Every year, as we approach the final few weeks of that year, the network television lineup is chock-full of animated children's holiday specials. If you happen to tune in at that time, you can get reacquainted with characters from your childhood, including Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost, the Grinch, Jack from Tim Burton's 'Nightmare Before Christmas', and of course Charlie Brown.
Although few take the time to think about how all of this got started, there is a general misperception on the part of the public that Mr. Charles Schultz and his 'Peanuts' gang was the very first of the lot, and inspired all that came after. The Warner Brothers production of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' was not the very first of these animated holiday specials. That distinction goes to the NBC produced 'Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol' which aired in December of 1962.
Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol is considered by many to be a true classic by audiences and critics alike. As recently as 2006, National Public Radio listeners ranked Mister Magoo as their favorite Ebenezer Scrooge. Bolstering this wonderful story is the rich plot derived from 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, but the true joy of watching this almost hour-long special is the original music created by the song writing team of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill who wrote the music for many of our most famous Broadway shows such as 'Funny Girl'.
After all of this time, the Mister Magoo's Christmas special is still charming and inspiring, and will appeal equally to both children and adults. The voice over work of Ebenezer Scrooge was performed by Jim Backus that actor who is famous for playing the millionaire Thurston Howell, III in the 'Gilligan's Island' television show. Fans of classic movies everywhere will be pleased to be reminded that Mr. Backus is the actor who played the father of James Dean's character in the movie 'Rebel Without a Cause'.