December 27, 2017

A "Christmas Carol" the likes of which you haven't seen before!

WHAT DID EBENEZER SCROOGE SEE WHEN HE OPENED THAT WINDOW? READ ON AND FIND OUT.


INT. A ROOM - MORNING.

SCROOGE lies slumped on the floor, his hands locked around the bedpost. For a moment the reality of the situation escapes him; then, looking around, he realizes that he is in his own bedroom. There are the bedcurtains; they haven't been torn down after all! The walls, the pictures - they're all his!


SCROOGE
I'm alive! I'm alive! The Spirits have done it all in one night!
(Beginning to dance around the room)
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future! The Spirits of all three will live within me. I'm as light as a feather, I'm as happy as an angel, I'm as merry as a schoolboy.
(He staggers slightly, as if lightheaded)
I'm as giddy as a drunken man. A Merry Christmas to everybody! But what day is it? I don't know how long I've been among the Spirits. I don't know anything!

Hearing the chimes of the church bells outside, SCROOGE stops. 


SCROOGE
Is it? Could it still be Christmas Day?

He runs to the window and throws it open, and he is stopped in his tracks. His mouth falls open. If he was confused a moment ago, now he is utterly shocked.

CUT TO:
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE SCROOGE'S WINDOW. SCROOGE'S P.O.V.

Everything that is familiar to SCROOGE is gone. Across from his home rises a large glass skyscraper. Below him are people walking on sidewalks lining the sides of paved streets, wearing close in a style he has never before seen. Moving across his view from right to left is a red double-decker bus. As his eyes dart back and forth he sees a jet aircraft streaking across the clear blue sky, the sunlight glinting off its silver skin.

CLOSE SHOT SCROOGE

His lips are moving, but nothing comes out. He shakes his head, his hands pressed against either side. Finally he speaks.


SCROOGE
It...it...it must be the aftereffects of being with the Spirits. Well, yes, a shock to the system such as this is bound to cause confusion. Yes, that must be it.

SHOT OF STREET OUTSIDE WINDOW. WE SEE SOMEONE WALKING PAST SCROOGE'S HOME.

CLOSE SHOT SCROOGE.


SCROOGE
Here, let me ask that young woman out there.
(Raising his voice)
Excue me, miss. Can you tell me what is today?

MEDIUM SHOT PEDESTRIAN. 

We can see that despite the long hair, the young woman is, in fact, a YOUNG MAN.


YOUNG MAN

What? You talkin' to me?


SCROOGE
Excuse me, my good man, I meant no offense. It's just - it's just...
(Motions to head, tugs on own hair)
Your hair, I'm afraid, well I mistook you for a young lady.


YOUNG MAN
Whatever.
(Under his breath)
Sod off, old man.

He begins to walk away.


SCROOGE
Wait!


YOUNG MAN
(Impatiently)
Yeah?


SCROOGE
Can you tell me what day today is?


YOUNG MAN
What day it is? Are you barmy?


SCROOGE
(Insistent)
Today! What day is today?


YOUNG MAN
Why, It's Christmas Day. Whatdy'a think?


SCROOGE
(As if to himself)
Then it is still Christmas Day. I haven't missed it. But - this?
(To YOUNG MAN)
What kind of place is this?

CLOSE SHOT YOUNG MAN


YOUNG MAN
What kind of nutter are you? This is London!


SCROOGE
(Confused)
London?

The YOUNG MAN again begins to walk away.


SCROOGE
(Suddenly)
Young man!

LONG VIEW YOUNG MAN, AS SEEN FROM OVER SCROOGE'S SHOULDER.


YOUNG MAN
(Exasperated)
Now what?


SCROOGE
(Desperately)
The year. What year is it?


YOUNG MAN
What year is it? First he wants to know the day, now the year. You really musta got rat-arsed last night!

CLOSE SHOT SCROOGE


SCROOGE
Never mind all that. What year is it.

CLOSE SHOT YOUNG MAN


YOUNG MAN
(Deciding he may as well humor SCROOGE)
Why, it's 1993!
(Sotto voce)
Wanker!

CLOSE SHOT SCROOGE - HIS CONFUSED EXPRESSION GIVES WAY TO HORROR AS HE LISTENS TO THE VOICE ECHOING SUDDENLY IN THE ROOM.


VOICE OF GHOST
(Mocking)
Yes, Ebenezer, it is Christmas Day, just as you asked. But you didn't say what year!
(Laughs malevolently)


NARRATOR
(Voice over)
Presenting Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, the world's most famous miser.

FAST PAN AROUND SCROOGE'S BEDROOM TO THE NARRATOR, IN SUIT AND TIE, HIS HANDS FOLDED IN FRONT OF HIM, A COPY OF "A CHRISTMAS CAROL" TUCKED UNDER HIS ARM.


NARRATOR
For over a century, every Christmas, his journey through his own personal reclamation has played out, in book, on stage, and in film, for millions of people around the world. But whenever you enter the ghostly fog of time travel, you're apt to discover that the rules can change without warning. Tonight Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge is about to find out that, this time, the road from ruin to redemption will take him through the Twilight Zone.


◊ ◊ ◊

Every year, whenever we're watching A Christmas Carol, I expect something like this to happen. It doesn't, of course, and it didn't happen this year either. That doesn't stop me from hoping, though, and now it's your turn - anyout out there care to take a shot at telling the story from here? Maybe Jordan at The Twilight Zone Vortex or Joanna at Christmas TV History have some ideas?  TV  

2 comments:

  1. I'm fairly sure that there hasn't been a classic story that was on the receiving end of more variations than A Christmas Carol.

    The one I'd like to see again was done in 1985, on George Burns Comedy Week, a short-lived anthology series on CBS (anthologies were a quick fad of that season).

    George Burns, 89 at the time, was the Serlingesque host for original half-hour comedy plays; Steve Martin was executive producer.

    For their seasonal show, GBCW presented "Christmas Carol II: The Sequel", starring James Whitmore as Scrooge.
    The premise: it's one year after the original story, and Scrooge has become such a complete pushover that Marley and the other ghosts have to come back to get him on a more moderate path.
    I didn't see it at the time, and since GBCW didn't make it past midseason I missed out altogether; it didn't even get a VHS tape release.
    (I did manage to find a bootleg VHS of some of the episodes, including this one; I think I still have it here in the place, but unfortunately I can't find a working VHS player anywhere, so there too.)

    Back to the point:
    Just about everybody has had a swat at Scrooge, going all the way back to Dickens's own time, so if you really want to go ahead with this, you ought to find a really original angle - this one's been done before, by many, many others.
    Meantimes, I'm on the lookout for any DVD presence of George Burns Comedy Week, which deserved more of a shot than CBS gave it in 1985 (Martin Grams, take note).

    That aside, Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That description actually sounds a lot like Blackadder's Christmas Carol, in which our titular hero is the nicest man in London (and consequently taken advantage of by everyone). It isn't until he's visited by the ghost (played by Robbie Coltrane) that he realizes what a sucker he's been, and how his crooked and devious ancestors really had the best of it. Of course, he winds up insulting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, therefore losing a cash award he was to receive for being such a humanitarian. A real cure for some of those anodyne "Carol" knockoffs out there.

      Merry Christmas to you as well, Mike, and a very Happy New Year!

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Thanks for writing! Drive safely!