Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol

Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol is a 1962 animated musical holiday television special produced by UPA. It is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, and it features UPA's character Mr. Magoo as Ebenezer Scrooge. The special first aired on December 18, 1962 on NBC and was the first animated Christmas special to be produced specifically for television.[1][2]

Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol
2007 DVD cover
Based onA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Written byBarbara Chain
Directed byAbe Levitow
Voices ofJim Backus
Morey Amsterdam
Jack Cassidy
Royal Dano
Paul Frees
Composer(s)Walter Scharf
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Lee Orgel
Henry G. Saperstein
Running time53 mins
Production company(s)United Productions of America
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Original releaseDecember 18, 1962

Jim Backus provides the voice of Magoo, with additional voices provided by Paul Frees, Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, and Jack Cassidy.[3] The special is directed by Abe Levitow and features songs composed by Jule Styne, with lyrics by Bob Merrill.[4]


Mr. Magoo is heading to a theater on Broadway, where he is starring as Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical production based on A Christmas Carol. Due to Magoo's nearsightedness, he arrives thirty minutes late and accidentally injures the director ("It's Great to Be Back on Broadway").

Scrooge is a miserly money lender in Victorian London on Christmas Eve, counting money while his clerk Bob Cratchit is underpaid and has no coal for his fire ("Ringle, Ringle"). After rudely refusing two men who ask him for a donation to charity, Scrooge reluctantly allows Cratchit to take the holiday off. Scrooge goes home and gets ready for bed, but is visited by the ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley, who has been dead for seven years. Marley is bound in heavy chains due to his misdeeds in life, and warns Scrooge that he risks the same fate unless he heeds the advice of three spirits who will visit him over the course of the night.

The Ghost of Christmas Present visits Scrooge and takes him to observe Cratchit and his family, who are counting their blessings despite their poor situation ("The Lord's Bright Blessing"). The Ghost warns Scrooge that Cratchit's young son Tiny Tim, who is sickly, will not survive until next Christmas if things do not change. The Ghost of Christmas Past visits Scrooge next and takes him back to his boyhood, where Scrooge was a lonely schoolboy ("Alone in the World"). The Ghost also shows him Belle, a woman he had a relationship with before she left him due to his desire for money ("Winter Was Warm").

Scrooge encounters the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and is shown a vision of the future, where an unloved man has recently died. Scrooge sees his belongings being sold to Old Joe, the local rag-and-bone man ("We're Despicable (Plunderer's March)"). Scrooge begs to be shown "tenderness connected with death", but discovers that Tiny Tim has died. The Ghost takes Scrooge to a cemetery and shows him his own grave, revealing that this deceased man is him. Scrooge realizes in anguish that he has spent his life poorly, and repents ("Alone in the World (Reprise)").

Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning with a renewed purpose. He meets the two men from the previous day and makes a generous donation, then anonymously sends Cratchit a Christmas turkey. He later visits Cratchit to give him a raise in pay and help nurse Tiny Tim back to health, and shares Christmas together with them ("The Lord's Bright Blessing (Reprise)").

The musical concludes and the audience applauds. Magoo nearsightedly thinks he is bringing the director out on stage, but really he is bringing him backstage as the stage's props fall on him. Magoo proudly exclaims, "Ah, Magoo, you've done it again, and by George, I've brought down the house!" and wishes both his audience and the television audience a merry Christmas.



  1. "It's Great to Be Back on Broadway"
  2. "It's Great to Be Back on Broadway (Reprise)"
  3. "Ringle, Ringle"
  4. "The Lord's Bright Blessing"
  5. "Alone in the World"
  6. "Winter Was Warm"
  7. "We're Despicable (Plunderer's March)"
  8. "Alone in the World (Reprise)"
  9. "Ringle, Ringle (Reprise)"
  10. "The Lord's Bright Blessing (Reprise)"
  11. "Winter Was Warm (End Credits)"


Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol was produced by UPA in its last days as an animation studio, following its acquisition by Henry G. Saperstein. UPA later produced a television series titled The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, in which Magoo portrayed other literary characters. The series ended soon after as UPA was unable to mass-produce cartoons for television.[3] It fills an hour-long time slot, as opposed to half a hour, which is different from most animated Christmas specials.[6]

The special depicts the visits of the ghosts in a different order than the book, with the Ghost of Christmas Present appearing before Past. Tiny Tim resembles UPA's character Gerald McBoing-Boing and Scrooge's butler resembles Worcestershire, a character from The Mr. Magoo Show.

The special was rerun on NBC throughout the Christmas season until 1969. NBC aired the special again in 2012, with scenes depicting Magoo in the framing device cut in order to make room for commercials. The CW subsequently acquired the broadcast rights to the special; the original special aired in its entirety in 2014, but the NBC version aired the following year. Distribution rights to the special are currently held by NBCUniversal Television Distribution following parent company Comcast's acquisition of its holder ClassicMedia, which was renamed to DreamWorks Classics. It has been released on VHS and DVD by DreamWorks and Sony Wonder.

Clips from the special were seen on television monitors in Scrooged. Animal Collective's debut album Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished is named for one of Scrooge's lines in the special.

The special was parodied as "Mr. McGrew's Christmas Carol" in The Simpsons episode "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" .

See also


  1. Hill, Jim (November 28, 2006). "Scrooge U: Part VI -- Magoo's a musical miser". JimHillMedia.com. Retrieved 2006-12-25.
  2. Murray, Noel (2010-12-20). ""You will be visited by 69 spirits": 23 TV episodes based on "A Christmas Carol" | TV | Inventory". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  3. Kurer, Ron (2007-10-25). "The Nearsighted Mister Magoo". Toon Tracker. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  4. "The Official Jule Styne Website". Julestyne.com. 1962-12-14. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  5. "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol Cast & Crew List". The Big Cartoon Database. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  6. Solomon, Charles (2013). The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation: Celebrating Fifty Years of Television Specials. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-4521-1091-2.
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