Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Let's Try This Again: Covetous Old Sinner
A couple of years ago, I started a second blog to take an in-depth look at everyone's favorite Christmas/ghost story, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Similar to what Siskoid's doing with Hamlet, my goal was to pay attention to the way Scrooge's story has been interpreted and adapted to other media over the years.
I decided to make it its own blog because I thought that I might be stretching this one a bit by talking about it here. Two things have changed my mind. First, let's be honest: I stretch the boundaries of this blog all the time (if it even has any boundaries, which I doubt). Having a Christmas Carol theme month in December isn't all that different from taking the month of October to talk about Frankenstein.
More than that though, putting this project on its own blog just hasn't worked for my schedule. It's time consuming and whenever I had to make the choice between updating the Christmas Carol blog or updating this one, this one was always going to win. Still, it's a project that I want to see through, so bringing it here will help me do that.
The way this is going to work is that I’ll break the story down into scenes (or sometimes parts of scenes) and look at their translation to 18 different films, TV shows, and comics:
• 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
• Teen Titans #13 (DC; 1968)
• Scrooge (1970) starring Albert Finney
• A Christmas Carol cartoon (1971) starring Alastair Sim
• The Stingiest Man in Town (1978) starring Walter Matthau
• Marvel Classics Comics #36 (Marvel; 1978)
• Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) starring Scrooge McDuck
• A Christmas Carol (1984) starring George C. Scott
• The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) starring Michael Caine
• A Christmas Carol (1999) starring Patrick Stewart
• A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel (Classical Comics; 2008)
• A Christmas Carol (2009) starring Jim Carrey
• A Christmas Carol (Campfire; 2010)
• "A Christmas Carol" in Graphic Classics, Vol. 19: Christmas Classics (Eureka; 2010)
Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list. I started with my favorites, then added some that people have recommended to me 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 Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol isn’t here 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 I'll talk about one scene; starting with Dickens' version, then looking at the adaptations of that scene in the days leading up to Christmas. I'm not saying that this is the only thing I'll be doing here all month - we'll have some People Hating Cephalopods and at least one Wonder Woman follow-up - but Scrooge will be the priority. Starting tomorrow, when we'll let Dickens introduce the miserable old sinner.