The Christmas Carol (1949, narrated by Vincent Price)
You know you're in trouble when they don't even get the title right. (It's A Christmas Carol, not THE Christmas Carol. ...Actually, according to Dickens it's A Christmas Carol In Prose, Being A Ghost Story Of Christmas, but who calls it that?)
And you're in even MORE trouble when they misspell the main character's NAME in the opening credits. (Who is this "Ebeneezer"?)
This was an early television production--and I mean EARLY, as it wasn't even the fifties yet. It's a half-hour short that was meant for syndication on 22 stations across the country on Christmas Day of 1949. Vincent Price introduces and narrates, and does his usual good job, but if you thought his old horror movies were the cheapest and cheesiest things he'd ever been in, you've got another think coming.
As is common in these early TV productions of A Christmas Carol (see my submission on two made-for-TV musical versions from the fifties), most of the American actors don't even bother with English accents. In fact, Scrooge sounds more like a prospector from the Old West, or like Abe Simpson. (And looks more like Ben Franklin.)
The entire Christmas Past sequence consists of the Ghost (an unremarkable guy swathed in a white sheet) showing Scrooge his boyhood at school--no visit from sister Fan, no visit to Fezziwig's party, and his breakup with his fiancee isn't shown either; the Ghost just mentions to Scrooge how he drove away the woman he loved. That's the entirety of the whole segment. I guess they couldn't afford to pay an actress to play Belle.
The other sections are similarly shortened--Christmas Present is only a visit to the Cratchits, and Christmas Yet to Come (the Ghost here looks like a guy in a cheap homemade Jawa costume) actually allows us THREE scenes--the Cratchits again, a glimpse of Scrooge's former colleagues, and his gravesite.
The acting is about as wooden as a Groot family reunion--the best actor in the whole thing is Vincent Price, and he isn't even technically part of the story! One wonders what a version with him playing Scrooge might have been like. There are other notable things about this cast--for one thing, there's a nine-year-old Jill St. John, under her real name of Jill Oppenheim, as one of the Cratchit daughters. And Scrooge is played by Taylor Holmes, who had some good character roles in high-profile movies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and voiced King Stefan in Disney's Sleeping Beauty--all with far better performances than he turns in here.
This is about the same quality as many of the Christmas shorts you guys have done in the past--and, as such, a perfect candidate. See for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G531q5KKVVU
This one is bizarre. I agree with your assessment entirely. Let it be riffed.