A lot of blogs and websites these days have been playing with the concept of the “Advent calendar,” where they post a new and special thing every day in December until Christmas. I love this idea, so here’s mine. As you will no doubt have noticed, I’ve not only missed the start of December, I’ve also missed the start of the “12 Days of Christmas”, as we have only 10 days to go until the big day.
Well, aaaaaaaaactually, the “12 Days of Christmas” start on Christmas itself, and end on the Feast of the Epiphany/Three Kings Day on January 6, but nobody cares about that except theologians and the sort of nerds who insist the new millenium started in 2001. As neither of those groups are any fun, we’ll go with the majority opinion on this.
So, in honor of the Christmas season, I’ve decided to do what I do best: post links to things I found on YouTube. This year, we begin with Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
It’s probably the first version of the Dickens’ classic most people of my generation were aware of, and it really doesn’t do that bad a job of retelling the story. The conceit of taking beloved fictional characters and throwing them into the story of Ebenezer Scrooge actually began with Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol back in the early sixties, but this is the first one where multiple characters take on new, yet appropriate, roles. I for one love it when fictional characters play fictional characters, as it allows me to throw around words like “metaverse” while laughing at Baby Kermit dressed as Luke Skywalker.
Thanks to Cartoonmania1981 and her vast trove of digital Disneyania, we are able to enjoy Mickey’s Christmas Carol via YouTube. Here’s part one.
Of course Mickey is Bob Cratchit. If your protagonist is an everyman, you make him Bob Cratchit. If your protagonist is an anti-hero, you make him Scrooge. The closest thing the Disney universe has to an anti-hero is Scrooge McDuck, the Disneyverse’s answer to Andrew Carnegie. The interesting thing is that Uncle Scrooge isn’t a bad duck, per say, but he is misanthropic and stingy. Even when he’s portraying his namesake here, he’s still not really evil, he just wants to be left alone with his money, and doesn’t understand why people don’t like paying 80% interest. In short, he’s Scrooge as Grover Nordquist.
McDuck, of course, went on to star in Duck Tales, as the uncle to Huey, Duey, and Louie. As Donald also seems to be their uncle, we can assume that he’s their unusually spry great uncle, although why he recieved custody of the brats is a question for another day. For now, let’s enjoy Goofy’s star turn as Jacob Marley.
This non-stereotypical portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge as less nasty than greedy and ignorant is part of the reason why I like Mickey’s Christmas Carol – it’s refreshing to see any portrayal of the great miser that isn’t just some character actor snarling. Of course it’s also just fun to see random Disney characters popping up here and there in new roles: Mr. Mole, Mr. Rat, and Mr. Toad (as the collectors and Fezziwig), Jiminy Cricket (as the Ghost of Christmas Past), and so on. Also, breaking from tradition, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come (Black Pete) speaks:
…except, here, he’s referred to as the Ghost of Christmas Future, as if we could expect to run into him at Epcot Center or something.
By the way, has anyone noticed how Mickey always sticks his name all over everything even though he a) is the least interesting Disney character by far, and b) isn’t in it very much. It’s really not Mickey’s Christmas Carol, it’s Uncle Scrooge’s Christmas Carol. Unless, of course, we’re supposed to believe that Mickey was somehow responsible for this production. As Donald (for instance) is “playing” Fred (like an actor would), perhaps what we’re looking at here is a repertory production, and Mickey directed it/produced it/wrote the screenplay. If you’re willing to accept that Scottish ducks get visited by benevolent ghosts that look like minor characters from animated feature films, then that really isn’t too much of a stretch. If he didn’t have anything to do with it, however, he should take his damn name off the project altogether.
Seriously, dude, the “aw, shucks” thing is looking more and more like an act by the day.
Next up: here we come a-waffling.