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Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special Hardcover – October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Oxberry Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692001557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692001554
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Wow!

If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. Animation director Darrell Van Citters has written and published one of the best animation books of the year. Scratch that... one of the best animation books ever! Van Citters has documented the creation and production of the classic UPA TV special Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol with thorough details (wonderfully written I might add) and lavishly illustrated with rare production art (the book layout is superb). This is a must-have for anyone interested in animation history - and specifically, if you have any interest in UPA, animator/director Abe Levitow, songwriters Jules Styne and Bob Merrill, artists like Corny Cole, Gerard Baldwin, Bob Singer and others, not to mention actors Jim Backus, Morey Amsterdam, Jack Cassidy, Paul Frees... you will want this. Van Citters dug up rare behind the scenes photos, cels, storyboards, backgrounds, pencil sketches... a treasure trove of art material that alone justifies the purchase. It gets my highest recommendation. --Jerry Beck --Cartoon Brew, July 11, 2009

From the Publisher

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

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Thank you, thank you, Mr. Van Citters, for the painstaking and superb job you did of researching and writing this book.
George Zadorozny
Let me tell you this is a great book full of beautiful production art and well researched information on who and how this classic show was made.
Joel D. Brinkerhoff
This book is a must-have for anyone who knows and loves MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL, Christmas TV Specials, Animation, and Christmas itself.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Gabriel on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Talk about a fun read! If you loved this first ever animated Christmas T.V special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, as much as my family of ten siblings and I did growing up in Salina, Kansas, then you will be blown away by this book. Darrell Van Citters has written about a film he obviously loves but never allows that to distort his critical eye or shrewd assessment along the way to uncovering the truly fascinating journey along it's serendipitous creation. Kismet in many ways and determined vision by producer Lee Orgel, in many others. From this book and it's super fast paced, gripping, clear and devotedly researched telling, you will read just how magical a special it truly was. So many talented superstar designers of the UPA led fifties were a vital part of the show's bold colorful look. The boatload of newly discovered bg paintings, cool retro prime fifties era layout drawings, and character development designs are all placed alongside the correlating text. So smart. I have never read a book with images placed so cleverly and so in keeping with the spirit of the subject matter. The book's design and layout is total immersion into the world and art of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. The book is divided into clear chunks of the film's evolution and production process. One of my favorites is the music section. The songs were unbelievably all recorded in one day. I loved reading how the recording day progressed and how the cast and crew's laughter was so loud during the recording of the horrible Despicable's song--or is it the despicable Horrible's song--- when they all started singing "LA.LA, LA la la la" the crew and cast laughed so much that they could barely continue.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark H. Orgel on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Darrell Van Citter's meticulously researched book about the making of the first prime-time animated network TV special is a fitting tribute to this ground-breaking yet almost forgotten television classic. None other than Walt Disney predicted that "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" would be appreciated by future generations of children.

At first glance, casting the bumbling, myopic Mister Magoo as Ebeneezer Scrooge must have seemed odd at best. Producer Lee Orgel's inspired decision to stage the show as a play within a play, casting Magoo as an actor playing Scrooge, makes the concept work. As an added wrinkle, it was done as a musical, with Bob Merrill and Jule Stein taking time off from "Funny Girl" to write the songs. Some of the most talented animators of the time, many of them veterans of Disney and Warner Brothers, were given considerable creative free reign under the watchful eye of director Abe Levitow. Jim Backus, who most remember as Thurston Howell III from "Gilligan's Island", was a talented actor with considerable experience in radio. His performance as the clueless Magoo and Scrooge at various stages of life included singing his role in character.

The alignment of all this creative talent resulted in an animation masterpiece. That it turned out so well despite severe time and budgetary constraints is quite a story, one that Van Citters tells as only a true scholar and fan of animation can. The author, an accomplished animator himself, interviewed nearly every surviving member of the production team, and sifted through the Orgel, Levitow and Styne family archives in the course of his research, carefully documenting every step in the production.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joel D. Brinkerhoff on September 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Magoo's Christmas Carol was something I tried never to miss. Not only is it a faithful retelling of the Dickens' story, it's also true to the character of Mr. Magoo. There are beautiful songs and moments of comedy and heart touching poignancy.

Let me tell you this is a great book full of beautiful production art and well researched information on who and how this classic show was made. After just reading the introduction I learned Walt Disney was so deeply moved by the show after its first airing that he made a personal call to the producer to congratulate him. The book is chucked full of stuff like that.

I will enjoy and consult this book for years. Thanks!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must-have for anyone who knows and loves MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL, Christmas TV Specials, Animation, and Christmas itself.

It's a beautiful presentation of a fascinating story. So well done, it can easily take its place among the best books of its kind. In fact, if you laid this book down with the ones about A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (both of which I love) this is the first one I would pick up.

Mr. Van Citters and Company deserve a candle in a jar of razzle berry dressing, a Christmas far more glorious than grand!

Buy this fast - for yourself, and everyone on your Christmas list - before it sells out!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By George Zadorozny on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like the first edition, this 2010 revised edition (with new material) is a simply splendid book about a splendid and glorious film. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Van Citters, for the painstaking and superb job you did of researching and writing this book. It is truly a labor of love. Its words are illuminating and wise, and its illustrations--mostly reproductions of the amazing original artwork created for the film--leap off the page in sparkling vividness and mesmerizing beauty.

As for the film itself--"Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" is simply the finest film realization ever, animated or live, of Charles Dickens' wonderful and wondrous tale. Sheer magic, astonishing beauty of story and song, deeply loving, profoundly moving. If you have a heart that has been shattered seemingly beyond hope, but somehow yet capable of hearing the most exquisite whisperings of that which makes life not just good but even mystical, not just sweet but even sacred, then this film is your film, this story is your story, and its songs sing beauty and comfort to you, even in your night of most inward darkness. And the song at the film's center and heart, "Winter Was Warm," sung by a woman with the voice of love itself, is perhaps the greatest song of lost and yearning love ever recorded. A thousand "Bravos" and profoundest gratitude to all who worked to create this magnificent masterpiece of the storyteller's art--this journey from bleakest tragedy to utter exaltation.
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More About the Author

Darrell Van Citters is a well-known director and producer with over thirty five years' experience in animation. He has directed at the Walt Disney Studio, Warner Bros. Animation and Chuck Jones Productions, finally forming Renegade Animation where for the past twenty one years he has directed numerous commercials, direct-to-video projects, title sequences and several television series including The Hi Hi Puffy Ami Show, The Mr. Men Show and The Tom and Jerry Show. His first book was Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special. To commemorate the special's 50th anniversary, a deluxe collector's edition was published last year and features 48 more pages and over 200 more images than the original edition (The 50th anniversary edition is also available on Amazon). He is currently finishing a book on The Art of Jay Ward Productions, due out in mid-November 2013.

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