The other day I was lucky enough to be chatting with Rockford Jay and the subject of conversation turned to Christmas specials – which is when he asked if I was familiar with Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol. I was quick to explain that not only had I not seen the 1979 retelling of A Christmas Carol but in all honesty I had never even heard of it. I’m not sure what I was doing on the night of December 18th when this originally aired but it certainly was not watching this country music inspired special. As I have shared just recently, my Grandmother and myself were big into the Holidays – it was very rare that we would miss a Christmas special, so I’m not sure what was going on that night. And we only had that one chance apparently as it was aired once and has never been given a home media release of any kind. While I’m not sure of the actual reason of it not seeing the light of day on VHS or Blu-Ray, etc. – I can only assume it has a little something to do with the amount of talent that were featured in the TV movie. Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol starred the likes of Hoyt Axton, Barbara Mandrell, Martha Raye, and Mel Tillis to name just a very few.
Hoyt Axton might be known best to those of a certain generation as Randall Peltzer from 1984’s Gremlins, the well-meaning inventor and the one who is really responsible for the Gremlin outbreak in Kingston Falls. Hoyt was a very well known guitarist and folk singer as well as songwriter – a few of his bigger hits besides “Joy to the World” were “When the Morning Comes”, “Della and the Dealer”, and “Boney Fingers”. His first credited acting job was in 1965 with an episode of the popular Bonanza series but he would go on to appear in the likes I Dream of Jeannie and even WKRP in Cincinnati. Most of those roles, like in the Bonanza episode entitled Dead and Gone allowed him to show off his musical skills.
Now then, Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol is a then modern retelling of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol as I’ve already mentioned – actually I believe in the special you will see a theater marquee advertising 1977’s Smoky and the Bandit. You won’t find the likes of Tiny Tim or Ebenezer Scrooge as this story takes place in the fictional Flint City, Tennessee – instead Hoyt Axton portrays Cyrus Flint, who is a powerful banker. Obviously most of the beats of the well known A Christmas Carol are featured in this made-for-TV special – with the addition of a whole lot of music. Now the sound in the video below is far from the best – but considering Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol was only aired once we should be extremely grateful we can watch it at all… plus there are a few vintage commercials in the mix too.