Before production began, Sir Michael Caine told producer and director Brian Henson, "I'm going to play this movie like I'm working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I will never wink, I will never do anything Muppety. I am going to play Scrooge as if it is an utterly dramatic role, and there are no puppets around me." Henson replied "Yes, bang on!"
The song "When Love Is Gone", sung by Belle, was dropped from the theatrical release (over the objections of producer and director Brian Henson) at the request of Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who considered it too sad for young children. The last-minute decision resulted in a jarring edit in the scene from which it was removed, and caused some confusion about Scrooge, Gonzo, and Rizzo's reactions. The scene was restored in the VHS, LaserDisc, and first DVD (full screen) releases, but it isn't used in television airings, Blu-ray releases, or the Netflix version.
This was the first major Muppet project after creator Jim Henson's death. The role of Kermit the Frog was handed down to Steve Whitmire. He said he was incredibly nervous about taking over such an iconic character. The night before he recorded Kermit's songs for the movie, he had a dream where he met Henson in a hotel lobby and told him how unsure he was. In the dream, Henson reassured Whitmire that the feeling would pass. After waking up, Whitmire was confident and able to do the part.
FRANCHISE TRADEMARK: At the conclusion of the song "One More Sleep", Bob (Kermit the Frog) is seen standing alone in the street and a shooting star can been seen streaking across the sky. In many (not all) of the Muppet movies, a shooting star goes across the sky at some point when Kermit is on.
In the commentary, the creators relate a funny story from the screenings. A few children asked what the bookkeepers did wrong to get coal at the end. It had completely slipped their minds that Santa gives bad children coal in their stockings.
Dedicated to the memory of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt. Henson created the Muppets, and Hunt was best known as the voice of Scooter. Together, Hunt and Henson performed the characters of Statler and Waldorf.
Look very closely in one of the crowd sequences. One of the background Muppets is a lobster hanging out of a basement window. This is a reference to the line, "like bad lobster in a dark cellar", one of Charles Dickens' weirder turns of phrase.
Jacob and Robert Marley tell Scrooge to leave comedy to the bears. Statler and Waldorf, who play the Marley brothers, are known for constantly heckling Fozzie Bear for his poor comedy throughout the Muppets productions.
There are two more songs that are on the soundtrack, but aren't in the movie at all. One is "Room in Your Heart", sung by Dr. Honeydew and his assistant Beaker as the charity workers. The other is "Chairman of the Board", sung by Sam the Eagle as Scrooge's headmaster. Both were recorded, but dropped from the script before filming started, to help the flow of the story.
There's another verse on "Marley and Marley", but only on the soundtrack: We're Marley and Marley, And now it's time to part (doot doot) To go back where they keep our kind, The wretched and the heartless The news we've shared has got you scared We're glad that we got through So make amends (and make some friends!) The future's up to you.
This movie was never aired on any pay-television network, up until 2016, when this movie was a part of HBO and Cinemax's catalogue of archival titles from Walt Disney Studios. HBO and Cinemax were the only pay-television networks to air this movie. Though not considered a pay-television netwe,ork but a DVD rental and streaming service, Netflix also offered this movie through streaming in 2015.
This is the only movie adaptation where Charles Dickens appears during the story. It is also the only adaptation where Fezziwig, or "Fozziwig" in this movie, is seen alive at the end, as an elderly Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle are seen near the end, and unlike the other movies and the book, Scrooge has several bookkeepers, rather than just Bob Cratchit as his only member of staff.
Several characters from Fraggle Rock (1983) make appearances in this movie, most of them in crowd scenes. Sprocket the dog is the most notable, but viewers can also spot Mudwell the Mudbunny, Wander McMooch, and several of the Minstrels.
One of the few movies where the opening credits list the starring roles and say what characters they are playing (though it's mostly Muppets). Occasionally, they will do this with one of the actors or actresses.
This is one of the very few adaptations that shows how sick Tiny Tim was as he coughs several times during the Cratchit Christmas dinner, implying he has whooping cough or pneumonia, which was quite common in Victorian times where this movie is set.
Some people consider this movie to be one of the darkest and upsetting movie adaptations of "A Christmas Carol". Examples include the song "When Love is Gone", which was cut from most VHS and DVD versions, as it was deemed to upsetting for younger audiences, seeing how sick Tiny Tim really was, and the song "Bless Us One and All" is also considered depressing, while some fans also found the song "Marley and Marley" and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come disturbing. Rizzo the rat even goes as far to ask Gonzo if the movie is alright for children.
A running gag in this movie is mishaps happening to Gonzo and Rizzo, especially Rizzo, such as falling from Scrooge's window twice, Rizzo being chased by a cat, Rizzo getting his tail set on fire accidentally by Gonzo, Rizzo landing on a cooked goose, and Gonzo being rendered temporarily unconscious, after he and Rizzo fall off a coach, when Jacob Marley screams at Scrooge.
In this movie version, Bob (and the rats) are forced to persuade Scrooge to allow them the day off as it is Christmas after Scrooge originally tells them he will let them off for half an hour. It is also implied that Scrooge is also persuaded to take the day off, while in the other movies and the book, Scrooge presumably worked on Christmas Day until he repented.