Burt Prelutsky

Once upon a time, Santa Claus was a very popular figure around this time of year. Edmund Gwenn even won an Oscar for portraying him in a movie. But along the way, it was Scrooge who kept gaining in favor. His role has been played by a galaxy of stars, including Reginald Owen, Albert Finney, Kelsey Grammer, Tim Curry, Walter Matthau, Fredric March, John Carradine, Ralph Richardson, Cyril Ritchard, George C. Scott, Alastair Sim, Jack Palance and Basil Rathbone. I guess the allure of the role is that Ebenezer Scrooge goes to bed a mean and nasty creature, and by morning has undergone a dramatic epiphany and found spiritual redemption.

But time has taken its toll on his story, which first saw the light of day in 1843. These days, Scrooge strikes us as nothing more than a slightly eccentric old codger. His constant refrain of “Bah! Humbug!” suggests he’s just a little bit cranky, sort of like the loveable old grouch who lives down the block and grouses every year about fire crackers on the 4th of July and trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

I’m sorry to say that Scrooge’s day has come and gone. Which means we’ll probably never get to see Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio in the role.

But, really, how can Scrooge hope to compete with the ACLU and like-minded idiots who have a hissy fit at the mere sight of a Christmas wreath, who insist that the holiday doesn’t really celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but is merely a recognition of the winter solstice? I’m not even a Christian, but wishing someone a merry winter solstice not only sounds lame, but to my ears sounds pretty darn sarcastic.