Lost Muppet Christmas Carol song rediscovered

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Image caption,
The Muppet Christmas Carol was a reworking of the classic Dickens story

A lost song cut from the original The Muppet Christmas Carol movie has been found and reinstated, director Brian Henson has revealed.

Henson told BBC Radio 2 he was "excited" and "happy" that When Love Is Gone could again be heard in forthcoming versions of his film.

The ballad is sung to a young Scrooge by his fiancée Belle in the 1992 reworking of the classic Dickens story.

It was removed as Disney felt it wouldn't appeal to young viewers.

In the process of cutting the song for the cinema release they lost the video master and couldn't find the negative either, Henson (son of Muppets creator Jim) previously explained in a 2018 interview.

Media caption,
Footage of a missing love ballad from the Christmas classic has finally been found.

The love song remained in the VHS copies of the film but when DVDs were invented only the cinematic master was available.

But two weeks ago, Henson received a call telling him the film was being remastered in 4K and asking him to check the new version.

At that stage, however, he wasn't told the lost piece of film had been found.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Brian Henson reluctantly agreed to take the song out of the cinema version of the film

"I was so excited. They actually hid it... so I went down and they said: 'But before we show it to you, we've got something else we want to show you'. And they put up reel four of Christmas Carol with When Love Is Gone," Henson told Radio 2, in a programme that will be broadcast on Christmas Day.

"I was like, 'No, you did not!' and they said, 'Yes we did! We found it!' I was so happy, I was so happy.

"They are all set with the full-length version again. I don't know if they are going to get it up on Disney Plus in time for Christmas because they have all these processes but it is coming back, the full-length version is coming back."

'No loving relationship'

When Love Is Gone is sung when Scrooge, played by Sir Michael Caine, is taken back to Christmas pasts and sees his younger self with his fiancée Belle, played by Meredith Braun.

He remembers the Christmas they broke up because he was more interested in his career. Belle then sings a melancholy ballad about "a time when I was sure that you and I were truly one, that our future was forever and would never come undone…"

Henson explained that at the time it was felt the film didn't justify a love ballad "because there is no loving relationship that we can celebrate in that movie... So the love ballad is when Belle is leaving Scrooge".

But producer Jeffrey Katzenberg also said he thought the song was too "sophisticated emotionally" and therefore children wouldn't relate to it.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Michael Caine played Scrooge

"So I reluctantly agreed (to remove it) because he said: 'If you say you're not going to do it, you don't have to do it', and I was like: 'Well now, darn it, I guess I will because you want me to'," Henson said.

"The agreement was we would remove it from the theatrical release but then put it back in for all of the television and video releases from then on."

Whether or not Disney Plus will be showing the restored movie at Christmas remains unknown, said Henson, adding "they can do it but they are going to have to scramble to do it in time".

Disney declined the BBC's request for comment.

The full interview can be heard in The Muppets at Christmas: It's Time To Play The Music, which will go out on 25 December at 19:00 GMT on BBC Radio 2, presented by OJ Borg.

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