Friday, December 30, 2005

Holiday gifts

A huge "thank you" for all the wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah gifts and holiday hospitality.

We went to some lovely little parties at friends' homes, were wined and dined, saw old friends, and met new ones. Got to see Sally flame not one, but two, homemade Christmas puddings on Boxing Day.

I worked this week, so am just now going through my basket of goodies, most of which have a tag attached so I can thank the giver. The only two mystery gifts are the bottle of ice wine and the box of truffles that arrived with visitors. Thank you, whoever you are!

Zorg said he had a gift for me that I really wanted, but had forgotten that I wanted. And he was right: He gave me a box full of videos, each one a version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Last year we'd watched the Muppet version, and I'd wondered about all the interpretations on film. My stash now includes the 1933 version with Sir Seymour Hicks as Scrooge; the venerated 1951 classic with Alasair Sim, the 1970 Scrooge (Albert Finney); the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart; Bill Murray in "Scrooged"; animations from Mr. Maggoo, the Muppets, and Dr. Suess (Boris Karloff narration), along with one very generic version; and Vanessa Williams' "Diva's Christmas Carol."

Excluding obscure silent film versions (there are many), all I am missing now is George C. Scott (1984 - TV), the 2004 TV version with Kelsey Grammer, the 1938 version with Reginald Owen, the 1971 animation (with Alastair Sim doing the Scrooge voice!); the 1997 animal with Tim Curry and Whoopi Goldberg; a 2000 British TV version that has gotten some good reviews; a 1977 British TV version; the 2004 Italian version (Natale a Casa Deejay); a 1982 TV version narrated by John Gielgud; a 1970 TV animation directed by Zoran Janjic; a 1994 ballet version shown on A&E (one "Christmas Carol completist" notes that the ghost of Christmas Past is "unavoidably slender"); the 1953 version shown on the Kraft Television Theatre; a 1950 British TV version starring Bransby Williams; a 1943 TV version with William Podmore as Scrooge; a 1947 TV version starring John Carradine and Eva Marie Saint (keep in mind that not many people owned TVs in the 1940s); a 1949 TV version with Vincent Price as the narrator (now we are talking the inevitable!); and an obscure 1981 TV version with William Paterson.

There are also adaptions such as the 1964 anti-war special "Carol for Another Christmas"; a 1971 animation with, yet again, Alastair Sim; the New England version, "An American Christmas Carol"; a 2000 TV version with Ross Kemp; the Walter Mattau-voiced animation "The Stingiest Man in Town" (1978 - TV); a (mostly) animation with voices by Simon Callow, Cate Winslet, Nicholas Cage, and Michael Gambon ("Christmas Carol: The Movie" 2001); a 1984 French TV version with Michel Bouquet; "Ms Scrooge" with Cicely Tyson (1997 TV); a 1979 Country music version with Hoyt Axton; a 1978 Canadian TV version with Warren Graves; the 1964 Canadian TV "Mr. Scrooge"; and Rich Little's one-man "A Christmas Carol" for the BBC (1982).

Not to mention the obligatory TV show episodes from Blackadder, the Jetsons, Futurama (with a Tinny Tim robot), the Simpsons (with Mr. Burns as Scrooge), and oh so many more.

God bless us.

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