Michael Caine, Kermit the Frog and a talking rat walk into a Dickensian novel.
It sounds a little like a drug-induced hallucination, but no – The Muppet Christmas Carol is a film that genuinely exists, and it is truly phenomenal. For nearly three decades, it has delighted viewers with its heart-warming scenes, lovable characters and a stream of catchy tunes that would put Fleetwood Mac to shame.
But now, fans of the film can rejoice at the news that a new song – originally cut from the final version and long thought to have disappeared for good – has been found.
Entitled ‘When Love Is Gone’, the melancholy ballad was supposed to appear during the segment involving the Ghost of Christmas Past. In the scene, Scrooge watches his younger self choose money over marriage and stands idly by as his relationship with his fiancé falls apart. Director Brian Henson (son of Muppets creator Jim Henson, who died in 1990) reluctantly agreed to cut the musical number after being advised that children would find it too boring.
For thirty years, most of those involved in the film’s production believed the song was lost forever. The original negative had been misplaced during the editing process and, despite an extensive search, it didn’t look like it was going to turn up any time soon.
Fate had different plans. The film was recently remastered in 4K and, during that process, a copy of the original scene was rediscovered in the Disney archives.
According to Henson, he was invited by Disney technicians to view the remastered version but was initially not told the scene had been found. It was only after he arrived at the cinema and the reel was played for him on the big screen that the joyous situation became clear: “I was so happy”, he told Radio 2.
Future releases of The Muppet Christmas Carol will now include ‘When Love Is Gone’ in its entirety.
Words by Dan Pearson
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