The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best adaptation of Charles Dickens’ story of greed, ghosts, and redemption at Christmastime. The second best is Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I will brook no argument concerning these points. Actually, I won’t brook any argument with any of these points or facts, because they’re true.
1. Probably the most well-known fact about the film is that it was the first Muppet movie made after the death of creator Jim Henson. Henson’s son, Brian, would direct and Steve Whitmire took over the role of Kermit the Frog. It was Brian’s first directorial effort.
2. Michael Caine (Ebeneezer Scrooge) considers this the role most memorable to him. He told Henson that he would be playing Scrooge as if he were in a production of the Royal Shakespeare Company. There would be no winks, nods, or indication that he was surrounded by Muppets and not other humans. Henson was overjoyed with that.
3. Steve Whitmire was extremely nervous about taking over the iconic Kermit role. The night before he was due to record Kermit’s songs, Whitmire had a dream that he met Jim Henson in a hotel lobby. Henson assured Whitmire that being unsure about his ability to do the role justice would pass. Whitmire awoke more confident in his performance as Kermit, which is evident in the film.
4. Richard Hunt passed away before this film was made. Hunt was best known for his portrayal of Scooter and performed Statler and Waldorf with Henson. Dave Goelz and Jerry Nelson took over Statler and Waldorf for this film.
5. The shooting star Kermit sees after finishing his song “One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas” was in honor of the late Jim Henson and a nod to the shooting star in The Muppet Movie. The shooting star has since appeared in Muppet Treasure Island, Kermit’s Swamp Years, It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets.
6. The Ghost of Christmas Past was filmed in a tank of water to create the ethereal and floating effects.
7. There were several songs cut from the final film so that the story’s flow would not be interrupted. Belle sings a song to Scrooge called “When Love Is Gone”, but kids were bored and it was cut. This leaves the bawling reactions of Rizzo and Scrooge a bit confusing.
While soliciting Christmas donations, Dr. Bunson Honeydew and Beaker had a song called “Room in Your Heart” that was cut. Scrooge’s headmaster Sam the Eagle had a song cut that was called “Chairman of the Board”.
8. Other actors considered for the role of Scrooge were George Carlin and David Warner. I’m not saying they would have been poor choices, I’m just saying I’m not sure they could have hit the perfection of Caine.
9. This was the first Muppet movie to focus on the human characters instead of the Muppets. It was also the first one to not feature any Sesame Street characters.
10. A storefront during the closing song where Scrooge and friends take presents to people has the name Micklewhite’s. This is a nod to Michael Caine’s real name, Maurice Micklewhite.
11. The scene where Kermit/Bob Crachit dance-walks down the street with Robin/Tiny Tim on his shoulders was exceedingly time-consuming and complicated to film. It involved multiple puppeteers, blue screen, and a rotating drum under Kermit’s feet.