This version of the story is told from the perspective of B.A.H. Humbug. After Ebenezer Scrooge refuses to assist the poor or have Christmas Dinner with his nephew, he is visited by the ...
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A young shepherd, Lucas (David Kelley), is blinded by lightning, and some kindly nuns at a nearby abbey take him in. Sister Catherine (Iris Rainer) describes Christmas snow to Lucas and he works a small miracle.
Arthur Rankin Jr.
This version of the story is told from the perspective of B.A.H. Humbug. After Ebenezer Scrooge refuses to assist the poor or have Christmas Dinner with his nephew, he is visited by the ghost of his one time business partner and friend, Jacob Marley. Marley tells him to change his ways and Scrooge refutes this as madness. He is then visited by three ghosts, all who show him what his future will be like if he doesn't change his ways.
This special is an animated remake of the live-action musical version created for the "Alcoa Hour" in 1956. See that series listing for details and see "Episodes Cast" for the cast. See more »
There is a spirit in the world of generosity/ That brings good things to all of us, whoever we may be/ So I believe in Santa Claus, for it can't be denied/ That he is generosity personified/ Yes, there is a Santa Claus for children everywhere/ Though you may watch the chimney tops and never see him there/ People say his magic sleigh flies in the sky above/ But you might find it anywhere you find unselfish love/ Oh, yes, he really does exist/ And Santa Claus will live/ As long as hearts...
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"The Stingiest Man In Town" was a lost Christmas special churned out by Rankin-Bass, the company behind many of the most celebrated TV specials of all time. Those specials most notably include "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty The Snowman", and "The Little Drummer Boy". It doesn't matter that the animation style of these specials, whether regular, 2D animation or stop-motion, are archaic in comparison to the dominant, but not necessarily superior, 3D animation popular today. These specials stand the test of time for their colorful characters and great storytelling skills.
This special, originally broadcast on network TV in 1978, just recently found its way onto DVD by way of the "Classic Christmas Favorites" box set. Although it is good to see such TV specials get the recognition they deserve after being put on the back-burner for 30+ years, "The Stingiest Man In Town" lacks the charm, purpose, and uniqueness of its TV predecessors. It's good, but not great.
My major problem with this special is in the title. I will admit that one of my biggest pet peeves is when a movie that is clearly based on Charles Dickens' immortal "A Christmas Carol" is instead titled "Scrooge". Sure, the main character is Ebenezer Scrooge, but that's NOT the title of the story to which it is based. That said, the reason the title "The Stingiest Man In Town" does not sit well with me is because I was expecting a different story. Other men besides Scrooge can be stingy, can't they? Is Ebenezer Scrooge the only person in the history of literature and storytelling who initially hated Christmas? Of course not. So instead of getting a fresher story about a different man, Rankin-Bass here adds yet another version of "A Christmas Carol" to a never-ending list of movie versions.
I will give this special credit for staying truer to the Dickens story than other versions. However, there's nothing unique or fresh about this retelling. Adding the character of B.A.H. Humbug the bug, a blatant and unnecessary ripoff of Jiminy Cricket, wasn't enough to make this retelling memorable. In fact, the bug doesn't interact much, if at all, with any of the main characters. Plus, he seems way too cheerful to be named after a word defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the quality of falseness or deception". Does that mean the bug is deceiving someone? It doesn't make sense.
This TV special was not bad, mind you, but certainly is not as memorable as animation specials that Rankin-Bass had released before. There were musical numbers, but none of great significance. I can't fault the animation style, but the problem lay in it feeling as though the special was put together at the last minute. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come makes one brief appearance as he points to a grave, and that fleeting moment, alas, is the extent of the dark, climactic turning point of the original story.
Seeing as this T.V. special's original air date (according to this website) was two days before Christmas, there is no doubt in my mind that the special had added pressure to air before families supposedly turned off their TVs to cook Christmas dinner, do last minute shopping, or attend church services. If the special was, in fact, rushed, it really does show. It is true to the Dickens story, but it could have been so much more. As it is, it was just okay to me.
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