Monday, September 19, 2011


   We've probably all either read the Charles Dickens story or saw one adaptation / version of "A Christmas Carol".
    It has been done dozens upon dozens of times in some form with titles ranging from "A Christmas Carol", "Scrooge", and "Ebenezer" to more unique names such as "Scrooged" or "Mr. Scrooge". There are also versions with drastically different stories and titles like "Ms. Scrooge" or "An American Christmas Carol". I do enjoy most versions but since this is a top 10 I need to narrow it down to ten. Most of you have probably seen one of my top 10 because a few have played every year for decades.
   There have been female versions such as Ms. Scrooge (1997) (TV) with Cicely Tyson as Ms. Ebenita Scrooge and I believe there are a few others with titles I don't remember. Not to sound sexist but I don't care for these females versions at all. I'm not sure if any woman can fit the role of Ebenezer. Possibly with a newly written part just for women.
   Other female versions include Ebbie (1995) (TV) with Susan Lucci playing Elizabeth 'Ebbie' Scrooge. Lucci as Scrooge? I just didn't buy it. Then there's A Carol Christmas (2003) (TV), a Hallmark original movie with a very mismatched cast of Tori Spelling as Carol and get this, Coleman and Shatner play two of the Ghosts!
   On with the list! I'll just sort by year of release. I'll also list the cast for Ebenezer, Bob Cratchit &  his wife, Tiny Tim, Fred (Ebenezer's nephew), Fezziwig (Ebenezer's boss and "teacher" of sorts) and Jacob Marley's and the three ghosts.

1. Scrooge (1935)


   An old black & white version which I don't see too often but do occasionally catch it. This British production version stars Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge, a reprisal of his 1913 silent role. He does an okay job but not my favorite black & white version. Straightforward adaptation of Dickens' classic.

Trivia  Tidbit
    The voice of the Ghost of Christmas Past is not that of Marie Ney, whose physical outline can be seen onscreen as the Ghost. Ney was a woman, and the voice of the Ghost of Christmas Past is that of an uncredited male actor.


 Seymour Hicks .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Donald Calthrop .... Bob Cratchit
Barbara Everest .... Mrs. Cratchit
Robert Cochran .... Fred
Philip Frost .... Tiny Tim
Oscar Asche .... Spirit of Christmas Present
Marie Ney .... Spirit of Christmas Past
C.V. France .... Spirit of Christmas Future

Directed by
Henry Edwards

Writing credits (in alphabetical order)
Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol
H. Fowler Mear

2. A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol

   This is a version that I've seen played every year since I can remember. It's your standard adaptation. The sets look cheap but what can you expect for 1938. Reginald Owen does a great job as Ebenezer Scrooge but he kind of reminds me of a Lollipop Kid munchkin in Wizard of Oz with an almost bald head and a little wispy hair. Not really special about it but still is one of the better black & white versions. This production also exists in a colorized version but I don't remember seeing that one.

Trivia Tidbit
    A very young June Lockhart plays a small role as one of the Cratchit daughters and both of her parents played the Cratchit parents which is kind of cool.
MGM released a record-breaking 375 prints of the film so that as many people as possible could see it during the Christmas season.
    This was the only film in which Gene Lockhart appeared with his wife Kathleen Lockhart and their daughter June Lockhart, Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge McDuck was probably based physically on this version of Ebenezer Scrooge, with the fringe of hair and the small tuft of hair on the top of his head.


Reginald Owen .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Gene Lockhart .... Bob Cratchit
Kathleen Lockhart .... Mrs. Cratchit
Terry Kilburn .... Tiny Tim Cratchit
Barry MacKay .... Fred
Forrester Harvey .... Fezziwig
Leo G. Carroll .... Jacob Marley's ghost
Lionel Braham .... Spirit of Christmas Present
Ann Rutherford .... Spirit of Christmas Past
D'Arcy Corrigan .... Spirit of Christmas Future
June Lockhart .... Belinda Cratchit

Directed by
Edwin L. Marin

Writing credits
Charles Dickens (short story)
Hugo Butler (screenplay)

3. Scrooge (1951)

A Christmas Carol (Ultimate Collector's Edition)(B/W & Color)

    This is another black & white adaptation which is played yearly and is probably the most popular black & white version. This one has been colorized so that's the version we usually see. Usually the colorized version is played as an homage with Patrick MacNeeacting as host to add facts about it between breaks. Patrick MacNee, of Avengers fame, has a small role in the film as a young Jacob Marley. He probably hosts because he's the biggest star in his career; either that or he was the only cast member still alive. It's your standard adaptation.
Alastair Sim is one of the best Ebenezer Scrooges. He's very mean to start with and he's great to watch after the ghosts leave. He jumps around hysterically like an insane man and a rather unique scene where the maid screams and runs away from him, thinking he went mad. He's probably my second favorite Scrooge.

 Alastair Sim .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Mervyn Johns .... Bob Cratchit
Hermione Baddeley .... Mrs. Cratchit
Brian Worth .... Fred
Glyn Dearman .... Tiny Tim
Roddy Hughes .... Mr. S. Fezziwig
Michael Hordern .... Jacob Marley/Marley's Ghost
Francis De Wolff .... Spirit of Christmas Present
Michael Dolan .... Spirit of Christmas Past
C. Konarski .... Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come
Patrick Macnee .... Young Jacob Marley

Directed by
Brian Desmond Hurst

Writing credits
Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol
Noel Langley adaptation and screenplay

4. A Christmas Carol (1954) from the show "Shower of Stars"

    This version is only a 60 minute episode of "Shower of Stars" but worth a view. This was originally broadcast in color. This is important because RCA introduced the first color television, the CT-100 that year. It was filmed in color but only black & White prints exist today. Note Basil Rathbone as Marley's ghost.


 William Lundigan .... Host
Mary Costa .... Co-host (spoken credit)
Fredric March .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Bob Sweeney .... Bob Cratchit
Queenie Leonard .... Mrs. Cratchit
Christopher Cook .... Tiny Tim
Basil Rathbone .... Marley's ghost
Sally Fraser .... Ghost of Christmas Past/Belle
Ray Middleton .... Fred/Ghost of Christmas Present

Directed by
Ralph Levy

Writing credits
Maxwell Anderson adaptation
Maxwell Anderson teleplay A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol

5. Scrooge (1970)

    It's one of the very few musical adaptations of Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol and the best one at that (forget Kelsey Grammar's recent version!). This version is basically the same as Dickens but with a few added scenes and, of course, the singing. This aspect drives some away from it but there is plenty of great non-musical scenes and the atmosphere is fantastic. The colors are greyer than most so it seems more real and darker for Scrooge's personality. This version is a lot darker, bordering on horror.
    Alec Guinness has to be the best and scariest Jacob Marley's Ghost ever. His ghost still creeps me out, especially his face on Scrooge's door knocker. Two other creepy scenes are one where we see thousands of ghosts flying outside Scrooge's window; supposed to be trapped in limbo. And we see Scrooge go to Hell, if you see it uncut - it's often cut on TV. The other scene is Scrooge in Hell.
    Albert Finney is THE best Ebenezer Scrooge I've ever seen. At only 34 at the time of production, the make-up artist did a phenomenal job on making Finney look like an old man but Finney's different mannerisms, movements and voice tones are great as well.    He also plays a younger Scrooge just as well.
    Richard Beaumont is one of the best Tiny Tim's as well. His songs are so sad.
Kenneth More is one of the MOST cheerful, boisterous and colorful Ghosts of Christmas Present. Just great!
    One character who's not part of any other Christmas Carol I've ever seen but I feel deserves mentioning is Anton Rodgers as Tom Jenkins, a broth maker and one of Scrooge's clients. He sings before Scrooge dies but after he dies he has his best song which he starts solo and slowly builds up until it's a huge musical number. The song is "Thank you very much" and Scrooge thinks it positive but really everyone's happy he's dead because their loans are no longer owed to him.
    If you haven't seen this version, see it now! The lavish sets alone will make you love it! The end sows tons of old toys like a huge three-foot wide toy carousel.

Trivia Tidbit
    Scrooge (played by then 34-year old Albert Finney) is actually younger than his nephew Fred (played by then 46-year old Michael Medwin).


Albert Finney .... Ebenezer Scrooge
David Collings .... Bob Cratchit
Frances Cuka .... Mrs. Cratchit
Richard Beaumont .... Tiny Tim
Michael Medwin .... Nephew Fred
Laurence Naismith .... Mr. Fezziwig
Alec Guinness .... Jacob Marley's Ghost
Edith Evans .... Ghost of Christmas Past
Kenneth More .... Ghost of Christmas Present
Paddy Stone .... Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Directed by
Ronald Neame

Writing credits
Leslie Bricusse
Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol

6. An American Christmas Carol (1979)

    A very non-traditional Christmas Carol in that it's set in America during the Depression with all different character names. Not sure why the names needed to be changed because they're basically the same characters but it doesn't detract from the story. It different enough to feel refreshing yet similar enough that it feels like an old friend.
Henry Winkler plays Benedict Slade, their version of Scrooge. His portrayal both looks and sounds unique for the role. Not that it's bad, just different. Here he's not a banker but a wood furniture business owner. Chris Wiggins (of Friday the 13th The Series fame) plays Mr. Brewster, the Fezziwig character but also pulls double duty as Slade's foster dad, as Slade was in a foster home as a child.
The ghosts are also unique. One an old man and one is a 1970s black man which is rare to see.
    Ending s also unique in tat the "Tin Tim" character is sent for surgery and another trouble-making boy at a foster home is helped by Slade because he reminds him of himself as a kid.
    The colors are very white so it has more of a bleak, lonely feel to it. Winkler isn't as cheerful as in other adaptations, after the ghosts leave. He went for the subtle approach.
Definitely worth a view!

Henry Winkler .... Benedict Slade
Dorian Harewood .... Matt Reeves
Susan Hogan .... Helen Brewster
R.H. Thomson .... Thatcher
David Wayne .... Merrivale
Chris Cragg .... Jonathan Thatcher
James B. Douglas .... Sam Perkins
Arlene Duncan .... Jennie Reeves
Linda Goranson .... Mrs. Doris Thatcher
Gerard Parkes .... Jessup
Mary Pirie .... Mrs. Brewster
Ken Pogue .... Jack Latham
Chris Wiggins .... Mr. Brewster

Directed by
Eric Till

Writing credits
Charles Dickens (story "A Christmas Carol")
Jerome Coopersmith (screenplay)

7. A Christmas Carol (1984)

    George C. Scott plays Ebenezer Scrooge in the traditional rendition of A Christmas Carol. George C. Scott is great as always. This adaptation is not seen enough on TV. If you come across it on TV, don't pass up on the chance to see this treat.

Trivia Tidbit
    Director Clive Donner was the film editor on Scrooge (1951).


 George C. Scott .... Ebenezer Scrooge
David Warner .... Bob Cratchit
Susannah York .... Mrs. Cratchit
Anthony Walters .... Tiny Tim
Roger Rees .... Fred Holywell/Narrator
Timothy Bateson .... Mr. Fezziwig
Frank Finlay .... Marley's Ghost
Angela Pleasence .... Ghost of Christmas Past
Edward Woodward .... Ghost of Christmas Present
Michael Carter .... Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Directed by
Clive Donner

Writing credits
Roger O. Hirson (screenplay)
Charles Dickens short story

8. Scrooged (1988)

    This is one of my favorite adaptations, partly because I'm a HUGE Bill Murray fan and because it's a comedy version which is rare.
   The story is very unique. It's a story within a story. Frank Cross runs a TV cable network and he planned a live adaptation of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. Frank's childhood wasn't a pleasant and he lost his girlfriend, Claire, so he doesn't appreciate the Christmas spirit. Suddenly Frank finds Claire again and old feelings are awakened. But Frank wants both her and his career at the same time. With the help of the three ghosts of Christmas and Claire's love, Frank realizes he must change.
    Bill Murray is great as Frank Cross, the Scrooge character. Bill plays it sarcastically mean so it's both rude yet funny at the same time. There's an all-star cast of guest stars from Robert Mitchum as Scrooge's boss, Preston Rhinelander, Robert Goulet as himself (Christmas on the Bayou), Mary Lou Retton as herself, Lee Majors as himself (helping Santa fight a war), Buddy Hackett as Scrooge for the TV special, John Houseman as himself (narrator of the TV special), Bob Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk, a worker laid off by Frank, John Glover as Brice Cummings (Frank's new VP), Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present and tons more!
    The ghosts are unique. David Johansen is the Ghost of Christmas Past, a loud-mouthed, cigar puffing taxi driver. He is unforgettable. David Johansen is a former member of the 70s rock group; The New York Dolls and singing under the name Buster Poindexter, he had a big hit with the song "Hot, Hot, Hot." Carol Kane plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. Her unique voice adds to the humor as she kicks Murray in the gonads; she's hilarious! The Ghost of Christmas Future is a tall skeleton with a TV for a face which I also take as sort of a statement on society as well as Frank's network career.
Very good adaptation and deserves a view. The ending is so cheerful in a modern sense and Bill reaches out across being behind a came b interacting with those who were in the theater back in 1988. It ends with the Annie Lennox song "Put A Little Love in Your Heart" which always gets my eyes wet.

Trivia Tidbit
   At the end of the movie, when everybody is singing "Put a little love in your heart", Frank (Bill Murray) says (among many other things): "Feed me, Seymour!" This is a reference to Little Shop of Horrors (1986), in which Murray has a small part.
When The Ghost of Christmas Present first appears in the movie, she says to Frank Cross, "I'm a little muddled." This is a direct quote from Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939) when she first meets Dorothy in Munchkinland.
    All of Bill Murray's brothers - John Murray, Joel Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray - make appearances in this film.

 Bill Murray .... Frank Cross
Karen Allen .... Claire Phillips
John Forsythe .... Lew Hayward
John Glover .... Brice Cummings
David Johansen .... Ghost of Christmas Past
Carol Kane .... Ghost of Christmas Present
Robert Mitchum .... Preston Rhinelander
John Murray .... James Cross
Pat McCormick .... Ghost of Christmas Present (TV)
Brian Doyle-Murray .... Earl Cross rray)
Chaz Conner .... Ghost of Christmas Future (TV)

Directed by
Richard Donner

Writing credits
Mitch Glazer (written by) &
Michael O'Donoghue (written by)
Charles Dickens (novel A Christmas Carol) (suggestion)

9. A Christmas Carol (1999)

    This was a TNT/Hallmark TV movie. It seems that many do not like Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge but I liked him. Most say he seemed too mean-tempered but I felt the opposite. I thought his meanness just didn't seem believable at times. But I still thought he did fine. I also feel that this movie stayed truer to the novel than most of movies.
Worth a view!

Trivia Tidbit
    Is the first Christmas Carol to incorporate computer-generated graphics. These are used most effectively in the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge on a whirlwind visit to a lighthouse, a ship at sea, and a group of miners.

Patrick Stewart .... Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge
Richard E. Grant .... Bob Cratchit
Saskia Reeves .... Mrs. Cratchit
Ben Tibber .... Tiny Tim
Dominic West .... Fred (Scrooge's nephew)
Michael Green .... Eli Fezziwig
Bernard Lloyd .... Marley's Ghost
Desmond Barrit .... The Ghost of Christmas Present
Joel Grey .... The Ghost of Christmas Past
Tim Potter .... The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Directed by
David Hugh Jones (as David Jones)

Writing credits
Charles Dickens (short story)
Peter Barnes (teleplay)

10. Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)

   A Christmas Carol is a 2009 film written and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens story of the same name and stars Jim Carrey in a multitude of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge.
   The 3-D film was produced through the process of performance capture, a technique Zemeckis previously used in his films The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007).
A Christmas Carol began filming in February 2008, and was released on November 3, 2009 by Walt Disney Pictures.  It received its world premiere in London, coinciding with the switching on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights, which in 2009 had a Dickens theme.
   This is one of my favorite renditions and it's keeping true to the original version of the book by Charles Dickens. I really like the performance capture technique.

Trivia Tidbits
   The film was released in Disney Digital 3-D and was the first Disney movie in IMAX 3-D. It is also Disney's third film retelling of A Christmas Carol following 1983's Mickey's Christmas Carol and 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol.


Jim Carrey as:
  • Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted, tight fisted, greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things which engender happiness.
  • Ghost of Christmas Past, the first of the three spirits that haunt Scrooge in order to prompt him to repent. He is depicted as a young, androgynous human with a waxy, candle-like body and a flickering flame for a head, who speaks in a dreamy, slow voice with an Irish accent, and sways about.
  • Ghost of Christmas Present, the second of the three spirits. He is depicted as a large, jolly man with red hair, a full beard, and a green ermine robe who ages rapidly while he is with Scrooge. He has a tendency to laugh heartily, even as he dies, and carries the sins of Ignorance and Want upon his person, in the forms of horrifying, savage children.
  • Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the third of the three spirits. It is depicted as a large shadow in the shape of the Grim Reaper cast across the ground or a wall, and occasionally emerges into three dimensions to point at something or to chase Scrooge in a large, shadow-like horse carriage.
Robin Wright Penn as:
  • Belle, Scrooge's neglected fiancée.
  • Fan Scrooge, Scrooge's late sister, who died prematurely after giving birth to Scrooge's nephew, Fred.
Gary Oldman as:
  • Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's abused, underpaid clerk.
  • Jacob Marley, Scrooge's former business partner.
  • Tiny Tim, Cratchit's youngest son. His voice is provided by Ryan Ochoa.
Colin Firth as Fred, Scrooge's optimistic nephew and only living relative.
Cary Elwes as:
  • Dick Wilkins, Scrooge's old roommate.
  • Mad Fiddler
  • Businessman #1
  • Portly Gentleman #1, a man who requests from Scrooge a donation to those less fortunate.
  • Destitute Man #2
Bob Hoskins as:
  • Mr. Fezziwig, the proprietor of a warehouse business for whom Scrooge worked as an apprentice.
  • Old Joe, a fence who buys the belongings of the deceased Scrooge from Scrooge's old maid.
Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs. Dilber.
Molly C. Quinn as Belinda Cratchit, Bob Cratchit's wife.
Ron Bottitta as:
  • Tattered Caroler
  • Well-Dressed Caroler
Directed by
Robert Zemeckis

Written by
Robert Zemeckis
A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens


   The 2011 running of the annual Glenbeigh Horse and Pony Races will take place on Rossbeigh Strand from Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th September. The races will be the centrepiece of a weekend festival. This years live band is the world renowned DEUCES WILD who will take to the stage on Saturday Night. Race dance music on the Sunday night is in “Linda Ryan’s”. The local pubs of the area are also playing their part, with fantastic nightly entertainment in “The Towers Hotel”, “Ashes Bar”, “The Red Fox Inn, and “Linda Ryan’s”. The Opening ceremony will be held on the Friday night with the inauguration of the Festival Queen. This year we will decide on the festival queen at the Red Fox Inn on the opening night.


   The Glenbeigh Races were first held on Rossbeigh Strand in 1924. However this was to prove to be a costly venture as the local Garda Sergeant, a Mr. Scannell summonsed the organisers to court for their failure to have the required permit. The four people summonsed were:

Diarmuid O’Sullivan (grandfather of Peadar, current Race Committee Joint Treasurer)
Tom Cahill of Droum
Pat Morris of Mountain Stage (the then proprietor of the shop in Mountain Stage)
Tom Jones, then a local school teacher

   For this they were fined £80, a huge sum of money then, later reduced to £20, still a considerable amount of money. Coming close to the ending of the divisive Civil War one can speculate that there might have been differing attitudes to the legitimacy of the administration of the legal remit involved. Needless to say, having suffered such penal penalties there were no further attempts to host the races for quite a while.
   It wasn’t until 1957, that another attempt was made to host racing in Glenbeigh.

Amongst the organisers were Patrick Clifford and Johnny O’Mahony, and they are still today active and involved the organisation of Glenbeigh Races. Over the next number of years, Glenbeigh began to become established as a holiday location, helped by the growing international reputation of the Towers Hotel, and the races held in late July / Early August grew to be the centrepiece of a festival that stretched to over ten days. Indeed, the hotel proprietor at that time, the larger than life Ernie Evans used to host a party in his house at Rossbeigh on raceday which became the place to be for those who perceived themselves to be “celebs”.
   Initially a one day event, the Glenbeigh Races became a two-day meeting before reverting back to one day. One year, the organisers even attempted to host jump-racing, but this proved to be a disaster as horses cannot get enough grip on the hard sand of Rossbeigh to enable them to jump properly, and all that resulted was a series of

refusals, unseated riders and horses running out. Another less than successful innovation was the introduction of Sulky Racing (Trotting Races where the horses pulled a small lightweight cart or gig, also known as Standardbred Racing). While the surface was in this case ideal, the public were not interested and despite the popularity of this sport in West Cork, the experiment in Glenbeigh was abandoned. However by the mid 1970’s interest in the Glenbeigh Races was dwindling, largely brought about by the small number of horses participating, and the uncompetitiveness of the racing. In what was to prove to have disastrous consequences, there were no races held in 1978, so when racing was scheduled for 1979, the Public Liability Insurance Premium jumped to £9000 – because no premium was paid in 1978, a new policy was required, and the old rate was lost. For that year the London-Glenbeigh Association paid the premium, but with such unsustainable costs for Public Liability Insurance, the races ceased.

   In 1996 the Glenbeigh Races were resurrected following the negotiation of an umbrella insurance policy that enabled all Horse and Pony Racing throughout the country to avail of Public Liability Insurance at reasonable cost. Under the guidance of people such as Pat and Joan Griffin, Johnny O’Mahony, Patrick Clifford, Paddy Finn and Brendan Sweeney, and backed by the very generous sponsorship of many benefactors, the races grew from the initial one day, to become a two day meeting. Glenbeigh Races is now one of the biggest race meetings on the Horse and Pony Racing Calendar


-Friday night, Sept 2nd, commencing at 6pm in Glenbeigh VillageTerrier dog racing, Fancy Dress, Bouncy Castles, Face Painting, Ladies and gents tug of war, sheaf throwing and Back by popular demand the Donkey Derby.

-Friday night, Sept 2nd, commencing at 10pm at The Red Fox Inn
Official opening of the Glenbeigh Festival by President Dan Tim O'Sullivan and the handing over of the chain of office to the New President. Inauguration of the Festival Queen 2010. Live music and exemption.

-Saturday, Sept 3rd from 2pm
Races at Rossbeigh Beach starting at 2pm SHARP.

-Saturday, Sept 3rd from 6pm
A festival Barbecue at the Glenbeigh Hotel Beer Garden with live music by 'The Train Wrecks' from 6pm.

-Saturday, Sept 3rd from 9.30pm
Live Music on the main stage, Glenbeigh Villageby Wallop the Cat commencing at 9.30pm. The main act will be DEUCES WILD starting at 11.30pm

-Sunday, Sept 4th at Rossbeigh Beach
Races at Rossbeigh Beach starting at 2.30pm SHARP. Best Dressed Lady Award. Best Dressed Gentleman Award. All participants to receive champagne reception. Major Prizes for winners!!

-Sunday, Sept 4th from 5pm-7pm
Music jamming session in village.

-Sunday, Sept 4th from 7pm-9pm
Music in Ashes Bar, The village by Colcannon from 7-9pm.

-Sunday, Sept 4th commencing at 11pm
Races dance and exemption. Race Dance will take place in Sweeny's Village Pub with live music by 'The Millsiders'... 'til late!


  • Because the movie Halloween (1978) was on such a tight budget, they had to use the cheapest mask they could find for the character Michael Meyers, which turned out to be a William Shatner Star Trek mask. Shatner initially didn’t know the mask was in his likeness, but when he found out years later, he said he was honored.

  • The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.

  • Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.

  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

  •  Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

  • Fifty percent of kids prefer to receive chocolate candy for Halloween, compared with 24% who prefer non-chocolate candy and 10% who preferred gum.

  • The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl's call meant someone was about to die.

  • According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.

  • The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin.

  • Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world’s fastest pumpkin carving time: 24.03 seconds, smashing his previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth.

  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

  • “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.

  • The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada.

  • “Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1. In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.

  • Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.

  •   Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.

  • With their link to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (a precursor to Halloween) and later to witches, cats have a permanent place in Halloween folklore. During the ancient celebration of Samhain, Druids were said to throw cats into a fire, often in wicker cages, as part of divination proceedings.

  • Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.

  • Halloween has variously been called All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Samhaim, and Summer’s End.

  • Halloween was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time. In fact, in the past, Halloween has been called San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night.

  • Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.

  • Because Protestant England did not believe in Catholic saints, the rituals traditionally associated with Hallowmas (or Halloween) became associated with Guy Fawkes Night. England declared November 5th Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the capture and execution of Guy Fawkes, who co-conspired to blow up the Parliament in 1605 in order to restore a Catholic king.

  • Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was one of the most famous and mysterious magicians who ever lived. Strangely enough, he died in 1926 on Halloween night as a result of appendicitis brought on by three stomach punches.

  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.

  • Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) on the Christian holidays All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) instead of Halloween. The townspeople dress up like ghouls and parade down the street.

  • During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druid priests would throw the bones of cattle into the flames and, hence, “bone fire” became “bonfire.”

  • Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.

  •   The National Retail Federation expects consumers in 2010 to spend $66.28 per person—which would be a total of approximately $5.8 billion—on Halloween costumes, cards, and candy. That’s up from $56.31 in 2009 and brings spending back to 2008 levels.

  • According to the National Retail Federation, 40.1% of those surveyed plan to wear a Halloween costume in 2010. In 2009, it was 33.4%. Thirty-three percent will throw or attend a party.

  • In 2010, 72.2% of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation will hand out candy, 46.3% will carve a pumpkin, 20.8% will visit a haunted house, and 11.5% will dress up their pets.

  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.

  • In 1970, a five-year-old boy Kevin Toston allegedly ate Halloween candy laced with heroin. Investigators later discovered the heroin belonged to the boy’s uncle and was not intended for a Halloween candy.

  • In 1974, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died of cyanide poisoning after eating Halloween candy. Investigators later learned that his father had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on each of his children and that he had poisoned his own son and also attempted to poison his daughter.

  • Teng Chieh or the Lantern Festival is one Halloween festival in China. Lanterns shaped like dragons and other animals are hung around houses and streets to help guide the spirits back to their earthly homes. To honor their deceased loved ones, family members leave food and water by the portraits of their ancestors.

  • Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong are known as Yue Lan or the “Festival of the Hungry Ghosts” during which fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.

  • Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world.

  • Boston, Massachusetts, holds the record for the most Jack O’Lanterns lit at once (30,128).

  • The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.

  • In many countries, such as France and Australia, Halloween is seen as an unwanted and overly commercial American influence.

  • Children are more than twice as likely to be killed in a pedestrian/car accident on Halloween than on any other night.


   The Bognor Birdman event first started on the South coast of Britain in Selsey in 1971, where a prize was given for anyone who could fly the grand distance of 50 yards. Nobody managed it! After a few years the event started to attract quite a crowd and in 1978 the term Bognor Birdman was coined when the event moved to its present location in Bognor Regis. Why Bognor Regis is open to debate - perhaps it was some forward thinking person at the local council - perhaps it's because the sea has a strong incoming tide to help bring people back to the beach, perhaps it is because one of the original competitors came from Bognor, it certainly isn't because it is an easy place to get to. Anyway, the event has evolved and gets ever more popular. Every year a collection of brave daring men and women dress up in bizarre outfits and become Bognor Birdmen. They compete against one another by trying to fly through the air the furthest. Some people would say that they are just a bunch of adventurous nutters who jump off the end of a pier and end up getting cold and wet when they land in the sea. Either way, it's a fun event which benefits a number of good causes.

Bognor Birdmen

   The event gets bigger and bigger every year so much now that the, ahem, "organisers" at the ludicrously named Arun District Council restrict the numbers of Birdmen taking part! However local government workers cannot stop people having fun. Today the birdmen of Bognor event is very popular and has a tremendous following with many nationalities taking part and the whole event attracts media interest from all around the world. Many spectators go along for a day out in the sunshine and take great pleasure in seeing people jump off a pier. The spectators also witness a number of 'professionals' who make quite an effort at seriously trying to fly! These brave souls are normally unhitched extreme sports types and/or experienced hang gliding types who generally don't mind having their hang glider get trashed when it crashes into the sea!

   The Bognor Birdmen event also attracts serious international competitors and in 1984 German Harold Zimmer flew 57.8 metres and walked away with £10,000 so it's not all totally batty! In fact, during the 1980s the event was dominated by the Germans and by 1990 the record stood at an incredible 71 metres. Also in 1990 the Germans took 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.
These days if anyone "flies" 100 metres, the prize is a cool £25,000 - about 40,000 US Dollars !
   Although Carl Christensen made a valiant attempt in 1999, and won the prize for best fancy dressed Bognor Birdman, but his magic flying carpet stalled so he did not fly too far - something like 5 metres, so he was some way short of the record distance. The current unbroken record which stands at a staggering 89.2 metres, was set in 1992 by a local lad, Dave Bradshaw.

International Birdman 2010

   Bognor Birdman 2010 could be the biggest ever, and lets hope the local Arun District council do not try and wiggle out of staging the event, as they did in 2008 and 2009, handing the event to Worthing, citing ludicrous PC elf and safety excuses. As the popularity of the event has spread, more people want to come and watch and see who will be the crowned best International Birdman 2010. Of course, everyone who takes part will have fun, and as the cliché goes, everyone will be a winner atthe 2010 event. The day will as always be popular for the spectators, the competitors, their friends and families. Maybe if the council get their act together they could stage a successful Birdman 2011, but don't hold your breath. They seem to forget Bognor is more famous for its Birdman competition than it is for anything else, including the local Butlins.
   The event has now got so popular, it has gone international, with competitors from many different countries eager to take part and entertain the crowds which often number up to 25,000. Most of the International Birdmen will be jumping trying to raise money for charity. Every year feathers fly as birdmen from around the world compete for the title of International Birdman. There have been all sorts of   

International Birdman entries over the years including a flying tardis from Dr Who, a skateboarding cow and even a chicken and mushroom pie. Historical note - the first Birdman competitors were not international - as competitors such as Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and a naked man called John were all British, but now International Bognor Birdmen come from throughout the world.

Bognor Birdman Competition

   If you are considering being a competitor, please bear in mind it isn't really a competition in the normal sense of the word. Sure there will be a winner, so it is a competition, but very few of the people who take part are truly competitive when it comes to wanting to win the event. Most people taking part in the Bognor Birdman competition are well meaning folks, trying to do their bit for charirty, and have no intention of winning the competition. They are doing it primarily for fun. That is not to say that people taking part are not competitive, it's more that they are fun loving nutters.

   Although the event is now very popular, the fun is in watching all sorts of people who come to Bognor for the event. The competitors are a right mix, and there is generally a Batman or a Superman there each year. Amongst the many foolhardy folks there, you may find a green magic dragon whose wings misfunction, a fun loving chap with a flying carpet that stalls, a nutter who is the spitting image of Dracula, whose cape mysteriously fails to open, a crazy American  with a beak and a three inch propellor on his head, or maybe an alien from the planet Zarg whose alien antennas do not give him the lift he expected.
   One or two souls are semi-serious and take part in hang glider-esque contraptions. One man, Ron Freeman does such a thing year after year, and each year his aircraft, as he lovingly refers to his battered old hang glider, needs serious repair work. Good for Ron though to take part - most serious hang gliders won't put their gliders anywhere near the competition for fear of personal ridicule and damage to their flying machine. Look around this Bognor Birdman site and you will get a feel for the kind of nutters who have been Bognor Birdmen in the past. These are just a few

Bognor Birdman pictures. As you can see some Bognor Birdmen are nutters, some are serious, but it's a fun day out for all who take part, and their friends.
   If you are the kind of person who is interested in flying through the air with big pants and string then maybe you would like to find out more about Online Dating. It works, as does speed dating - and most attendees are generally people who enjoy themselves so at least that's one thing Speeddating afficianados have in common with Bognor Birdmen! Maybe you should give it a go.