For some, it may not be Christmas without Charlie Brown, but my Christmas heart always belonged to Mr. Magoo.
Just as I preferred my great American novels in Classic Comic Book form, so I preferred my Charles Dickens in animation. For me, it wasn’t Christmas without a viewing of Mr. Magoos Christmas Carol.
This year is the sixtieth anniversary of the classic animated cartoon that first aired on NBC in December 1962.
A show within a show, this TV special mashup of beloved vision-challenged cartoon character Mr. Magoo as an actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge and 1950s cartoon star Gerald Mc Boing Boing as Tiny Tim staring in a Broadway stage production of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
For a New York kid like myself, what could be better than this musical cartoon that contained songs worthy of Broadway, written by famed Broadway songwriters composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill.
The cartoon had many recognizable voices. Of course, there was Jim Backus as the voice for Mr. Magoo but other notables were Broadway star Jack Cassidy who voiced Bob Cratchit ( later best known as the father of Partridge Family’s David Cassidy), and actor comedienne Morey Amsterdam voiced Brady ( Scrooges friend that doesn’t grieve his loss) Sorrell, of course, is Buddy on Dick Van Dyke.
The very first animated holiday special produced especially for Television the hour-long special first aired on NBC in December 1962 beating out Charlie Browns Christmas by three years. It ushered in what would be the golden age of animated Christmas TV Specials and would soon be followed by Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in 1964 and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1966.
Broadcast annually for 5 years before it went into syndication, it was the very essence of the Christmas spirit past, present, and future.
May your own Christmas be filled with love, laughter, and the warm company of family, friends and chosen family.
God Bless Everyone and a Merry Christmas to all.