"Bah, Humbug"

There are, of course, many versions of "A Christmas Carol", but to me there are only two Scrooges: Alastair Sim and George C. Scott. I always make a point to see the version starring one or the other at this most wonderful time of year, and the other night I watched the older one.

Alastair Sim is the definitive Ebeneezer Scrooge. From the bitter Scrooge, to the frightened Scrooge, to the reborn Scrooge, he wins. Scott was great too, but this year Sim did it for me. Patrick Stewart? Please. Albert Finney?! That's the musical version, right? I don't think so.

Beyond the lead character, I think the Scott-starring version has a better Bob Cratchet and Fred. As for which has the better Jacob Marley and Tiny Tim, I'll call a draw. The Scott version pulls away, though, for its better ghosts, and I don't mean the better special effects afforded by 33 years of advances in this department. And, there is no better ghost ever than Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present, nor a better line delivered than when he opens his robe to reveal the two orphans, offering the novel's often quoted warning "They are your children. They are the children of all who walk the Earth, unseen. Their names are Ignorance and Want. Beware of them, for upon their brow is written the word ‘Doom.’ They spell the downfall of you and all who deny their existence." Absolutely chilling. Great words and superbly presented.

Both are among my few remaining video tapes, and may very well be doomed, as the words "Video Calibration" did flash on the TV a number of times during the 90 minutes I watched the Sim version. When I'm done here, I am going to Amazon, where I will buy these 1951 and 1984 classics on DVD.

Anyway, this Christmas weekend had me prepared to drive 140 miles four straight days, visiting family and making merry. A blizzard warning forced me to change that to two days of 140-mile drives and one day of nearly 280 miles. That change of plans also is preventing me from seeing some of the family. Bah, humbug.

Still, there is one more version of "A Christmas Carol" worthy of a nod, and, so, from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, I'll end this with, well, musical number...

I hope your holidays were anything but a humbug. Merry Christmas!


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