The Lost 'Muppet Christmas Carol' Song Was Finally Found
Stupid old Charles Dickens didn't think to include any anarchic puppet characters in his classic seasonal tome A Christmas Carol. Luckily that grievous oversight was rectified in 1992 with The Muppet Christmas Carol -- arguably the greatest adaptation of Dickens' tale, with the possible exception of that episode of The Real Ghostbusters where they zap the shit out of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
But the version of The Muppet Christmas Carol that most of us are familiar with today is incomplete. The original cut of the movie featured the song "When Love is Gone," a heartbreaking ballad written by Paul Williams and sung by Scrooge's ex Belle, all while the tearful miser watches powerlessly at his past from the sidelines of the future. It even makes Gonzo emotional, and he's an alien who routinely has sex with chickens.
Despite the fact that the song serves as a pivotal moment in Scrooge's journey, then Disney executive (and future Quibi founder) Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted that it be cut from the theatrical release of the film -- although, in retrospect, maybe we should just be glad that Katzenberg didn't whittle the whole movie down to a 12-minute video that could only be watched on a GameBoy. Katzenberg convinced director Brian Henson that kids wouldn't be able to handle a three-minute stretch without any Muppet-y hijinks but promised that it could be re-inserted for the film's home video release, which it was.
But unfortunately, the video master was lost, and Disney wasn't able to find the negative. So the scene couldn't be put back into high definition copies of the movie because the quality was so starkly different. According to a 2018 interview with Henson, Disney was still looking for the footage, and he would "call them like every month to ask if they're still looking." Well, now, amazingly, the footage has turned up! Disney somehow found the song has edited it back into the movie for a new 4K remastered version, allowing a whole new generation of kids to learn that life is a crushing, regret-filled nightmare through song.
Top Image: Disney