Back in 1971, when yours truly was a mere 9 years of age, ABC broadcast a remarkable animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” that – put simply – scared the #$%^$ out of me.
Directed by Richard Williams – who also co-produced the effort with the legendary Chuck Jones – this Christmas Carol was frightfully faithful to Dickens’ classic novella and employed a unique visual style that was inspired by the 19th century wood engravings that accompanied the original story.
The cartoon also benefited from truly innovative animation techniques – Ken Harris, who worked on some of Jones’ greatest Warner shorts was listed as “Master Animator” – a remarkable performance by Alastair Sim as Scrooge and the scariest Jacob Marley one could ever imagine.
The level of quality was so high for what was seen on TV at the time that the adaptation was eventually shown in movie theaters and even won the Academy Award for Best Short Animated Film in 1972.
Sadly, this iteration of “A Christmas Carol” is mostly forgotten due to ABC – and other networks’ – apparent reluctance the broadcast the program. (Too scary? Not enough toe-tapping tunes?)
Of course, nothing ever truly disappears anymore thanks to the Internet. If this is the first time you’ve seen this adaption, I hope you find it as memorable as my 9-year-old self.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and a great Festivus for the rest of us!