A Dickens of a History – Variations on a Christmas Carol

in Movies, Movies & TV, Television


As this classic holiday tale also happens to be a ghost story, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite holiday tales.  Issued in 1843, it was an overnight hit and has never gone out of print.  The timeless tale of greed versus goodwill towards men has been told repeatedly in all forms of media from the theater, radio, television, and film (it’s even been produced as an opera).  The novel’s reception had such an impact on Victorian England and the rest of the world; it not only increased charitable giving the following year, but businesses also began closing on Christmas day (some even giving turkeys to their workers).

Over thirty movies and TV specials were filmed to tell the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts who changed his life.  Inside the Magic has compiled a long list (ranging over 100 years) of this holiday ghost story (omitted are live broadcasts to which there are no recordings).

1901 – Scrooge, or Marley’s Ghost (earliest known film version)

1908 –A Christmas Carol (Thomas Ricketts as Scrooge)

1910 – A Christmas Carol (Marc McDermott as Scrooge) – a silent film about 11 minutes long

1913 – Scrooge (Sir Seymour Hicks as Scrooge)

1914 – A Christmas Carol (Charles Rock as Scrooge)

1916 – The Right to be Happy (Rupert Julian as Scrooge) – first full-length film

1923 – A Christmas Carol (Russell Thorndike as Scrooge)

1928 – Scrooge (Bransby Williams as Scrooge) – first sound version

1935 – Scrooge (Sir Seymour Hicks as Scrooge)

1938 – A Christmas Carol (Reginald Owen as Scrooge)

1947 – Leyenda de Navidad (Jesus Tordesillas as Scrooge) – Spanish version

1949 – The Christmas Carol (Taylor Holmes as Scrooge) – Vincent Price was the narrator

1951 –Scrooge/A Christmas Carol (US) (Alastair Sim as Scrooge)

1962 – Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol TV/Animated

1962 – Mr. Scrooge (Cyril Richard as Scrooge) TV

1969 – A Christmas Carol (Ron Haddrick as Scrooge) TV/Animated

1970 – Scrooge (Albert Finney as Scrooge) – musical (also included Sir Alec Guinness)

1971 – A Christmas Carol (Alistair Sim as Scrooge) TV/Animated

1978 – Rich Little’s Christmas Carol (Rich Little as Scrooge) TV/HBO

1978 – The Stingiest Man in Town (Walter Matthau as Scrooge) TV/Animated (Rankin-Bass)

1979 – A Bugs Bunny Christmas Carol (Yosemite Sam as Scrooge) TV/Animated

1983 – Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Scrooge McDuck as Scrooge)

1984 – A Christmas Carol (George C Scott as Scrooge) TV special

1988 – Scrooged (Bill Murray as Scrooge)

1988 – Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

1992 – The Muppet Christmas Carol (Michael Caine as Scrooge)

1992 – Brer Rabbit’s Christmas Carol TV/Animated

1994 – A Flinstones Christmas Carol TV/Animated

1997 – A Christmas Carol (Tim Curry as Scrooge) animated

1999 – A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart as Scrooge) TV

2000 – A Diva’s Christmas Carol

2001 – Christmas Carol: The Movie (Nicholas Cage)

2004 – A Christmas Carol, The Musical (Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge) TV

2006 – A Sesame Street Christmas Carol (Oscar the Grouch as Scrooge) direct to DVD

2009 – A Christmas Carol (Disney/Jim Carey as Scrooge)

2013 – The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol –direct to DVD


With over thirty visual variations of Dickens’ novel about what Christmas is really about, it’s ironic how much commercial value the story has produced over the past hundred years.  With that thought in mind, this 1958 Stan Freeberg classic from “Green Christmas” sums it all up nicely:

Related : Jodi Benson Sings Christmas Carols at Give Kids the World

  Get into the Holiday Spirits Phantasmagoria style – “A Christmas Carol” performances to materialize in Central FL

Which version of Scrooge and company stand out for you and your family?  Tell us in the comments below.

View Comments (4)