When I was a kid, and during my marriage before my wife passed, it was a RITUAL ABSOLUTE that we watched The Muppet Christmas Carol. Every family celebrates the holidays differently, and this is probably the only one the crossed over from my childhood to my adulthood….but I’m really glad it did. The Muppet Christmas Carol was made in 1992, three years after the tragic and untimely death of Muppet founder Jim Henson. Despite a dozen attempts to do other things with the core group of characters over the years under their stewardship at Disney, The Muppet Christmas Carol-to me-is the last thing that carried the Henson magic with it.
Not only is it a great Muppet film, it’s a fairly faithful (with pigs and frogs and whatever Gonzo is) adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Christmas masterpiece. It pushed the boundary, as all of Henson’s films did, of what was possible with puppets, and while it’s all-ages appropriate, both the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future scared the willies out of me when I was a kid. I still find the floating doll face of Christmas Past creepy. But it has wonderful songs (my favorite obviously being Statler and Waldorf’s Marley Brothers duet), funny moments, and unlike a lot of the humans who find their way into Muppetland, Michael Caine put in an extremely good performance as Scrooge. It’s clever, joyous, a little weird, and endlessly inventive. That was the Henson magic. The magic that took a piece of felt and turned it into a universe of characters that would and will entertain and educate adults and children alike for decades. So if you’re wondering what to do on Christmas Eve as a family…you could do a lot worse for traditions than adopt my family’s.