Now, here we have something I consider very close to my heart. When I was a kid, and had no patience for old, black and white films (I've missed out on a lot of good stuff due to such stubbornness), this was my 'Christmas Carol' story. It was fun, had a great atomsphere to go along with it, and featured some favourite Characters, including Scrooge of 'Duck Tales' fame (a cartoon I really loved back then) in the lead role.
Back when I caught it on TV, it was a 30-minute special that aired after another 30-minutes or so of fun Disney Christmas stories. The grouping of it all together really used to ignite the Christmas spirit in me, as it all managed to capture everything great about the holiday. But of course, our main focus here is the story of Scrooge.
For the two or three people out there who don't know this story at all, Scrooge is a greedy old meiser who sees Christmas as a poor excuse to pick his pockets, and a holiday that hasn't exactly been kind to him. Upon coming home on Christmas Eve, he runs into the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley (a rather hilarious rendition from Goofy) who tells him he's gonna be visited by three spirits. These spirits are gonna help him sort his life out before it's too late and he has to walk around the afterlife as a lonely, chain-wearing ghost.
The spirits in question are the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Jiminy Cricket), Present (that Giant from 'Mickey and the Beanstalk') and Future (A mysterious hooded character with a reveal I'm not sure is worth calling a "spoiler" or not). They all show him shadows of things that were, are, and are to become, giving him a reality check and hopefully, getting him to change his ways.
One can probably imagine how it all ends, but the journey is always interesting. In this version, so much of the story is punctuated by a humor to make it kid-friendly. However, something to be admired here is the overall atmosphere of things. It still carries a darkness to it, like any version should. But it also, otherwise, features great animation in front of some beautifully drawn set pieces that really and truly manage to give you some sort of Christmas spirit injection. The funny thing is, it's not even really bright and colourful, due to the mood that's being established. But somehow, you still get it coming through.
I have this one as "Under the Radar", because I find that no one ever talks about it anymore, or even knows it exists. Most of my generation remembers it, but there's a whole gap going on between us and the younger generation (ie, kids and teenagers nowadays). While there are plenty of other versions of this story to chose from, this is a great one that's short, sweet, does everything it needs to, and ages extremely well. I highly recommend finding it in some way, shape or form and checking it out again - if nothing else, it kinda hits you right in the nostalgias.