Mickey’s Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Christmas specials for a number of years. It is the retelling of the Charles Dickens’ classic short novel, “A Christmas Carol.” It has a large number of cameos from various Disney characters. It is one of those rare animation specials where all these characters from different Disney-Verses show up in the same place. And, the animation is incredible. It is one of the last great animation specials with hand-drawn animation. It feels like a lost art today.
Obviously, Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, is the main character. McDuck was actually based on Dickens’ Scrooge. Scrooge’s home was in the comics, but was in an animated film once prior to this one: 1967’s Scrooge McDuck and Money. Scrooge is a grouchy, old man who is more concerned about his money than he is the welfare of others.
Many will remember that this special as Mickey’s return to the screen. This would be the first time since Mickey’s retirement in 1953. Similarly, it would be the same for Donald and Goofy, returning after twenty-two years. Along with characters from Fun and Fancy Free (1948) and The Wind in the Willows (1949), it seems to be an attempt during the dark years of Disney films, to reclaim some of nostalgia. It wouldn’t be until Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and The Little Mermaid (1989) the darkness of the ’80s would become brighter for Disney.
And it offers a small glimmer of brightness. Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit does not give up hope that things will be better. When the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge by their house, he thinks they have more food than what they are serving, only to find out that the pot on the stove is cleaning is laundry. Scrooge can’t believe it.
Goofy’s Jacob Marley gives Scrooge one piece of advice before he leaves, “Do what they say.” Marley warns his friend and former partner against becoming like him, bearing the chains of his sins for eternity. And Scrooge does so. He is filled with the Christmas spirit and good cheer. He runs through the streets shouting “Merry Christmas” to others. He donates to charity, buys toys for Mickey’s children, and makes Mickey a partner in the business.
Scrooge represents the transformation that we talk about – long for – during the Advent season. It is the transformation that the Holy Child beckons us to be and to share. May this Advent and Christmas season be one filled with transformation.