So last night my kids were introduced to A Christmas Carol ala the Mickey Mouse version. At first I thought it would be too much for them (remembering my own introduction via Mr. Magoo), but it turns out to be a half hour thing that must be cut so drastically I can’t imagine it being all that meaningful.
They seem to enjoy it, although the prospect of ghosts is a bit frightening to them. Afterward they don’t understand who the ghosts were, because all they saw were Goofy, Jiminy Cricket and an unnamed giant.
Folks that know me by now know I didn’t miss the opportunity to explain that this is just the Mickey Mouse version of an older, grown up story by Charles Dickens. I liken Dickens to Shakespeare for them in the sense that it’s a “classic” that was written long ago, that they will study in school when they grow up, but for now at their age we show them the story in a way that they can understand it.
It just so happens that I’ve got the audio CD of Patrick Stewart’s famous rendition of the story. Ever heard it? It’s quite tremendous, I try to break it out every year. I play that for the kids. Well, partially, as it is very long that way and they’ve only got attention spans so long. They do, however, start asking questions – who was Marley, oh was he the ghost? How come his face was on the door knob? What’s with the chains? I’m pleased. I do not bother explaining the Patrick Stewart / Shakespeare connection, I figure that’s a bit much for them :).
HOWEVER, by some strange quirk of the universe I happen to have sitting on the shelf two of Shakespeare’s very own well known ghost stories, Manga Macbeth and Manga Julius Caesar . Seems only fitting that I come up with some sort of contest to give them away.
So, here it is:
Although most actual productions (including Stewart’s and Mickey’s) seem to snip it out, there’s a really good Shakespeare reference right smack dab in the middle of A Christmas Carol. Find it and email me the answer by, oh, Christmas Eve – December 24. I’ll randomly pick two winners from the correct answers received.
(Regular readers can vouch for the fact that this is not spam, nor an email-harvesting opportunity. I don’t have a newsletter to send out, even. I’m just doing it this way so that more than one person can play – if I had you post the answer in the comments it’d become pretty obvious what the correct answer is!)
I do always love comment traffic, though, so here’s a discussion topic – which is the better ghost story, Macbeth or Julius Caesar? Why? (No fair bringing Hamlet into it, I don’t have his book to give away…)