Here’s some excellent news if you were one of the kids who watched their VHS copy of 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol so many times that it eventually stopped working. That song — you know, the really sad one — is in the process of being added to the movie after being unceremoniously cut. For those of you who are unaware of this holiday classic, one of the movie’s most touching scenes was only featured on the VHS version of the film and was cut from the theatrical release. The scene features the song “When Love Is Gone,” and it follows Scrooge (Michael Caine) as he watches his fiancée Belle (Meredith Braun) sing to Scrooge’s younger self (Ray Coulthard) as she realizes he no longer loves her. It’s essentially a breakup scene that explains the origin of Scrooge transitioning from a (somewhat) regular guy to a grumpy and coldhearted man, and as any true Muppet Christmas Carol fan will argue, the movie is incomplete without it.
According to BBC News, Muppet Christmas Carol director Brian Henson told BBC Radio 2 that he recently reviewed the movie while it was being remastered in 4K, and a big surprise was waiting for him: the scene, which had allegedly been lost during the editing phase for the theatrical release, had been found. “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 said. “I was like, ‘No, you did not!’ and they said, ‘Yes we did! We found it!’ I was so happy, I was so happy.”
While the scene was cut from the theatrical release, Henson very much wanted it to be included. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in November, Henson explained that Jeffrey Katzenberg (yes, the Quibi one, who was then in charge of Disney) was the one who had the scene cut. “He’s like, ‘It’s just a little too adult-emotional for little kids to stay connected,’” Henson recalled Katzenberg saying, adding that the film “certainly plays well without the song, but I obviously preferred having the song in. I think it’s good for kids to be pulled into deeply emotional moments, even if they feel slightly awkward about it when they’re in a movie theater.” According to Henson, Disney lost the original footage soon after, but efforts have been made to recover it. “For years and years, I’d call them every six months and see how they were doing. And they actually even put together a team and a little budget to try to find it, and they still couldn’t,” he told EW. “It’s very frustrating.”
Thankfully, that persistence has paid off. It’s unclear, however, if the good version of The Muppet Christmas Carol will be available to view on Disney+ in time for the holidays. Disney wouldn’t comment on the story to BBC News, but Henson told BBC Radio 2 that “they can do it but they are going to have to scramble to do it in time.” Considering how long Henson and Muppet Christmas Carol fans have been waiting for this wrong to be made right, we think Disney owes us that scramble.