Happy 30th Anniversary To The Muppet Christmas Carol
Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of Disney's most classic holiday movies. Yes, that's right, we are talking about The Muppet Christmas Carol. I am a big fan of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I love any version of the story from FX's dark take to Lifetime's A Christmas Carol starring Tori Spelling. But, legitimately, The Muppet Christmas Carol is undoubtedly one of the best versions.
The movie, the first Muppet movie to be produced by Disney after the tragic death of Jim Henson, has all the familiar beats of the iconic book. Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine), cruel boss to Bob Crachitt (Kermit the Frog), is visited by the ghost of his old partner (or, in this case, partners - Statler and Waldorf) and three ghosts representing the past, present and future to teach the miser about the spirit of Christmas. To borrow from another Disney movie, it's a tale as old as time. But, in this version, it is narrated by Gonzo, who plays Charles Dickens himself, with the help of Rizzo the Rat.
The Muppet Christmas Carol, the first film to be directed by Brian Henson, employs all the classic Muppet humor and fantastic puns like changing Fezzywig to Fozzywig. Get it? Wocka Wocka. But when it comes down to it, it's really a compelling story.
Much of this can be thanked by legendary British actor Michael Caine. Caine could have easily questioned being in a Muppet movie and could have delivered a mediocre performance. But, he truly takes the role seriously while enthusiastically rolling with the humorous moments. He treats the Muppets like he would any live action co-star. That's what makes Michael Caine great and his version of Scrooge so iconic. Can you imagine they originally wanted George Carlin to play Scrooge? [Place shocked emojis here...LOL]
The music is absolutely delightful. Written by Paul Williams, who also wrote the music to the original The Muppet Movie, the soundtrack has many fantastic tracks. My favorites are "It Feels Like Christmas" and "Thankful Heart." I also love "When Love Is Gone," a song sung by Scrooge's love interest Belle (Meredith Braun), which was excised from the final theatrical cut. The song, however, is being returned to the movie in honor of the 30th anniversary.
Happy 30th Anniversary, The Muppet Christmas Carol. You are still as great as you ever were.