Scrooge 2: Mickey’s Christmas Carol Blu-ray Review

mickey blu-ray I have the day off work today so I figured I would post a couple reviews, watch some holiday movies!

Now for one of my favorite Christmas Carol versions and the best animated version to come out, Mickey’s Christmas Carol.  This is an animated short (about 20 minutes) that was released in 1983 with the rerelease of The Rescuers.  It was the first theatrical appearance of Mickey Mouse in 30 years. (I would like to see another Mickey appearance soon!).

Originally it was a radio play by Disneyland Records and you can tell because the script is very well done. Scrooge is a bit of a smart-allick here and a lot of the witty dialogue helps temper the scary moments while still keeping the tension, and basic redemption effective.


The cast:

Voice actor Character Role
Alan Young Scrooge McDuck Ebenezer Scrooge
Wayne Allwine Mickey Mouse Bob Cratchit
Hal Smith Goofy Jacob Marley’s ghost
Eddie Carroll Jiminy Cricket Ghost of Christmas Past
Will Ryan Willie the Giant Ghost of Christmas Present
Will Ryan Pete Ghost of Christmas Future
Clarence Nash Donald Duck Fred, Scrooge’s nephew
Patricia Parris Daisy Duck Isabelle (“Belle” in the novella)

greedy scrooge mickey

Scrooge- Given they already had a character named Scrooge McDuck who is famous for skiing on his gold this was a no brainer. Alan Young is wonderful as Scrooge and gives a lot of humor to the lead vocal.

Differences- Obviously the biggest difference is we have our Disney characters anthropomorphized as the title characters of Christmas Carol.  They pull a lot from Fun and Fancy Free and Ichabod and Mr Toad which I guess is understandable given they have a lot of characters that fit a Victorian era.

It’s interesting they went the Victorian route.  A lot of the other cartoon versions such as Smurfs or Flintstones take the story into their worlds, but I like that it feels of period.

The introductory scene is fairly standard featuring Mickey as Cratchit, Donald as Fred (Donald just makes me smile every time I see him), and Rat and Mole as the benefactors.


Scrooge’s response to them is classic.

“well you realize if you give money to the poor they won’t be poor any more and if they aren’t poor any more than you won’t have to raise money for them and you two will be out of a job. Oh please gentlemen don’t as me to put you out of a job”

That is very clever and gives Scrooge a sarcasm and humor I don’t recall as pronounced in many other versions. I also like his next line:

“You work all your life to get money and people want you to give it away”.  It is interesting because if his life work were painting people wouldn’t expect him to give those away for nothing but a life work of money is.

There is no ‘let them die and decrease the surplus population’ which is perhaps a bit harsh for this version so good choice.


With Past played by Jimminy Cricket.  Their initial interaction is very good.

Scrooge says “I thought you’d be taller”

Jimminy “If men were measured by kindness you’d be no bigger than a speck of dust”

Scrooge “Kindness is of little use in this world”

So that becomes a theme of the program.  Is kindness of any use?  Later from Present we hear of ‘generosity’ and Present tells Scrooge he’s never given anyone a reason to be generous to him. That’s an interesting take on the message of Christmas Carol.  The world is good and full of light but we have a responsibility to accept that light.

With Past we go right to Fezziwig’s (no childhood or other scenes) and it is mainly to introduce to Belle played by Daisy (and I think the only time Daisy is not with Donald). We then get to his counting house and I like that Scrooge is sentimental when he first see’s it, even excited.

This is before he see’s himself foreclose on Isabelle’s honeymoon cottage for being an hour late on the payment. It is dramatic enough to quickly explain to kids a complicated economic process of mortgages while getting the core emotion right.


Present takes him to see the Cratchit’s only (no Fred) and Scrooge is immediately taken with Tiny Tim.  The Cratchit’s poverty is shown in a quick yet effective way with a turkey the size of a canary.  That’s simple for kids to understand.Makes the point about suffering and poverty without dwelling on it too much for kids.

canary turkey

Present leaves him in front of the Cratchit’s house and he asks Future what will happen and Scrooge’s ‘Oh no. Spirit I didn’t want this to happen” is a very well delivered line.


The finale is very effective with Scrooge falling into the grave and pleading for change but I don’t think too scary for kids.

Strengths-  Some may want to discount a Mickey Christmas Carol as more of a lark but I actually think it is a good adaptation, and it is great way to introduce small kids to the story. All the voice work is tremendous, and I like Scrooge’s sarcastic attitude.  He gets the most glee out of his money and jingling the coins together than many other Scrooge’s.  Mickey is of course great as Cratchit and the ghosts are all effective.

The script is the real standout.  It’s very sharply done and teaches a lesson about kindness and generosity without getting to heavy handed(ignorance and want aren’t shown, no decrease surplus population).  Instead of Scrooge being a bad man (not caring if people die) he is merely someone who isn’t allowing people to be kind to him, not allowing others into his life.  It’s a slightly different take that I like.

As I said the finale is very well done.  Crazy Scrooge is very good with him coming back to get his cane  to be fully dressed in his pajamas. They do a good job throughout of painting a complex picture in one dramatic moment (like the honeymoon cottage bit tells kids exactly what they need to know quickly so it doesn’t feel like a mean-spirited film).

mickey finale

Weaknesses- I honestly could have seen this be a feature film.  A few scenes could have been fleshed out even more.  I could have seen Scrooge look in on Fred playing games in present or Scrooge as a child in the past segments. (Muppets does both very well).

Goofy is maybe a bit of an odd choice for Marley.  He’s so loveable and silly it is hard to picture him as a bad guy. Perhaps a Disney villain might have worked better? But I suppose it helps relieve some of the scares for little kids.

The music is kind of a corny Christmas song but it works.

Certainly one of the best and that’s not just nostalgia talking, and like I said my favorite animated version.

30th Anniversary Blu-ray- (Some say online they clip off the top and bottom for wide screen.  I did not notice a dramatic difference)

The recent blu-ray release of it is gorgeous.  The HD looks bright, clear and beautiful.  It includes 5 animated shorts that are very entertaining.

1. Yoldelberg- 2013 but done in the style of Mary Blair for the program Mickey Mouse, which I am intrigued to watch.  Paul Rudish animates it beautifully.

2. The Hockey Champ- 1939, early Donald teaching Huey Louie and Dewey how to play hockey.  I love Donald!

3. Pluto’s Christmas Tree- 1952, Pluto battles with Chip and Dale as they tease him from inside Mickey’s Christmas tree.

4. The Art of Skiing- 1941, The first of Goofy’s ‘how to’ series.

5. Corn Chips- 1951, Chip and Dale try to steal popcorn from Donald and it gets out of control.  I didn’t realize Chip and Dale were a part of so many shorts?

As you are watching the blu-ray you can also pause for sing along segments of our favorite carols. It would be nice if they had a behind the scenes or other bonus features considering its a 30 year anniversary blu-ray but all in all I’m satisfied with the restoration and blu-ray.

Movie 6: Saludos Amigos

Now we are up to the feature films of animated shorts from Disney and Saludos Amigos is the first of two aimed at Latin American audiences.

saludos amigosAt the beginning of 1941 before Pearl Harbor and US entry into the war Disney was asked by the state department to do a goodwill tour of South America.  Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros were a result of that effort.

The state department was worried the Latin American countries might be sympathetic to the Nazi’s so it was crucial to do something.

While getting the needed grant from the government to make these shorts Disney was also changing strategy.  Instead of the ambitious artpieces of their first 5 films they went with bankable stars like Donald and Goofy and shorts that could be easily put alongside other movies in a theater.  Gone was the Fantasound and other expensive theater strategies.  This was make something fun and charming using the characters everyone loves.  Nothing wrong with that but it has made the movies from 1943-1950 kind of forgettable.

Here’s a trailer

Saludos premiered in August 1942 in Brazil and in 1943 in the US.  Part of the reason Disney agreed to these films is they were part of a federal grant and the loss of the European market in the war had been a huge blow.  Combined with a strike that year they needed the funds.

The movie is kind of like a travelogue of Latin America sometimes in live action and then 4 animated sets.  To a modern day audience it seems out of date and corny but at the time it was very popular.

Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludo Amigos “did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years”.

An article I read in Time magazine January 1943 said people in Rio de Janeiro “screamed so loudly for an encore that another feature had to be halted in mid-reel and Saludos Amigos run off again”

I found a review from the New York Times from 1943 and it called Saludos Amigos “charming” and “a gay 40 minute potpourri”

The movie has four segments that are introduced with live action shots:

Lake Titicaca- Donald Duck visits the lake and deals with a llama in the funniest skit

Donald learning about the culture
donald llama
Donald dealing with a llama!

Next we have

Pedro- A story about a small plane in Santiago who must take the mail when Papa Plane and Mama Plane can’t do it.  Pretty much a Rudolph storyline.

pedro the planeEl Gaucho Goofy- Set in Argentina Goofy must learn to be an Argentine Cowboy- or a gaucho.  This is very similar to the other Goofy ‘how to’ videos such as the one on photography.

goofy cowboyThere is also a scene where Goofy and the horse are dancing which looks strange…

Aquarela do Brasil- Set in Rio this short is as if the characters and ideas for the story are being drawn by an artist and those paintings come alive.

We also get introduced to Jose Oliveira who is a Portuguese parrot. He is a cool looking character but tough to understand sometimes.

rioAnd that’s about all there is to it.

The soundtrack sold well and is fun and includes samba and other latin inspired dances.

I couldn’t find the box office results but from what I’ve read it sounds like it did pretty well.

My Review

So how does it hold up?  Not very well I’m afraid.  It’s harmless and kind of fun to see what propaganda films looked like in the 40s.  The music is engaging and some of the cultural attractions are neat to see (some of them also seem way outdated).

The animated sets are cute but nothing mind blowing.  Unlike previous Disney products these are not art but sprightly entertainment.  And it’s only 41 minutes so hard to be too tough on it but it didn’t feel like a feature film.  However, it’s on Disneys list of animated classics so I watched it.

It’s not horrible just not one of my favorites.

Incidentally it seems you could write an interesting screenplay about this goodwill tour Walt and the animators took, these movies, the enthusiastic response and the dealings with the state department.  Just a hunch.

I am a little surprised they didn’t use Mickey since it was a goodwill tour. Still always enjoy seeing Donald and Goofy.  The animated segments hold up better than the live action which feel dated partly from the trappings of 40’s technology and dress (and film).  The whole project kind of feels like an episode of Sesame Street with humans and animation instead of puppets.

Kids will enjoy each of the animated sections especially if you come from a Latino background and the story of the Goodwill mission is interesting. The war would have been much different if South and Central America had gone with the Nazis.

Overall Grade C Generic but pleasant enough.