About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Christmas Carol with Vincent Price (1949)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I've spent the month of October discussing Halloween and Christmas crossover entertainments--from horror movies set at Christmas time to Bewitched Christmas episodes to ghostly Christmas stories on TV.  I've had a fun time recalling all these crossovers, and I hope you have too.

In this version, Taylor Holmes plays Ebeneezer Scrooge.

There's one last TV special I wanted to share:  1949's The Christmas Carol.  What makes this adaptation so unique?  It includes everyone's favorite actor Vincent Price who also appeared in quite a few horror movies in his long career.

Narrator Vincent Price.

This is a very early TV special that runs one half-hour in length, making it one of the shortest adaptations of the book by Charles Dickens.  The short length has an economy of detail that’s interesting to compare to longer, fuller versions. It distinguishes itself further by having its story narrated by actor Vincent Price!  Price has significant screen time, appearing on camera as if reading from the book.  Though he's not particularly spooky here, Price's presence in the production makes this version of the popular Christmas ghost story noteworthy.

I believe the nine year-old Jill Oppenheim is the Cratchit daughter on the left in this photo.

One of Cratchit’s daughters, Missie, is played by child actor, Jill Oppenheim.  However, you may recognize this actress by her professional name she took later in her career: Jill St. John.

Actor Robert Clarke regularly appeared in the late '60s color episodes of Dragnet.

The character of the nephew Fred is played by another recognizable actor, Robert Clarke.  I know him from the late 60s Dragnet episodes but he was also on The King Family variety TV series--and its Christmas specials--in the 1960s (Clarke was King Sister Alyce's husband).

Who better to narrate a Christmas ghost story?

[Editor's Note: Sorry--this giveaway has ended!]  Would you like to add this DVD to your collection?  I have a brand new, factory-sealed DVD of this TV special I'd like to share with a loyal reader of my blog.  To qualify for the prize giveaway:
--leave a comment below with the words "Vincent Price."  You can enter again on Facebook and Twitter by commenting with the words "Vincent Price" at the following locations:

Facebook page: Christmas TV History
Facebook page: Tis the Season TV
Facebook page: Christmas TV Companion

So you could enter up to five times by leaving the correct comment at all five locations.  This giveaway is for North American residents only.  This runs from today, Wed October 31--Saturday, November 3, noon (ET).  On Nov. 3rd at noon, I'll use random.org to generate a number from the total number of qualifying entries to select a winner.  Good luck and Happy Halloween!


  1. Sounds amazing, never heard of this until today! Hope you have had a great October, Joanna! I have enjoyed all of your posts. Happy Halloween!

  2. Vincent Price is amazing!
    Didn't know this existed - how cool!

    Happy Halloween to you!

  3. Vincent Price Tells the tail of ghost's hosting Christmas Carol! Wow never seen or heard of this one.

  4. Congratulations to Caffeinated Joe! Of the eleven qualified entries for this contest, random.org picked #1. Thanks to everyone for entering. I'll have another giveaway very soon so there's more opportunities to win fun stuff.

  5. Wow. How awesome! Thank you, Joanna!

  6. Actually the girl on the left is Karen Kester (my mother in law) Had fun looking up old acting info. for her 80th birthday. :)

  7. Off to see about getting a DVD of the TV Special. Never knew they had one. So thankful to find your posting through google images today. :) Know the grandkids would love to see her back in the day. :)