What’s up, dudes? Ed Daly, author of The Christmas Book: The Ultimate Guide to Your Favorite Holiday, and I talk all things Charles Dickens! Yep, we dive into ‘80s versions of A Christmas Carol! There were some real heavyweights! George C. Scott, Michael J. Fox, others without a middle initial in their stage name…
Early ’80s TV
- “Bah, Humbug” is the second Christmas episode of the CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, produced and aired as the seventh episode of the show’s third season. Once again, Mr. Carlson plans to give the staffers almost no Christmas bonuses. After eating one of Johnny Fever’s brownies, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future visit him in a dream to show him the error of his ways.
- “Mel’s Christmas Carol” is the third Christmas episode of the CBS sitcom Alice, aired in the show’s sixth season. Everyone at Mel’s Diner is the Christmas spirit except Mel, who has turned into a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge. He begins using “humbug” as a Christmas greeting, refuses to give the girls Christmas bonuses, and tries to force them to work on Christmas Eve. When they quit in a huff, the ghost of Mel’s old partner scares the dickens out of him.
- “A Dickens of a Christmas” is the Christmas episode of the CBS animated series The Dukes (spun-off from The Dukes of Hazard), originally aired as the fourth episode of the show’s second and final season. Since there is no racing at Christmas, Bo, Luke, and Daisy, take a break to celebrate it. Boss Hogg tries to violate the rules but is visited by three ghosts hoping to change his ways.
- “A Keaton Christmas Carol” is the second Christmas episode of the NBC sitcom Family Ties, aired in the show’s second season. Severely lacking in seasonal spirit , Alex is visited by sister-ghosts (Mallory and Jennifer) and shown a cheery Christmas past and gloomy potential Christmas future. Can they fix his Christmas outlook? Spoilers: Yup.
- “The Nutcracker Scoob” (billed as “Nutcracker Scooby” when shown in Cartoon Network’s Christmas marathons) is a half-hour Christmas episode of the Hanna-Barbera animated series The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, produced and aired as the thirteenth and final episode of the show’s second and final season, and the first Christmas special starring the Scooby-Doo characters. The Mystery, Inc. gang are helping Tiny Tina and the other young residents of a children’s home put on a Christmas pageant when a spooky apparition, the Ghost of Christmas Never, interrupts them. Is it the work of the dastardly businessman Winslow Nickleby, who would do anything to buy the home? Or is someone else after the emerald hidden on the premises?
- “Another Song for Christmas” is the Christmas episode of the NBC drama Highway to Heaven, originally aired as the thirteenth episode of the show’s first season. In this variation on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Jonathan and Mark must get “Honest Eddie” Barton, a crooked-as-they-come used-car dealer, into the Christmas spirit.
- “A Jetson Christmas Carol” is the Christmas episode of the Hanna-Barbera animated sitcom The Jetsons. It is Christmas Eve in Orbit City, and Mr. Spacely makes George work overtime. When Astro chokes on a sprocket, the Ghosts of Christmas visit Spacely to make him amend his ways.
- “Xmas Marks the Spot” is the Christmas episode of the Sony Pictures/DIC Entertainment animated television series The Real Ghostbusters, and also the last episode of the show’s first season. The Ghostbusters accidentally windup in the past and prevent the Ghosts of Christmas from haunting Scrooge. With the future altered and Christmas gone, the Ghostbusters must free the Ghosts and restore Christmas by haunting Scrooge themselves.
Late ’80s TV
- “Tex’s Terrible Night” is the forty-sixth episode of the animated space western Bravestarr, aired in the first season. Stampede plans to attack the town on Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Shaman warns Tex Hex that Tex’s old flame Ursula is coming to town on that very same day.
- “Merry Christmas, Mr. Carroll” is the Christmas episode of the NBC animated series Alvin and the Chipmunks. Produced by DiC Entertainment, it aired as the thirteenth episode of the show’s seventh season. Alvin is soon visited by three Ghosts to show him the true meaning of Christmas and how to help others.
- “A Happy Guys’ Christmas” is the second Christmas episode of the ABC sitcom Mr. Belvedere. It aired as the eleventh episode of the sixth season. The Happy Guys of Pittsburgh are putting on their annual Christmas play, and have decided on A Christmas Carol. Mr. Belvedere gets fed up with the poor directing and takes over the job, only to quit in a huff. As a result, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future convince him to change.
- “For Whom the Jingle Bells Tolls” is the second Christmas episode of third season of the NBC sitcom A Different World. Whitley’s mother wants to spend Christmas in France, which adds to Whitley’s “bah humbug” mood. Consequently, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future visit Whitley and tell to change her ways, or else.
- Scrooge’s Rock and Roll Christmas uses a snow globe as a magical portal to bring rock acts of the 1980s for Scrooge to appreciate the season through updated renditions of classic Christmas carols.
- In Black Adder’s Christmas Carol, Victorian merchant Ebenezer Blackadder is a kind and generous man. He enjoys Christmas-time and is generous with friends and freely gives whatever he can to the poor. Then the Spirit of Christmas visits him Christmas Eve and shows him some of his less likable ancestors and descendants. He then decides that being bad is the best way forward.
- In Mickey’s Christmas Carol, the classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece.
- George C. Scott stars as Scrooge in a straight adaptation of A Christmas Carol from 1984.
- In Scrooged, three Spirits on Christmas Eve haunt a selfish, cynical television executive in order to teach him of selflessness.
Mickey Mouse? Check. Alice, Bankrupt Scrooge, and AC? Yep. Three Dog Night? Oh yeah! So put on your nightshirt, start up your smoke machine, and travel to the past to check out these ’80s versions of A Christmas Carol! Oh, and go check out Ed’s book! It’s rad!!