About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Animation Celebration: Mickey's Christmas Carol

Welcome back to Christmas in July: Animation Celebration!  July is the special time of the year that I turn the blog over to my readers.  All month long I'm posting essays written by people eager to share their passion and memories for animated Christmas entertainments.

Today's post is a second Disney title, Mickey's Christmas Carol from 1983. (Did you see yesterday's essay on Disney's The Small One?)  Can you believe Mickey's Christmas Carol is 30 years old this year?  This essay is written by Jaleh Najafali who also likes to write for the website The Hungry Nomad as a food blogger.  Merry Christmas in July!

Some people enjoy Thanksgiving, others live for Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure there’s at least one person out there who loves Labor Day. However, my holiday is Christmas, and one of my favorite parts of the season is the movies. I always watch The Year Without a Santa Claus, The Santa Clause, and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, but my long-time favorite is Mickey’s Christmas Carol.

Mickey Mouse as Scrooge's assistant Bob Cratchit.

This short movie takes Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and puts a Disney spin on it. Some classic Disney characters take up these famous roles, including Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, the man who is characterized by his greed, and Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit, his assistant who is everything Scrooge is not. Other notable characters include Goofy as Jacob Marley and Willie the Giant as the Ghost of Christmas Present. These Disney favorites add another element to the well-known story and make it accessible to people of all ages.

Scrooge receives a visit from Marley

I don’t remember the first time I saw this film, but I do know that for as long as I can remember I’ve watched it during the Christmas season (and sometimes off-season). The thing that this movie does that makes it a great adaptation of Dickens’ story is that it mixes the message of his novel with the fun and creativity of Walt Disney. From the opening music that introduces the characters to the end credits, this film is an enjoyable adventure. 

Black Pete as the Ghost of Christmases Yet to Come

One stand-out scene for me is one of the final scenes with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. As a child, this character portrayed by Black Pete was terrifying with his deep cackle and face lit up by the fires getting ready to claim Ebenezer. While this scene might lack the lighthearted joy that one expects from a Christmas cartoon, it impacted me as a child, and it obviously impacted Ebenezer. While the other two ghosts cause Ebenezer to begin to realize some of the mistakes he has made in his life, it’s not until he discovers his grave that he realizes he has to change. This scene really drives home the message of the film, while the scenes following demonstrate the way these encounters have caused him to reexamine his life and start giving to others rather than taking from them.

The Cratchit family

Of course, the best scene in this sequence of Christmas Day events is when he enters the home of Bob Cratchit after he has seen the poverty that this hard-working yet happy man has been living with, and his son, Tiny Tim, relays the popular line “God Bless Us, Everyone.” Through the lens of Disney, this film is able to remind people what Christmas is all about and do so through some characters that many of us have known since childhood.

Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmases Past

 I love this film because, for me, it encompasses everything that Christmas stands for, the opportunity to change and do good in the world. Christmas is a time of magic and hope, and the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge, especially in the relatable form of Disney, is one of the best examples of how this time can change even some of the worst people for the better. While some people grow out of Christmas films, Disney, and animated features, I know that I will continue to watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and that I will always enjoy this classic.


  1. When I was a kid (born in 1975), I seem to recall watching this on a Sunday night Disney program on ABC. My sister (six years younger than me) is a big fan of the special...

    While I have never been a die-hard Disney fan, this is one of my favorites to catch as well. The story doesn't feel rushed, like a traditional cartoon, and allows viewers to see so many Disney characters in new roles. I think Jiminy Cricket brings a great voice to the special as well.

    Thanks for the great write-up!

  2. I remember seeing this in thelovie theatre when it 1st came out....it played before The Rescuers

  3. I think this is my husband's favorite Christmas special--he loves Pete as well as when Willie the giant takes off the top of the house--and I love it, too, especially the beautiful song.

  4. This was my first exposure to the Dicken's tale, A Christmas Carol, so to my young mind everything else was an imitation. I have to commend Disney for making a truly impactful version of the story in under 30 min. It included all the necessary elements...most importantly, it had heart. The animation is stunning as well. Loved reading your excellent write up on this favorite classic!

  5. I too love how this version of the Dickens tale is cast with familiar Disney characters. It reminds me of what Disney eventually did with The House of Mouse on TV. It's fun for adults and children alike. Thanks for sharing your essay.