Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol is a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous short story A Christmas Carol starring the character Mr. Magoo. Aside from the 1950 marionette special The Spirit of Christmas, it was the first animated holiday program ever produced specifically for television, originally airing in December 1962, and the only one until the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was first shown in December 1964. The special also inspired the 1964 TV series The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo. It featured the voice of Jim Backus as Magoo, with voice over appearances by Paul Frees, Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, and Jack Cassidy.
Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol was produced by Henry G. Saperstein and the UPA animation studio in its declining days. Commissioned and sponsored by Timex, it first aired on NBC on December 18, 1962. Although the special led to the Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo television series, the studio ultimately found it could not adapt to the rigors of mass-producing cartoons for television.
The program was broadcast as a TV special many times during the Christmas season from the 1960s through the 1980s—though not always on NBC—before being released on VHS in 1994 and on DVD in 2001. The original 53-minute running time is often cut to make room for additional commercials, primarily by removing the framing device about Magoo himself.