magoo. I mean he’s counting stacks of coins for crying out loud! Somehow Magoo is able to give a brilliant performance on stage, but once he’s off he’s back to walking into the women’s’ dressing room?! What gives?!

Honestly, what’s the point of having a Magoo special if you’re not going to take advantage of the comic possibilities? Why not just do a non-Magoo version and save me the disappointment? (Gerald McBoing-Boing as Tiny Tim is irritating too, but still not as bad as Magoo.)

Sadly, not only did they drop the ball character-wise, but decided to make it a musical to boot. Jules Styne’s and Bob Merrill’s music is grating at best. Take this lyric, sung by thieves looting Scrooge after his death – “We’re reprehensible / we’ll steal your pen and pencible!”

Pencible?!” What the hell is that?!

And the “razzleberry dressing” and “wooflejelly” stuff simply made me want to beat little Gerald McBoing-Boing to a pulp. Seriously, I can see myself walloping Tiny Tim with his own cane as we speak.

A lot of people have told me they have fond memories of this special, including the librarian that recommended it to me (curse you librarian!), but for the life of me I can’t fathom why – Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is about the least special Christmas special I’ve ever seen.

Bah humbug!

6 thoughts on ““Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” – Review”

  1. You may be alone in your comments about the Magoo Christmas Carol. The musical score is much superior to the majority of future Xmas show specials like Santa Claus is coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman. Only Rudolph can be counted as an equal.
    No, Magoo isn't Magoo. But the songs are moving, catchy, original and highly acclaimed. It is a feel good program, not filled with sexual innuendos or poor tasteless jokes. Most who remember this appreciate the simple fact that it is what it is.

  2. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is the best script for Dicken's story ever written for the stage. Yes, it was written for a cartoon, but they played it as a Broadway play because it's musical theatre through and through. I mean Merrill and Stein wrote it for Pete's sake! I've often wondered if there's any chance that the rights for a stage production of this show are available. Of course A Christmas Carol is the classic cash cow of theatre companies from coast to coast and beyond. So why couldn't they do the hands-down best version? Does anyone know how to get the score? The tunes are so good.

  3. P.S. The Albert Finney version was also a musical, and it had one good tune in the whole show: "Thank You Very Much." Every other song was worse than forgettable. But the Merrill & Stein/Magoo version has not one single clunker. Every song is a gem. "I'm All Alone In The World," I mean I'm getting misty just typing the title.

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