About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Christmas in July 2023: Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)


Merry Christmas in July--and Happy 4th of July! It is Day #4 in the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. Each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies that are a creative or imaginative adaptation of Charles Dickens' tale A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition will be released soon). 

Today's discussion is on the animated short Mickey's Christmas Carol. The Oscar-nominated, half-hour animated short film from Walt Disney Productions was first released into theaters in 1983 to accompany a re-release of The Rescuers. Its debut on TV was in 1984 on NBC. When on TV, it is often scheduled in a one hour-long time slot, lengthened with additional Disney cartoons or paired with footage to promote a new Disney animated theatrical release. 



This adaptation of Charles Dickens’ literary tale includes the familiar Disney cartoon characters in the roles of “A Christmas Carol.”  This comedy version of the story is potentially the “cutest” adaptation and an easy-to-watch introduction for children to the Dickens’ classic. The roles are played out with Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit, Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, Donald Duck as nephew Fred, Goofy as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Willie the Giant (from “Mickey and the Beanstalk” in 1947’s “Fun and Fancy Free”) as the Ghost of Christmas Present, the villain Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Future, Minnie Mouse as Mrs. Cratchit, Daisy Duck as Isabelle [Belle], and Mortie Mouse as Tiny Tim. Many other recognizable characters from past Disney cartoons fill in as the background characters throughout the rest of the story. Pay special attention during street scenes and during Fezziwig’s dance scene for a deep dive into classic Disney characters!


Alan Young on the TV sitcom "Mister Ed."

The 1983 animated short film was adapted from the 1975 Disneyland Storyteller Record written by Alan Young and Alan Dinehart. Yes--the record came before the cartoon. And, its writer, Alan Young, is the same man who starred as Wilbur Post on the 1960s TV series Mister Ed with the talking palomino. Young also voiced Scrooge McDuck on the original record and again in the cartoon. This 1983 short film is also known to be the last time Clarence Nash voiced Donald Duck. And, Mickey’s Christmas Carol was Mickey Mouse’s return to theater screens after thirty years (the previous Mickey cartoon was 1953’s “The Simple Things”).


The short film includes the original song “Oh What a Merry Christmas Day,” with music by Irwin Kostal and lyrics by Fredrick Searles. 


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

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