'Christmas Carol' is a gift that keeps on giving

By T.L. Stanley, Los Angeles Times Ebenezer Scrooge was a heartless miser in desperate need of reinvention. It should come as no surprise, then, that he eventually found his way to Hollywood for numerous makeovers spanning more than a half century. Charles Dickens reportedly dashed off the story, "A Christmas Carol," as a way to quickly pay some debts, dreaming up the tight-fisted businessman in 1843. But the writer had more than money on his mind. He was ruminating on heavy issues like consumerism, morality and redemption. He called it "a ghostly little book" to raise "the ghost of an idea." He did much more than that. The central concept -- three specters guide Scrooge through his past, present and future -- has proven irresistible to the creative community. There have been countless remakes of the classic novella across film, TV, theater, opera and radio, with cartoon characters Scrooge McDuck and "The Jetsons'" Cosmo Spacely and British actors Michael Caine and Alastair Sim taking on the title role.
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