Having been perhaps the biggest, if not sole, cheerleader for this classic special for the last 5 years, I have to say I can’t help but feel betrayed by what NBC did to it for its 50th anniversary airing. Based on the interviews I gave to promote the broadcast, a new viewer would certainly look askance at what was presented and wonder if I had all my marbles. It was perhaps the clumsiest and most heavy-handed editing job I’ve ever seen, providing no introduction to the story and no satisfying conclusion. Songs were hacked midway through, story points edited out and considering that the current generation is unfamiliar with the character of Mr. Magoo, the lack of any introduction to the character is hard to fathom. How is a new generation supposed to embrace this classic special?
The seemingly endless barrage of commercials clumsily placed into the special made the narrative almost incomprehensible. Because the story was so severely hacked up, cutting back from long breaks made it hard to remember where we had left off and how the new scenes related to the previous scenes. If this had been just one more seasonal presentation of the special, it could perhaps be dismissed but considering that it was the 50th anniversary of the special and the first time it had aired on broadcast television in 45 years, it’s inexcusable.