Thankfully, the animation medium has been kind in terms of how often Charles Dicken’s holiday classic has been reinterpreted. There isn’t that many when compared to how many times it’s been remade in live-action! By my estimate, out of the many versions that’s out there, I have a list of my twelve favourite animated Christmas Carol adaptations to enjoy every year. I have even included television specials. To be current, I considered Netflix’s animated release, Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, and unfortunately have to say this merry CGI musical is better off skipped.
Had Charles Dickens known about the legacy his tale had upon the entertainment industry, I’m sure the copyright law would have been changed to ensure his estate would get some payment. Sadly, his works are in the public domain. Thankfully, many productions acknowledge this author in the playbill, but in terms of his descendants getting royalties, I’m sure they’re all screaming, “bah, humbug!”
According to Collider.com, the earliest version is Marley’s Ghost (1901), directed by Walter R. Booth and produced by R.W. Paul. This work is impossible to find. Next is most likely Harold M. Shaw’s 1914 silent film short, and many more takes were made before Alastair Sim gave us the most beloved take with the 1951 motion picture. I have to give credit to the 1938 production; this actor made the character memorable, and he’s included in this list of animated works. They are ranked going from least to best:
The Stingiest Man in Town
This studio’s take is a departure from their cheerier stop-motion holiday works. In this earlier time, their holidays specials were on air every time December rolled around, and kids grew up watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
Although this work is a departure from style, and that the work was done at Topcraft, a Japanese animation studio, this title is worth noting because many of the animators would later be key staff members for Studio Ghibli! In regards to why this take is memorable is because of Tom Bosley. He lends his voice to play a bug named B. A. H. Humbug to narrate the story. Anyone who remembers this actor from Happy Days (He plays Howard Cunningham) will appreciate this take.
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