The story of miser Ebenezer Scrooge, a tyrant and general jerk who is visited by the ghost of Marley, his deceased business partner, followed by three ghosts on Christmas Eve is a beautiful tale of misery and redemption. It's a perfect reminder to us about the true spirit of Christmas - and that it's never too late for us to change for the better. As a result of the over-arching moral themes and charming plot, this book has been adapted over and over again for film and television.
My favorite version is the one with Alistair Sim that was released in 1951...it's shown on network TV every year. One of the joys I've discovered with Netflix DVDs is that there are so many - and each has its own charm. Scrooge was played as a straight drama by such greats as Reginald Owen (1938), Patrick Stewart (1999), George C. Scott (1984), Michael Hordern (1977), Seymour Hicks (silent - 1913), Kelsey Grammer (2004), and even Marlo Thomas as Ebby Scrooge (1977), to name just a few. Of course, there are comedies as well - the best being "Scrooged," with Bill Murray (1988). Untold numbers of animated versions were created, like "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol" (1962) and Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). Jim Carrey even made an animated version in 2009. Several TV shows produced special episodes with the "Christmas Carol" story line, like "Doctor Who," "Sanford and Son," "Beavis and Butthead," and "Blackadder." The best TV adaptation comes from "Family Ties," in which Alex Keaton (Michael J. Fox) sees the error of his "bah, humbug" ways, and buys his family unusual gifts from the local convenience store.
Personally, I never get tired of being walked through a full range of human emotion as the ghosts walk Scrooge through his life. The moment when Scrooge realizes that he can and wants to be a better person, and when he sees how that affects everyone his life -- never ceases to bring out the tears. There isn't anyone who can't learn from any adaptation of "A Christmas Carol." You can find many of these on the Netflix DVD service (http://www.dvd.com), and get your Scrooge on during December - or any month! Just search for "A Christmas Carol" or "Scrooge," and you'll be able to choose from all your favorite actors - and many that you haven't heard of.
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