Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The Lord's Bright Blessing
Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol debuted on NBC on December 18, 1962. The very first animated special, this cartoon spectacular spawned a slew of other holiday specials (A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas! were still in the future). As NBC was in the midst of heavily promoting color TV we can imagine that the peacock network jumped at the chance to showcase this colorful retelling of the classic holiday tale. (Remember the Christmas episode of 1960s-set The Wonder Years in which Kevin Arnold [Fred Savage] was longing for his family to purchase a color TV specifically so he could watch a rebroadcast of Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol in living color?) The special—it truly was special, one of the best adaptations of the Dickens novel ever produced, before or since, with Broadway-caliber songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (with Walter Scharf orchestrations)—was a smash and its proud sponsor Timex eagerly presented the show for the next few Decembers. Here is the ad and the "Close-Up" from TV Guide covering the orginal 1962 colorcast. A quick look at the credits reveals not only animation perennial Paul Frees (then at the peak of his form as Ludwig Von Drake on Walt Disney's Wonderful of Color, also on color conscious NBC) as Mr. Fezziwig and several other characters, but also Royal Dano, soon to be the voice of Walt Disney's Mr. Lincoln at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, as the voice of Marley's Ghost. Be sure and drop by Tulgey Wood tomorrow for another holiday treat all about Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol.