It was in December, probably 1987 or ’88. I was at work in one of the offices of UCLA’s Parking Department, when two of my best friends there, Lonnie and The Countess, broke out in song. They began singing . . .
Thank you very much, thank you very much! That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me . . .
When the singing finally came to an end, I asked them, “Where did you hear that song?” Their mouths hung open for a minute or two and they looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.
And then at once they both shouted (as if I were hard of hearing because of the lobsters), “SCROOGE!”
And that’s how I first learned there was a 1970 movie musical called ‘SCROOGE’, based on Dickens’ famous ‘A Christmas Carol’.
Yes, SCROOGE is a musical.
Now look here, I’m a “dude”, as in, “guy”. If you don’t believe me, you can ask my friend The Flyin’ Aardvark. Exactly one week ago, after I had made a rude remark, she wrote this to me: Ahem. ... You are such a GUY! Ha!
I was on my high school’s sophomore football team. I was on my high school’s varsity wrestling team. I NEVER cry (where anyone else can see it) and I DO NOT like musicals!
Well, except for Roy Rogers oaters.
And ‘Singin’ In The Rain’.
And ‘My Fair Lady’.
(Alright, I also like 'Bells Are Ringing', 'Guys And Dolls', and ‘The Sound Of Music’, but so help me, if you ever tell that to anyone, I – will – hunt - you - down - and - KILL - you! Twice!)
Therefore, I was predisposed to dislike SCROOGE. But I saw it anyway. With The Countess. I told her, “If it’s a musical, I won’t like it.” And I was right because... I LOVE it! It is by far my favorite filmed version of 'A Christmas Carol'. And, yes, I've seen the vast majority of them.
How good is this movie? Well, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Scrooge’ are both on my Top Ten favorite movies list. No, NO, NO! I do not mean “Top Ten favorite Christmas movies list”. I mean Top Ten list PERIOD!
In fact, I’m not sure which of those Christmas movies I love most. It pretty much depends upon which one I’m watching at the moment.
SCROOGE stars Albert Finney and was filmed in England with an all Great Britain cast. For those who know anything at all about acting, that means the acting is way, Way, WAY friggin’ better than what you will find in most American movies!
The direction is fantabulous, the sets are spectacular, the cinematography is delicious, and the music is so addictive it should be considered a controlled substance. For such an old movie, even the special effects are still pretty good.
Two of my all-time favorite quotations come from the movie SCROOGE:
Mankind should be our business, but we seldom attend to it.
~ Jacob Marley
There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish; the thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember, …time is short, and suddenly you're not there anymore.
~ The Ghost Of Christmas Present
I have only one negative remark to make about SCROOGE: There is one song in the score, sung by Tiny Tim, that is so high-pitched, stepped-on-a-cat’s-tail awful that I fast-forward through it every other year.
[Note: I watch my four favorite Christmas movies only every other year, so they don’t cease delivering to me the emotional impact I watch them for. This year, it’s the “modern” classics – ‘Scrooge’ and ‘A Christmas Story’ – next year it will be the old school classics – “It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Miracle On 34th Street’.]
But even that awful song by Tiny Tim has become a part of the Christmas tradition that I share with my brother, Nappy. Every other year, we TRADITIONALLY fast-forward through it!
There’s a part in SCROOGE where - in anticipation of the second ghost’s appearance, and temporarily feeling bold and brave – Ebenezer yells out, “I’m ready for you!”
Well, this year, just as Tiny Tim’s dreadful song was about to be sung, I raised the DVD gizmo, my finger on the fast-forward button, and I yelled out, “I’m ready for you, Tiny Tim!”
Nappy and I both laughed. Yeah, you can make a “Christmas tradition” out of just about anything.
If you’re having trouble finding “The Christmas Spirit” this year – as it seems many people are – then you need to watch SCROOGE.
Here’s a link to about ten minutes of this wonderful
Scrooge the Musical (1970) Part 9
[Note: In actuality, the movie’s visuals are not as dark as they appear in this video.]
~ TinyTim @Dyslexia.moc
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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