PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA, THE: INSIDE MEDIA: REVISITING MISTER MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL {LONG VERSION}

Summary

One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Paley Center for Media's Inside Media events. Held at the Paley Center in New York, this evening honors “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” the “freely adapted” 1962 animated musical version of Charles Dickens's “A Christmas Carol” in which the wealthy, short-statured and myopic Magoo handles the part of Ebenezer Scrooge. Host Rebecca Paller (associate curator, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks about the show’s history and then introduces the program, which is screened in its entirety. (For synopsis and credits, see ACCNUM T:88485.)

After the screening, Paller introduces moderator Jack Doulin (casting director, New York Theatre Workshop), who shares his own memories of watching the program when it first aired. He then brings the panelists to the stage: Darrell Van Citters (animator and author of “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special”); Judy Levitow (Los Angeles area broadcaster and daughter of the late Abe Levitow, director of “Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol”); and Marie Matthews (voice of Young Scrooge and the Cratchits' daughter). Musical director Aaron Gandy offers comments from the audience near the end of the program.

The discussion touches on such topics as: the original idea for the program, as conceived by producer Lee Orgel; songwriters Jule Styne and Bob Merrill not being the first choice to write the score but ultimately proving “the best choice”; the surprisingly short production time of nine months; how Matthews beat out several boys for the part of young Scrooge, including her own son; recollections about actor Jim Backus, who provided the voice of Scrooge, as a polite and generous man; original plans for Robert Goulet to sing Scrooge’s songs; the speedy process of recording the songs and dialogue in two days; Levitow’s memories of her father and his love for his work; moments in the film that remind her of him; the strength of Styne and Merrill’s songs as “emotional signposts” throughout the production; how Styne experienced more power writing music for the Broadway stage, as opposed writing songs for films; and the importance of “humanizing” Scrooge and the other characters via the songs. Matthews then performs "When You're Alone, Alone in the World," which she sang in the original production.

A series of clips are shown during the panel which include: original footage of the recording of the “Ringle, Ringle” song, as performed by Styne and Merrill; labeled photographs of the cast's recording sessions; and original hand-drawn storyboards for the “Ghost of Christmas Present” scene.

Details

  • NETWORK:
  • DATE: December 1, 2009 6:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:24:15
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 100426
  • GENRE: Seminars
  • SUBJECT HEADING:
  • SERIES RUN:
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Rebecca Paller … Host
    • Jack Doulin … Moderator
    • Darrell Van Citters … Panelist
    • Judy Levitow … Panelist
    • Marie Matthews … Panelist
    • Aaron Gandy … Guest
    • Jim Backus
    • Robert Goulet
    • Bob Merrill
    • Abe Levitow
    • Lee Orgel
    • Jule Styne