Saturday Dec. 19, 2020’s Smile of the Day: A Christmas Carol
On this Day:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843, illustrated by John Leech. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol during a period when the British were exploring and re-evaluating past Christmas traditions, including carols, and newer customs such as Christmas trees. He was influenced by the experiences of his own youth and by the Christmas stories of other authors, including Washington Irving and Douglas Jerrold. Dickens had written three Christmas stories prior to the novella, and was inspired following a visit to the Field Lane Ragged School, one of several establishments for London’s street children. The treatment of the poor and the ability of a selfish man to redeem himself by transforming into a more sympathetic character are the key themes of the story. There is discussion among academics as to whether this is a fully secular story, or if it is a Christian allegory.
Published on 19 December, the first edition sold out by Christmas Eve; by the end of 1844 thirteen editions had been released. Most critics reviewed the novella favourably. The story was illicitly copied in January 1844; Dickens took legal action against the publishers, who went bankrupt, further reducing Dickens’s small profits from the publication. He went on to write four other Christmas stories in subsequent years. In 1849 he began public readings of the story, which proved so successful he undertook 127 further performances until 1870, the year of his death. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print and has been translated into several languages; the story has been adapted many times for film, stage, opera and other media.
A Christmas Carol captured the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the Christmas holiday. Dickens had acknowledged the influence of the modern Western observance of Christmas and later inspired several aspects of Christmas, including family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games and a festive generosity of spirit (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Why did the girl sit on her dad’s shoulder to go carolling? So she could reach the high notes.
Second, a Song:
A Christmas Carol is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated Christmas dark fantasy film written and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1843 story of the same name and stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits, along with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes and Fionnula Flanagan. The film was produced through the process of motion capture, a technique used in Zemeckis’s previous films The Polar Express and Beowulf. It is also Disney’s third adaptation of the classic story, following Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) and The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992).
The film was released in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D on November 6, 2009 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It had its world premiere in London, coinciding with the switching-on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its visuals, Alan Silvestri’s musical score and the performances of Carrey and Oldman, but criticized its dark tone.
The theme song “God Bless Us Everyone” was written by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard and performed by Italian classical crossover tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Andrea Bocelli OMRI OMDSM (Italian: born 22 September 1958) is an Italian opera singer, songwriter, tenor and record producer. He was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma at 5 months old, and became completely blind at age 12, following a soccer accident. After performing evenings in piano bars and competing in local singing contests, Bocelli signed his first recording contract with the Sugar Music label. He rose to fame in 1994, winning the preliminary round of the 44th Sanremo Music Festival performing “Miserere”, with the highest marks ever recorded in the newcomers section.
Since 1982, Bocelli has recorded 15 solo studio albums of both pop and classical music, three greatest hits albums, and nine complete operas, selling over 90 million records worldwide. He has had success as a crossover performer, bringing classical music to the top of international pop charts. His first compilation album, Romanza, is one of the best-selling albums of all time, while Sacred Arias is the biggest selling classical album by any solo artist in history. My Christmas was the best-selling holiday album of 2009 and one of the best-selling holiday albums in the United States. The 2019 album Sì debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and US Billboard 200, becoming Bocelli’s first number-one album in both countries. His song “Con te partirò”, included on his second album Bocelli, is one of the best-selling singles of all time (per Wikipedia).
Here is Andrea Bocelli performing “God Bless Us Everyone” from a live concert with images from the Disney film interspersed throughout. I hope you enjoy this version!
Thought for the Day:
“I always liked it when people go back in time to discover things about themselves, like with ‘A Christmas Carol’ and you’re getting a tour of your life by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.” – John Cusack
Have a great day!
© 2020 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky
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