Christmas Story

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A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.

The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain when it was experiencing a nostalgic interest in its forgotten Christmas traditions, and at the time when new customs such as the Christmas tree and greeting cards were being introduced. Dickens’s sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.

The tale has been viewed as an indictment of nineteenth century industrial capitalism and was adapted several times to the stage, and has been credited with restoring the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and sombreness. A Christmas Carol remains popular, has never been out of print, and has been adapted to film, opera, and other media.

Whilst the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ was popularized following the appearance of the story, and the name ‘Scrooge’ and exclamation ‘Bah! Humbug!’ have entered the English language, Ruth Glancy argues the book’s singular achievement is the powerful influence it has exerted upon its readers. In the spring of 1844, The Gentleman’s Magazine attributed a sudden burst of charitable giving in Britain to Dickens’s novella; in 1874, Robert Louis Stevenson waxed enthusiastic after reading Dickens’s Christmas books and vowed to give generously; and Thomas Carlyle expressed a generous hospitality by staging two Christmas dinners after reading the book. In America, a Mr. Fairbanks attended a reading on Christmas Eve in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867, and was so moved he closed his factory on Christmas Day and sent every employee a turkey. In the early years of the 20th century, the Queen of Norway sent gifts to London’s crippled children signed “With Tiny Tim’s Love”; Sir Squire Bancroft raised £20,000 for the poor by reading the tale aloud publicly; and Captain Corbett-Smith read the tale to the troops in the trenches of World War I.

According to historian Ronald Hutton, the current state of observance of Christmas is largely the result of a mid-Victorian revival of the holiday spearheaded by A Christmas Carol. Hutton argues that Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In superimposing his secular vision of the holiday, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit.

Vincent Leonard Price II (May 27, 1911 — October 25, 1993) was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films made in the latter part of his career.

Duration : 0:25:5


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One Response to “The Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens’ Short Story as told by Vincent Price (1949)”

  1. fromthesidelines

    This was one of the …
    This was one of the first filmed TV versions of Dickens’ classic novella, produced by MIke Stokey {“Pantomime Quiz”} and Bernard Ebert, and filmed for them by Jerry Fairbanks, pioneering TV film producer [the set Vincent Price narrates the story from is similar to the one featured in Fairbanks' unsold/unaired 1949 pilot, "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DENNIS DAY"]. This was initially seen in syndication, airing on Christmas Day 1949 in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

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