Any fan of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will want to get the Jonathan Winters CD interpretation of this Christmas classic. It doesn’t and never will get better than this.

Whoever at National Public Radio had the idea to get the comedy genius to perform this timeless piece, characters and all, should be given a raise, a promotion, and a statue.

There is no doubt this is something the entire family will enjoy repeatedly and year after year on a Winters’ night.

Jonathan Winters narrates this Dickens classic as well as does the voices of Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. The king of improvisational comedy whose more recent releases with Gary Owens (Outpatient to name one) make for particularly ugly coasters and that’s all is in extraordinary form here. Mimi Kennedy provides the female voices.

This is less of a telling of A Christmas Carol than a one man radio drama with the occasional sound effect to support the scene aurally.

Winters might have taken on a couple more characters than he can handle or was limited in his voice choices by someone in the studio: his ghost of Christmas past voice is sometimes uneven and he tends to slip in and out of the Bob Cratchit character. There are a couple of other very small reading to character transitional flaws.

These are minor quibbles considering the overall quality of this Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Jonathan Winters performance. Recorded classical music provides the bridges from scene to scene and those choices are pretty good.

Those who have heard the original broadcast of this radio play on NPR will notice the introduction is different. Who knows why but the original, the story of how A Christmas Carol was created and how it saved Xmas was far, far better. This is available, however only in small part, in the liner notes.

Don’t be a scrooge, get this JOnathan Winters album for Christmas.

Jonathan Winters
Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol
With Mimi Kennedy
NPR 2004
HighBridge Audio 2007

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