Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special

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9780692001554: Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special

In the winter of 1962, a time of three gargantuan broadcast networks and a power-wielding block of national advertisers, a relatively tiny ornament called Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol would herald a family holiday TV tradition that has all but slipped into obscurity in the wake of the numerous Christmas specials that it inspired.

Now animation director Darrell Van Citters, in a meticulously researched and delightfully engaging story--told with dozens of production art images and rarely seen photographs--has captured that golden era of TV animation in this richly illustrated book. It's a detailed retelling--in the voices of many of the artists who created it--of the painstaking and often frustrating efforts to translate Charles Dickens' timeless holiday tale into a Broadway-style musical for the small screen--the first ever of its kind.

It took an amazing, quirky confluence of unlikely events to bring Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol to life, the first (and one of the most beloved) of all animated television Christmas specials. Marketing whiz Henry Saperstein's purchase and revival of the once innovative but foundering UPA studios; visionary UPA producer Lee Orgel's lightning flash of an idea to cast the comical character Mr. Magoo in a serious role as Scrooge; Orgel's enlistment of veteran director Abe Levitow (simultaneously directing the much higher profile feature Gay Purr-ee); and the hiring of Broadway composers Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, whose struggles to get Funny Girl into production left them time to write songs for an unlikely (and very nearsighted) Scrooge.

This affectionate, often suspenseful narrative in words and images is a must-have for fans of the special as well as animation and Broadway aficionados. Relive an era of pioneering TV programming, the birth of long-form animated storytelling on television, and rediscover this gem of a Christmas classic that set the stage for all that followed it--welcome to the story of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol!

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From the Publisher:

More information about the book is available at mrmagooschristmascarol.com.

From the Back Cover:

For me, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, one of the most beloved animated Christmas specials of all time. I can't think of anyone better to tell its story than Darrell Van Citters. This carefully researched book is made even more special by Darrell's own deep understanding of the trials, tribulations, and rewards of the animation process. It's a joy to have this book to keep alongside my copy of one of my favorite holiday films. --John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios
It seems like a no-brainer: cast the most famous crotchety old man in animated cartoons as the most famous crotchety old man in literature and voilà--you have a holiday classic. But in 1962, there were no animated Christmas specials on television . . . until Magoo's Christmas Carol. With knowledge, respect and a deep love for the animation art, Darrell Van Citters collects rare photos and even rarer production art to tell the fascinating story of this historic, groundbreaking production for the very first time. --Brad Bird, Writer/Director, The Incredibles and Ratatouille
Darrell Van Citters' book is a meticulously researched, fun trip down memory lane into the creation of a classic animated Christmas special (the first, in fact!). Full of unseen drawings and anecdotes from those involved in its production, it shines a welcome light for nostalgic baby boomers and animation fans alike on some unsung heroes of this underrated production. --John Musker, Co-Director, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin
My whole family grew up with Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, singing that "Razzleberry Dressing" song over and over. I loved watching it every year and it soon became one of my all-time favorites and a key inspiration that led me into the animation field. Darrell Van Citters has lovingly created a book that finally captures all the charming and beautiful artwork, and the entire process that went into the making of this underrated classic. For any fan of the show, this book will bring back many wonderful memories. --Chris Buck, Co-Director, Tarzan and Surf's Up
A rediscovered classic! Darrell Van Citters positions Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol where it has long deserved to be-among the greatest Christmas specials of all time. The show's surehanded and whimsical graphic styling will appeal to both cartoon fans and mid-century design aficionados alike. --Michael Giaimo, Art Director, Pocahontas

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Darrell Van Citters
Editorial: Oxberry Press (2009)
ISBN 10: 0692001557 ISBN 13: 9780692001554
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