12 Things You Might Not Know About THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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12 Things You Might Not Know About THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL

Wherever you find Geek Dave it feels like Christmas...

1. Following Jim Henson's death in May 1990, talent agent Bill Haber approached Henson's son Brian with the idea of filming an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Haber told Henson that,
"Christmas Carol is the greatest story of all time, you should do that."
Also, Haber had already sold the idea to ABC as a television film!

2. Longtime Muppets writer Jerry Juhl was hired to write the script and decided to insert Charles Dickens as the stand-in narrator in order to remain faithful to the original prose of the written material. Henson stated that Gonzo was chosen because he was the least likely choice to play Charles Dickens, while Rizzo the Rat was added to inject some humor and serve as a Greek chorus.

Established Muppet characters were initially written to portray the ghosts, with various accounts stating Robin the Frog or Scooter was to be the Ghost of Christmas Past, Miss Piggy to be the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Gonzo (before he was written to portray Dickens) or Animal as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. However, the idea was scrapped in favor of new Muppet characters that would better underline the ominous nature. After the script was submitted for approval to ABC, the executives of Walt Disney Pictures offered to purchase the script for a feature film instead of a television release.

3. English actors David Hemmings, Ron Moody, and David Warner and comedian George Carlin were considered to portray Ebenezer Scrooge. Henson later offered the role to Michael Caine, who replied:
"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."

4. Michael Caine later said he took inspiration for the role of Ebenezer Scrooge from...
"Wall Street cheats and embezzlers, I thought they represented a very good picture of meanness and greed."
5. After 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.

6. During filming, in order to allow for the Muppets and the human actors to be in the shot, floors had to be removed and re-inserted, with Michael Caine having to walk across narrow planks between the Muppets and their performers.

7. The buildings in the London street scenes were constructed by hand but diminished in size in order to achieve the appearance that the streets were relatively longer. When the musical sequence "It Feels Like Christmas" ends with the crane shot, the short buildings became visibly seen in the background, in which Brian Henson explained on the DVD audio commentary that they were aware of the problem during shooting, but eventually decided that the closing shot was worth it as they believed not many people would notice the error.

8. The Muppet Christmas Carol features songs written by Paul Williams. Williams previously worked with the Muppets on the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie in which he and Kenneth Ascher were nominated for an Academy Award for writing "Rainbow Connection".

9. "When Love Is Gone" was a song performed by the character Belle (portrayed by Meredith Braun) as she laments that Scrooge's love of money has replaced his love of her. The song itself was deleted from the original 1992 theatrical edition by Jeffrey Katzenberg of Walt Disney Studios, who believed that the following scene would not appeal to young children....

...Instead, the song appeared in (and was played during) the end credits scene.

Director Brian Henson objected to this decision as the concluding song, "The Love We Found", was a direct counterpoint to it. Henson commented:
"'When Love Is Gone' was not in the theatrical release, and is presently missing from some copies of the movie, which is a real shame."
"When Love Is Gone" was eventually restored andy included on some home media releases of The Muppet Christmas Carol, all of which are now out of print. In a 2018 interview with The Big Issue, Henson claimed that the song is unlikely to appear in any further releases of the movie, due to Disney loosing the video master and negative.

10. The Ghost of Christmas Past effects were created by making a special puppet that was operated in a tank of water and then greenscreened into the movie to make it look like it was floating.

11. The Muppet Christmas Carol is the first Muppet movie to exclude characters from Sesame Street, but several characters from Fraggle Rock make appearances, 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.

12. In the final musical scene, a store in the background is called "Micklewhite". Sir Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite.

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