Ask Professor Popcorn: Scrooged



Dear Danny,

Great question actually! But an easy answer. The original running time of Richard Donner’s comedy yuletide classic was 20 hours long! Yes 20! It was originally supposed to run in real time from the early morning meeting with Murray’s character showing his (awesome) Scrooge promo to the evening of Christmas Eve the next day. (Donner was hired, by the way, for the same reason Marc Webb was hired to direct The Amazing Spiderman, because of his Christmas-themed surname.) Donner basically followed Murray around New York City for most of the filming and told Murray to stay in character. Meanwhile, with such a long running time there was way more plot development with the other characters like Grace Cooley, Brice Cummings, Claire Phillips, and Robert Mitchum as Preston Rhinelander and John Forsythe’s Lew Hayward (Do you really think they would hire such esteemed actors like Mitchum and Forsythe for the meager screen time that the final cut actually gave them?) There’s 45 more minutes of Michael J. Pollard’s Herman character—25 of which are seeing him slowly freeze in the subway tunnel. Remember the Christmas Carol show with Buddy Hackett that was being broadcasted on television that Murray was producing? Yeah that was completely filmed as a feature length movie as well! But to get to the point of your question, yes, we of course see a whole lot more of Bobcat’s Eliot’s misadventures in the few hours that follow his termination, including his bitter fight with his wife (she was actually caught cheating with David Johansen’s cabbie character when Eliot comes home unexpectedly). There’s a slightly comical scene of Eliot trying to hang himself with Christmas tree lights to no avail. Another scene showed him trying to rob a bank but he stupidly forgot to arm himself and he also forgot banks close early on Christmas Eve. To come sooner to the point, Eliot loses all his money in underground gambling in Chinatown so that does better explain why he’s penniless. I’m not sure how he acquired the shotgun though. 

All in all, Donner lost his battle with the studio head for this day-long Christmas opus and had to trim the running time down to a succinct 101 minutes. We will never see the unused footage though because, as rumor has it, John Houseman ate all the film stock after it was edited!

As for your inquiry as to why he didn’t get arrested, well that’s just Hollywood endings for you. Sorry for the ambiguous answer but there’s no better way to explain why an armed drunk taking a television studio hostage and firing weapons didn’t get arrested. It was a Christmas miracle I suppose.

Your picture pal,
Professor Popcorn

Scrooged 4



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