So, years after performing my insane little one-man William Shatner Christmas Carol play during a really, really slow wintery day while working in the chemical lab in Superior Industries in Fayetteville (where all the characters spoke in Shatnerspeak) it finally emerges as a world-class motion picture, sure to become a holiday favorite.
Okay, I’m stretching things a little there, but the movie is sort of fun to watch, and I have watched - and re-watched- thanks to the editing process - it about 6,000 times by now.
I have to tell you from the outset that the best versions of A Christmas Carol feature Alastair Sim and Michael Caine/the Muppets. I watch these every year. All other versions just sort of fall short, including the George C. Scott attempt, which I forced myself to watch a few days ago.
It has long been my dream to transfer that day’s effort in the lab to the screen, but I had to find a suitable target - sorry, vehicle. Luckily, the Reginald Owen version, being in the public domain, is tailor made for parody.
Heavily influenced by Jay North ( the creative god behind Rocky and Bullwinkle) who created Fractured Flickers, which took hold of old movies, and also Woody Allen’s What’s up, Tiger Lilly, which took the Japanese film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and both gave them them all completely new dialogue, I was anxious to give this a try.
As I watched the Owen film, though, I began to think:
What if we only took out the voice of Reginald Owens, and left everybody else’s voice intact? I’m not sure that has ever been done.
Decades ago there were comedy albums released in which the serious answers of politicians were edited after really, really ludicrous questions edited on. They were very funny and very popular.
First you have to watch the movie - multiple times. And then you have to play each scene back and forth multiple times, while you consider what might be funny, and yet still fit in with what everybody else is saying.
Later, of course, you isolate all of the sounds that poor Mr. Owens makes, and remove them, and add your own voice. Sturgeon’s law says that 90 percent of everything is crap, so if 10 percent of my jokes work, I’ll be a happy man, indeed.
This is where you get to sit down with C.F. Roberts - also known as The Most Dangerous Man in Fayetteville - and try to make comic sense of what you have envisioned.
And yes, some scenes are cut out entirely, and some are shortened considerably. But it’s my movie, now . . .
Many of Scrooge’s new lines come from Star Trek films, but lines from other films are included, such as:
The Sixth Sense/The History of the World Part I/Wall Street/The Wizard of Oz/Love Story
Show days and times:
Tuesday (Christmas Day!): - 7am, 7pm
Thursday: 7am, 7pm
Fayetteville Public Access Television is shown on Channel 218 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville, and on Channel 99 of AT&T’s U-Verse, which reaches viewers from Bella Vista to Fort Smith.
FPAT can also be seen on line at:
If the site is down over the holiday - as it seemed to be this morning - then you can try again on Thursday.
Actually, this is what I really want . . .
I’d like an unsuspecting person to turn on their TV this week and start watching A William Shatner Christmas Carol, and wonder what is going on.
Surely this can’t be the movie they remember?
Quote of the Day
We doubt that we could live with a clock that was always right, any more than with a person who was always right. - E.B. White