Monday, November 30, 2015

The Christmas Carol Project | His Usual Melancholy Tavern

It's almost December again and time to get back to our annual look at everyone's favorite Christmas/ghost story, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. If you're new to this, the idea is to pay attention to the way Scrooge's story has been interpreted and adapted to other media over the years. I’ve broken the story into scenes (or sometimes parts of scenes) in order to look at their translation to 19 different films, TV shows, and comics.

Here's the list of adaptations in the order I'll take them:

• Classics Illustrated #53 (1948)
• Marvel Classics Comics #36 (Marvel; 1978)
• A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel (Classical Comics; 2008)
• A Christmas Carol (Campfire; 2010)
• "A Christmas Carol" in Graphic Classics, Vol. 19: Christmas Classics (Eureka; 2010)
• Teen Titans #13 (DC; 1968)
• A Christmas Carol cartoon (1971) starring Alastair Sim
• The Stingiest Man in Town (1978) starring Walter Matthau
• Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) starring Scrooge McDuck
• A Christmas Carol (2009) starring Jim Carrey
A Christmas Carol (1910) starring Marc McDermott
Scrooge (1935) starring Seymour Hicks
A Christmas Carol (1938) starring Reginald Owen
Scrooge (1951) starring Alastair Sim
"A Christmas Carol" episode of Shower of Stars (1954) starring Fredric March
Scrooge (1970) starring Albert Finney
A Christmas Carol (1984) starring George C. Scott
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) starring Michael Caine
A Christmas Carol (1999) starring Patrick Stewart

Annual Disclaimer: This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list. I started with my favorites, added some that people have recommended over the years, and then threw in some others that just caught my curiosity. We can talk about the ones I left out, but I will say that the reason Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol isn’t here is because I hate it with a passion. It’s neither a good Christmas Carol nor a good Mister Magoo cartoon. There’s also no Scrooged or An American Christmas Carol or Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. When I first started this, I tried to stick to more or less faithful adaptations, but even though I've since added Teen Titans to the list, I'd rather that be a fun exception and not have to figure out where I'm going to draw the line.

This is going to take years. Every December we'll look at one scene, starting with Dickens' version, then exploring individual adaptations of that scene in the days leading up to Christmas. This year's scene is pretty short. One paragraph of Dickens, really. It covers from when Scrooge leaves his office to when he arrives at the front door of his house. As you might expect, a lot of adaptations leave this out and just cut from the office to the famous doorknocker bit. But others take the opportunity to add material here, so we'll keep it separate instead of just rolling it into his meeting with Marley.

The fun starts tomorrow!


Wings1295 said...

One of the December traditions I have come to anticipate and enjoy each year. Thank you for continuing the project.

I wanted to ask a question: Do you have all the scenes already written and ready to post, just waiting each year? Or do you go through them all over again one by one each and every year? Just my own curiosity.

Here's to a great, SLOW countdown to Christmas!

Michael May said...

Thanks! I go through them all over again one by one each year. I'd love to work ahead and I'm sure that would make my thoughts more cohesive, but I haven't had the time to do it that way. :)

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I always look forward to seasonal themed daily updates like this (maybe one of these days I'll take the hint to plan out something of my own).

The choice of melancholy tavern surprises since as you said it is omitted from most adaptations.

Michael May said...

I do admit that having a light Christmas Carol year appeals to me after how busy Bond kept me earlier.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

You make a convincing case.


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