The enchanting NPR holiday favorite is finally on CD.
"Old Marley was as dead as a doornail"—and so, nearly, was Christmas itself when Charles Dickens published "A Christmas Carol" in 1843. Most traditions had been forgotten, and few if any employees got time off to celebrate. Dickens' story captured the imagination of a generation and transformed December 25 into a major holiday.
For many National Public Radio listeners, it just wouldn't be Christmas without hearing Jonathan Winters perform "A Christmas Carol." The master comedian brilliantly re-creates Dickens' cast of colorful characters: Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley's spirit, and the three Christmas ghosts, Past, Present, and Future. His distinctive and charming reading uses a special version of the story prepared by Dickens for his own performances. The liner notes are by Winters, who clearly revels in the story's language and message: "Merry Christmas, every one!"
In the history of English literature, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, which has been continuously in print since it was first published in the winter of 1843, stands out as the quintessential Christmas story. What makes this charming edition of Dickens's immortal tale so special is the collection of 80 vivid illustrations by Everett Shinn (1876-1953). Shinn, a well-known artist in his time, was a popular illustrator of newspapers and magazines whose work displayed a remarkable affinity for the stories of Charles Dickens, evoking the bustling street life of the mid-1800s. Printed on heavy, cream-colored paper stock, the edges of the pages have been left rough, simulating the way in which the story might have appeared in Dickens's own time. Though countless editions of this classic have been published over the years, this one stands out as particularly beautiful, nostalgic, and evocative of the spirit of Christmas.