Saturday, December 22, 2012

Live-blogging Magoo

My wife Elaine has put me up to it: I will be live-blogging Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Starting soon.

7:01: The frame story — Magoo returning to Broadway to play Scrooge — has been removed. More time for commercials! Curse you, NBC.

7:02: “Ringle, Ringle”: Scrooge sings a celebration of wealth. Bob Cratchit: he’s the 99%. Poor Bob’s a-cold.

7:05: Purple pavement? The colors have been brightened, sweetened, enhanced. (I think that the DVD will bear me out.)

7:07: Scrooge’s rooms resemble Matisse’s The Red Studio, only redder.

7:15: The Ghost of Christmas Present is a vision in pink.

7:16: I never knew that it was Gerald McBoing-Boing playing Tiny Tim. I never knew that it was Jack Cassidy speaking and singing Bob Cratchit’s words.

7:19: Nor did I ever understand just what was wrong with Tiny Tim.

7:19: All shots of the theater in which the performance is taking place seem to have been chopped for this airing. I still remember the strange hair whorl on the back of one theatergoer’s head. Anyone who remembers this show will miss these details. (Is the idea to make people want to buy the DVD?)

7:25: Elaine is playing the DVD on her Mac as I watch the television. She points out that small bits of dialogue and song have been cut here and there. Shameful.

7:26: “Alone in the World”: such a sad and beautiful song. Yet it’s missing the image of young Ebenezer tracing his hand on the schoolroom blackboard.

7:32: Yes, the colors have been altered, horribly so. But at least Fezziwig’s warehouse still has non-red walls.

7:36: The delicate landscapes that accompany “Winter Was Warm” have been altered beyond recognition here. A snowy field is now red. There must have been a sale on red.

7:37: Even the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a bright red.

7:38: Nothing though can alter the solid goodness of the songs, even in truncated form. Such an inspired choice to have Jule Styne and Bob Merrill writing music for a cartoon. I’m reminded of Johnny Costa’s contributions to Mister Rogers’ Neighborood: children too deserve real music.

7:43: The frequent commercial interruptions and the cutting of the theater scenes take away the three-act feel of the original.

7:45: The thieves’ song has been shortened.

7:46: “No, not Tiny Tim!”

7:47: The visit to the graveyard spooked me as a kid. I closed my eyes and peeked now and then. It’s less spooky in Technicolor.

7:49: The last ten seconds or so of the “Alone in the World” reprise have been cut. And it’s straight to commercials.

7:50: Elaine reports that the DVD now shows eleven minutes to go. So what more will be cut? Oh, of course: the return to the frame story of Magoo back on Broadway. Will the cast even get to take its final bow?

7:53: “Today? Why, Christmas Day!”

7:56: The winking doorknocker has been cut.

7:57: “The Founder of the Feast indeed.”

7:58: “And therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

7:59: The reprise of “The Lord’s Bright Blessing” has been cut. And of course the cast’s bows.

No razzleberry dressing for you, NBC. No razzleberry dressing ever.

[Thanks, Elaine, for your help.]

comments: 3

Elaine Fine said...

Fifteen minutes to wait. . .

Daughter Number Three said...

I didn't realize you were doing this until I saw your comment on the book's blog post. Yes, it was a big disappointment, and we paused it to watch the opening from the DVD and compare the colors.

I sort of liked the pumped up colors, generally (though I didn't notice the red snow field). I wonder if there's any info on whether NBC purposely intensified them, or if it has something to do with rescanning the original film?

Michael Leddy said...

I did this post entirely on impulse. I haven‘t seen anyone else comment on the color, but I’m glad to know that I‘m not alone in noticing the difference. The Charlie Brown special appears to have been pumped up too.

If you saved last night’s show: the field that was formerly white in “Winter Was Warm” is now red. Yipes.