About Christmas TV History

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Christmas in July 2023: Ms. Scrooge (1997)



Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #13 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 1997 TV movie Ms. Scrooge starring Cicely Tyson as Ebenita Scrooge. Here Ebenita is a successful banker who loves Christmas because people always over-spend and over-borrow money from which she makes her profit. Ebenita is visited by her former boss Maude Marley who warns her about her greed. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Ebenita visions of her father’s struggle to run his own grocery store, her brother’s death in the war, and her choice of a career over love. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Ebenita her employee Bob Cratchit’s family and his need for a decent health care plan. The Ghost of Christmas Future shows her that no one benefits after her death when the government claims her estate and her wealth.  

While this Dickens' adaptation is not the first with a woman in the lead role nor is it the first African-American character as Scrooge, it is the first with a black woman as the central character--a popular feature that has been repeated many times since.


This TV movie made its debut on the USA network and has since been released on home video.

This Scrooge story ends with Ebenita in church after her Christmas Eve transformation. While this isn't the only TV or film adaptation to send Scrooge to church, it is one that forwards the central role of the Black church for African Americans. TV fans may notice that this film is directed by John Korty, the same person who directed Tyson in the TV movie classic The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. 



The cast includes Cicely Tyson as Ebenita Scrooge, Katherine Helmond as Maude Marley, and John Bourgeois as Bob Cratchit.



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

No comments:

Post a Comment