It's the end of December and professional miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Sir Michael Hordern) absolutely despises this time of the year. He thinks Christmas is all a humbug. He doesn't buy his nephew's talk of Christmas being a kind time, thinks it's absolute madness his servant Bob Cratchit (Clive Merrison) wants a day off and sends away collectors of donations for the poor penniless. It's also the time of the year in which his companion Jacob Marley (John Le Mesurier) died seven years ago. When he is all alone, he suddenly sees Marley again, in the door handle, in a tile, a bell suddenly rings. Humbug, thinks Scrooge. But then Marley really appears for him and tells him he should change his life. He warns Scrooge he will be haunted by three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past (Patricia Quinn), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Bernard Lee), and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Michael Mulcaster).
Arnoud Tiele (email@example.com)
Did You Know?
Scrooge was likely based on a real person named John Meggot, (born John Elwes), who was a local celebrity, a member of Parliment, and a famous miser from Dickens' part of England, and who was dead by the time Dickens was born, but whom Dickens heard much local lore and urban legends from the English townspeople where Scrooge grew up; family, friends, etc. A recent article uncovers facts about the famous miser from Parliment's life: "John was educated the the Westminster School, an exclusive boarding school in Westminster Abbey in London. He spent more than a decade there, then lived in Switzerland for a few years before returning to England. When he was in his twenties and thirties, Meggot gave little hint of the man he would become. He dressed well, spent money freely, and moved among London's most fashionable circles. He developed a taste for French wines and fine dining. He was a skilled horseman and fox hunter, and he had a passion for gambling -he bet, and often lost, thousands of pounds in card game". The eccentric politician became the subject of local lore because he was so stingy and selfish; and his eccentric life style: "where his own comfort and material well-being were concerned, Elwes would not part with a penny. Where once he dressed in rags only to impress his uncle, he now wore them all the time, and never cleaned his shoes -that might wear them out faster. Friends said he looked "like a prisoner confined for debt."
Like his uncle, Elwes allowed his estates to fall into ruin. He refused to buy a carriage and wondered how anyone could think he could afford one. Riding a horse was cheaper, especially the way he did it: before setting off on a journey, he'd fill his pockets with hardboiled eggs so he wouldn't have to pay for meals in taverns. He rode in the soft dirt by the side of the road rather than on the road itself, so that he wouldn't have to buy horseshoes for his horses. He traveled hours out of the way to avoid toll roads. If he needed to stop for the night, he'd find a spot by the side of the road that had lots of grass (so that his horse could eat for free) and sleep beneath a tree to save the price of a room at an inn. Elwes' mania for frugality extended to his own family. He had two sons out of wedlock (because marriage cost money) and refused to pay for their education. "Putting things into people's heads," he explained, "was the sure way to take money out of their pockets."' Dickens heard all of this and was inspired to put together a fable about how the modern virtues of capitalism come head to head with the old fashioned values of Christmas; and how this character would have to make a choice between the two. See more
Version of A Christmas Carol