Bah, Humbug! Who's the best Scrooge?


There have been dozens of film and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens' classic Christmas ghost story A Christmas Carol including musical, animated and dramatic versions. But which is the best, and which features the most convincing portrayal of Ebeneezer Scrooge? Is it Reginald Owen, Alistair Sim, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Mr. Magoo, Bill Murray, Disney's Uncle Scrooge, Patrick Stewart or someone else? Our family favorite is the musical 'Scrooge' featuring Albert Finney in the title role. Although this version is temporarily not available from the library's collections, it's worth looking for. What's your favorite?

The Sound of Music's 40th Anniversary

The Sound of Music is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a TV special this week and a special edition DVD. This classic American musical, an enduring guilty pleasure, has something for everyone: the stunning backdrop of the Alps; the story of a nun who...doesn't remain a nun; Rodgers and Hammerstein's indelible score; escaping the Nazis. Here are just a few of my favorite things: the masterful editing of the Doe-a-Deer sequence; the nuns' harmonies at the end of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria"; the sizzling chemistry between Maria and Captain Von Trapp at the party; and Eleanor Parker's catty attempts to hang on to "Georg". The 40th anniversary DVD puts the, er, streusel on the strudel, with an all-new retrospective documentary featuring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer; several featurettes, including "The Von Trapp Family: Harmony and Discord" as seen on A&E; a karaoke singalong (!); and Mia Farrow's (!!) screen test.

Smart Gifts


Need some ideas for that special reader on your list?

“Reader Perfect” suggestions cover many categories, formats and genres, as well as age groups. gives you not only the Best Books of 2005, but also the
Top 50 Editors' Picks.

For the wee bookworms on your list, there's the age-appropriate Parents’ Choice Holiday Gift Guide.

And don't forget The New York Times Editor's Choice and the 100 Notable Books of the Year.

A book is a gift you can open again and again. ~ Garrison Keillor

What's on your wishlist?

If you're anticipating a visit from Kris Kringle, what are you hoping to find
under your tree?

A pony?
A toy train?
An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle?

I hope you don't find a lump of coal!

(Leave a comment with your wishlist ... you never know when Santa might peruse the AADL blogs!)

It Was 25 Years Ago Today

What album should mark the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death? Plastic Ono Band, a critical favorite from Lennon's uneven solo career? Nah, I vote for A Hard Day's Night, which includes some of Lennon's best Beatles-era songs. As for individual songs, I suppose most fans would pick "Imagine", but my vote goes to his definitive cover of "Twist and Shout" which is one of the best, infectious rock vocal performances of all time. And this time of year there's always "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". (I wonder what Lennon would have said about McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time").

U.S. Postal Service Honors Children's Literature Stars

Starting in January, the United States Postal Service will be honoring some of children's literature's most beloved characters. Eight different animals will be featured on the 16-stamp sheets.

Appearing on the stamps will be Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar, Lucy Cousin's Maisy from Maisy's ABC, the Wild Things from Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Curious George from Margret and H.A. Rey's Curious George Flies a Kite, the pig Wilbur from E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, Leo Lionni's mouse Frederick, Ian Falconer's Olivia and Dr. Seuss's tongue-twisting Fox in Socks.

Best Sports Movies on DVD

Just in time to help you find that perfect gift for the sports fan on your list (and to support Cinderella Man, #22, as a contender when Oscar time rolls around), Entertainment Weekly has published its list of the 30 best sports movies on DVD. Numbers 1-5 are: Raging Bull, Caddyshack, Hoosiers, Rocky, and Bull Durham. See the complete list.

Never have your dog stuffed : and other things I've learned

Alan Alda was inteviewed on the Diane Rehm show on 11-29-05 about his new book "Never have your dog stuffed... Alda, star of stage and screen, looks back on his life in show business and how a life threatening illness atop a Chilean mountain changed his life.

Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce for 11 years on the TV series M*A*S*H. Last year he was nominated for: an Oscar for his role in "The Aviator;" an Emmy for his role on "The West Wing"; and, a Tony for his performance in "Glengarry Glen Ross."

The Play Ground

Tis the Season....for the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Bah humbug, it has never been one of The Play Ground's favorites. Well, the Performance Network is featuring Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula. It is well done, inventive and an interesting new take on this old standard. Through December 24. Fans of the original Christmas Carol may wish to check out the 1951 classic starring Alastair Sim and Kathleen Harrison.

Based on the book...

Most of the hotly anticipated movies due to be released next month are based on a book: Memoirs of a Geisha, Brokeback Mountain (from Annie Proulx's Close Range and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Even The New World, Terrence Malick's drama about the 17th century English settlement at Jamestown--a tale that promises a good deal of bloodshed, greed, conquest, starvation, and love--is based on Love and Hate in Jamestown: James Smith, Pocahontas and the Start of a New Nation, left, by James Price, a "sparkling book [that] retells a beloved tale in modern terms...." (Publisher's Weekly)

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