Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

A blog dedicated to the making of the first animated Christmas special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A visit by the Ghost of Christmas Past

Followers of this blog will recall the much anticipated re-broadcast of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol for the special's 50th anniversary in December of 2012 and the unanimous disappointment with NBC's editorial skills, hacking 8 random minutes from the film, rendering it completely incomprehensible.  It looked like the first animated Christmas special was doomed to the ash heap of television history, a verdict that seemed sure when the show failed to be broadcast last year.

However, I'm told by multiple sources that Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol will be airing this year, this time on The CW on December 19th, with times variously listed as 7 or  8 PM (check your local listings for station and time).  I've also been told that it will run in a 90 minute slot, which should mean it will be complete.  Not even the most rapacious advertiser should be able to fill up 38 minutes of airtime in 90 minutes.  I can't vouch for the accuracy of the slot/run time so caveat emptor.  If true, we can hope that a new generation of TV viewers will rediscover Lee Orgel's special, Styne and Merrill's timeless songs and the sincerity and faithfulness of Barbara Chain's adaptation of Dicken's original novel.


The special will also air on The CW on Christmas Eve so you if you miss this Friday, be sure to catch it on the night before Christmas. 


Anthony D. said...

Great news about this indeed! The fact it's running for 90 minutes makes it pretty clear it will air uncut! For this, I'm definitely tuning in! Thank you DreamWorks/CW!

Anonymous said...

This appears to be part of a deal between The CW and DreamWorks Animation which now owns the rights to "Magoo." Our favorite Christmas special will run on December 19 from 8 PM to 9:30 PM (Eastern) and be followed by the "Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special" (another DreamWorks property) from 9:30 to 10 PM (Eastern). They will also reportedly be repeated on December 24 at the same time.

Hopefully this is a multi-year deal and we can look forward to The CW as the home of "Magoo" for years to come!

John Webb said...

It this the NBC Turn-the-Tint-Knob-on-your-Old-School-TV-all-the-way-to-one-side "restored" version, or a watchable version!

Just watched it on DVD this weekend, great to see it. Keeps the tragedy and fear of Dickens while doing some established-cartoon-character in-jokes (and original humor).

Ownaville said... says it ain't airing the next 14 days. Either they missed it or the CW has changed their minds(hope not).

top_cat_james said...

Flipped ahead two days on my Xfinity TV menu and, yes, it is scheduled - Friday, December 19, 7:00-8:30 (CST). Just now set up my DVR to record, even though I own the Blu-ray.

Anthony D. said...

Finished up the CW broadcast of Mister Magoo's Chritsmas Carol. One word; PERFECT!!!! Everything was there, noting was cut!!! Everything was there! The only things that were missing (let me finish, nothing bad!) was the Ghost of Christmas Past's one line "Come." after she says "My time grows short." (like in the NBC broadcast) and a shot of Brady or James inhaling some snuff. The audio is intact, but the shot is replaced by the same shot of Brady, James and the other gentlemen laughing as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future enter the scene. That's it!! Now THIS is how you rebroadcast Magoo's Christmas Carol! Thank you DreamWorks and CW for finally doing it right! :)

Anonymous said...

Watching right now -- it *looks* terrific and yes, it's complete and uncut. "Winter Was Warm" indeed.

Anthony D. said...

There apparently was another line omission (again, nothing to fret over):

Darrell said...

RE: IMDB commment, "Belle in the cottage scene?" Wonder what he's been watching.

Bruce said...

It ran again tonight, Christmas Eve and it was excellent! The entire show uncut.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Darrell... My name is Gary Sandler. I just found your 2011 post about Lee Orgel. Lee & Lea were my favorite cousins, with whom I spent many nights & weekends with between the early '50s and mid 60's. The content of the piece brought back many memories of the family side of their lives, which was a privilege to share with them. Thank you for the great memories. Where can I find additional info? Best to you!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Darrell!

First - I wanted to say that I pull out your book every Christmas season and read it from cover to cover. It is so well done, thank you for all the care you put into it. Reading your book every year is as much fun as watching the cartoon itself!

My wife and I watched the CW version last night, it was WONDERFUL (of course except for the minor edits). Question - the colors were so vibrant, the best I have ever seen. We have the 2007 Classic Media Inc. version. I compared it to the CW version from last night, and the 2007 DVD is "faded" by comparison. How is the "print" in the 2010 MR MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL COLLECTORS EDITION BD/DVD COMBO compared to this new CW version? (I haven't purchased that one yet, but will do so today - can't wait to see the special features!). If the new CW version is now the best, do you know if there are plans to release it on DVD?

Mike in Ohio

Darrell said...


I don't believe there is any other info out there about Lee but occasionally I update the blog with new material related to Lee's career, after the first of the year there will be more posts about some of the other parts of his career.


Darrell said...


Thanks for the nice comments about the book and I'm glad you enjoy it enough to read it every year. The book directly led to Classic Media going back to the original negative to do a new transfer for Blu-ray and DVD. The difference between the earlier video releases and the new transfer are astounding. The colors are far richer and come very close to matching the original background art. That's the transfer you saw in the broadcast.

In conjunction with the new release, CM asked me to do some bonus features so there is audio commentary with some of the original cast and artists, artwork, a story reel with original storyboards synced to the final track, one of the song demos performed by both Styne and Merrill and the "lost" overture, which was never released. It's worth picking up if you're a fan of the special if for nothing else than having a beautiful copy of the show.

Joe Kubasha said...

This has always been my favorite Christmas special and recorded it from CW and just watched it. It was excellent and still my favorite. Watching it on a large screen tv with the new vibrant colors was just excellent. I enjoyed watching this uncut version with the excellent color very much. The sound was also excellent. Instead of seeming like it was made over 50 yrs ago it looked like it was just made this year!