Just like A Christmas Story, this blog entry needs no catchy title or clever moniker. So many of these Christmas tales are stories of redemption as the bitter and the jaded are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Whether that be the antagonist in Christmas Vacation in the form of Clark Griswold’s boss or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, some curmudgeon comes to the realization that goodwill toward men is this way to go over greed and avarice.
Tonight’s entry is the best example of all. As the main character was visited by three spirits, I give you three different versions.
Reginald Owen set the standard in 1938 and Alistair Sim perfected it in 1951. George C. Scott was well, George C. Scott in the 1984 version. There have been numerous adaptations and stage productions, animated versions, dramatic readings, radio presentations and the Muppets.
We all know the story. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly, nasty, bitter business man is visited by the ghost of his former business partner one cold, lonely Christmas Eve. Scrooge is warned that he needs to change his ways and learn to keep Christmas, and that he will be visited by three spirits to teach him these lessons.
The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future drop in on Scrooge, who is reminded of and shown who and what he once was, why he is the way he is and what will happen if he doesn’t learn to be charitable.
The triumvirate of specters is successful and by the end of the story Scrooge makes a sizable donation to charity, makes up with his estranged nephew, rehires and gives a raise to his assistant and pledges to provide the funds for his assistant’s son’s medical treatment.
Again, we know the story as Tiny Tim delivers one of Charles Dickens’ most memorable and iconic lines.
My favorite is the 1951 version with Alistair Sim and it is a must-watch. I have been known to kill a bottle of Merlot while taking it in on Christmas Eve. To me the three versions I mention here are the essentials. I don’t care for the animated versions and I have never seen the Muppets version. I don’t like the musical version. I think Sim really captures who and what Scrooge is and he is very believable as he finally sees the light.
As someone who has been described as bitter at an early age, I can certainly identify with Scrooge. However, it can never be said that I don’t know how to keep Christmas and those close to me know that I can be charitable.