Monday, December 02, 2019

“Why, It’s Old Fezziwig!” | Classics Illustrated #53 (1948)

Index of other entries in The Christmas Carol Project

The Classics Illustrated version is only a page-and-a-half, so as usual with this adaptation there's not much room for anything but laying out facts. And as with the schoolhouse scene, Fezziwig's warehouse and its inhabitants are just colorless, ghostly outlines: figures for Scrooge to observe, but there's no temptation to interact with them.

Fezziwig is a slightly overweight, jolly-looking man in an old-fashioned powdered wig. We see him at his desk, but only in close-up, so there's no telling how high the desk might be.

Dick Wilkins is named and a caption box identifies him as Scrooge's fellow apprentice (with a note to young readers that an apprentice is "one who is learning a trade"). There's no sense of Scrooge and Dick's relationship other than co-workers. Scrooge is excited to see him, but he's been enthusiastic about all of these visions so far. He might just be into the experience of seeing these memories brought to life. Although we did see signs of (supernaturally assisted) empathy at the schoolhouse, so maybe that's genuine pleasure Scrooge is feeling about seeing a former chum again.

Fezziwig instructs the boys to clear away the shop for the party, but we skip right past the preparations and go straight to a single panel of Scrooge watching ghostly people dancing. There's no mention of who any of them are and you can't even see the fiddler. Certainly there's no Belle.

There's also no sign of Fezziwig's being an especially kind person. He is kind and he certainly loves Christmas, but there are no signs that he takes a special interest in Scrooge or anyone else. There's not even a conversation between Scrooge and the Ghost about Fezziwig's effect on his employees. He's just a good, nice boss. 

Scrooge enjoys watching the party though and a caption tells us that "his heart and soul were in the scene." He's not necessarily learning any more empathy, but the Ghost is at least successful at lowering Scrooge's defenses and making him less mean. It's a small victory though and I still feel like this Scrooge has a long way to go before he sees a real need to change.

Of course there's no scene of Young Scrooge and Dick cleaning up after the party. Old Scrooge is still enjoying the scene when the Ghost says that they need to get moving. Time is growing short.


Caffeinated Joe said...

Gets the gist, across, I guess. I was wondering how weird this would be to actually experience. I think everyone's memories are different than actual events, right? We skew them with out own bias and probably forget more than we recall. So to be faced with the actual true event instead of what our mind has molded it into over the years, well, it must be jarring at least! Interesting.

Michael May said...

This is a great point. It would be fascinating to watch Young Me from Old Me's perspective. Not only to see what I've misremembered, but also to contextualize things that I've built up in my mind as super-important that maybe actually weren't.

Caffeinated Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caffeinated Joe said...

Or in Scrooge's case, to remember what was really important after all!


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