Scared The Dickens Out Of Me!!

Way back in 1843, Charles Dickens’ first edition of A Christmas Carol was published. Since then, numerous theatrical and film adaptations of the book have appeared over the centuries. My personal favorite is the movie “Scrooge,” from 1951 which starred Alistair Sim.

We watched it on TV when we were very young. According to Wikipedia, it was released in the US as “A Christmas Carol” and first aired on TV over WOR TV in New York City in 1954. We lived on Long Island and channel 9 (WOR) came in quite well, so we were treated to all sorts of entertainment ranging from live shows of the day to silent movies of the 1920s.

I’m not sure when I first watched the 1951 version of “Scrooge,” but I know I was very young.  I was born in 1954, but I’m guessing I missed the TV debut of the movie that year. However I’m certain I was much younger than 12, which is when our family moved from Noo Yawk to da great Nort Woods of Wisconsin don’tcha know.   The point of all this rambling is not to fill all of you in on our journey from the ‘burbs to the boonies, but rather a remembrance of the scariest rendition of Marley’s ghost in the universe. At least, that’s my professional opinion. Even in the original glorious black and white, this scene gave me goose bumps. Still does!

Back then, I got the message alright… Scrooge was a completely selfish jerk and got a chance to reform.   But the really important part of it all didn’t really hit me until much later in life. These days I cry like a baby when he wakes up on Christmas morning and experiences intense joy for what appears to be the first time in his life.   It hits pretty close to home; I spent way too much time in life devoted to selfish things… nearly lost my family as a result. I was also plagued by what I call “Mr. Know It All disease.” I was pretty confident that I was very smart, and would be very happy to tell you all about it whether you wanted me to or not.

Fortunately I received a “gift of desperation,” through which I acquired a willingness to take a look in the mirror. It was not at all easy but definitely necessary. These days I cling to Scrooge’s confession that “I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I know I don’t know anything!!” I try to remember that the more I learn, the less I know; and I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut when others speak their minds. The changes I’ve been fortunate to have made have paid off handsomely; but the payoff has been spiritual rather than material. We have a very good life and are happy most of the time. So this time of year is a time of reflection, friendship, family, and gratitude.

So yes, when I watch my DVD of “Scrooge” from 1951, along with almost any other holiday classic, I often find myself crying like a baby at the “gooshy” parts.   And I’m still clinging to the belief that, in my professional opinion, this version of the Dickens classic holds the scariest performance of Marley’s ghost in the universe.

Click the link below to see for yourself!