Scrooge McDuck is a character created by Disney comic book writer/artist Carl Barks in 1947 for a Donald Duck comic book story titled "Christmas on Bear Mountain". He is Donald's elderly and curmudgeonly, but also adventurous, uncle who has amassed so much wealth in his globe-trotting adventures that he is the richest duck in the world. As his name and personality suggest, he is based on the character of Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Originally creating Scrooge as a one-shot antagonist, Barks saw much potential in Scrooge and made him a regular character in the Donald Duck comics, to the point that he eventually got his own comic series in 1952. In animation, Scrooge first showed up in the intro sequence to The Mickey Mouse Club and then starred in a featurette titled Scrooge McDuck and Money, but he would be most prominently featured in DuckTales, a syndicated cartoon series based loosely off of Barks' stories (ironically, it never had a Christmas episode).
Appearances in Christmas specials
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Appropriately enough, the first animated Christmas special to feature Scrooge was Mickey's Christmas Carol, the 1983 animated adaptation of the very story that inspired the character. As with the 1974 record album An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players, the short had Scrooge portraying the role of his miserly namesake. As in the original story, Scrooge is a greedy miser who does not care about his fellow man, poorly paying his clerk, Bob Cratchit (played by Mickey Mouse), and refusing a dinner invite from his nephew, Fred (played by Donald). After receiving a warning on Christmas Eve from the ghost of his deceased partner Jacob Marley (Goofy), Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Jiminy Cricket), Present (Willie the Giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk) and Future (Pete), who show him the errors of his ways. The original album was co-written by Alan Young, who also provided Scrooge's voice. When Disney adapted the album as Mickey's Christmas Carol, Young auditioned for the role (as Disney didn't think he had wanted to reprise it), and with few exceptions, remained Scrooge's official voice for the next 33 years.
In Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Scrooge appears prominently in the "Stuck on Christmas" segment starring his grandnephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Scrooge pays a visit to Donald and his nephews on Christmas Day, which then becomes every day as a result of the boys wishing that it were Christmas every day. Scrooge leads the family in singing Christmas carols after dinner, and when Huey, Dewey and Louie pull a series of pranks that result in the piano getting demolished (among other things), Scrooge is dismayed that they cannot sing carols now. The next repeat day, the boys make it the best Christmas ever, even singing the carols with Scrooge.
Scrooge appears again in Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, appearing in the segment "Christmas: Impossible". Here, he invites Donald, Daisy, and the nephews to his mansion for the season. However, after Huey, Dewey, and Louie misbehave on Christmas Eve, Scrooge warns them that they won't get any Christmas presents if they're naughty, telling them that he acted that way as a kid and never got to be on Santa Claus' nice list. This leads to the boys traveling to the North Pole to put their names on the nice list themselves. In the end, however, they instead put Scrooge's name on Santa's nice list. On Christmas morning, thanks to the nephews' compassion, Scrooge finally gets what he always wanted for Christmas - a pair of bagpipes. Later, in the last segment, "Mickey's Dog-Gone Christmas", Scrooge purchases a snow plow company to help search for Pluto after he goes missing. After Mickey and Pluto are reunited at the end of the story, Scrooge joins them and their friends to sing the closing medley.
Television specials and episodes
The first made-for-television Christmas special to feature an appearance by Scrooge, A Magic Kingdom Yuletide Special, marked one of his earliest known appearances in "live" form. This special finds Scrooge playing a very similar role to his previous Christmas film, in that he continually expresses disdain for Christmas while the other characters are celebrating, and when Goofy (as Santa Claus) sings about Christmas being his favorite day, Scrooge interjects about his favorite days (payday and December 26th). Eventually, though, Mickey presents Scrooge with a gift from Goofy/Santa, and upon opening said present, Scrooge suddenly feels a lot more joyous and decides to join Mickey and his friends for Christmas dinner.
Although the original DuckTales TV series never had a proper Christmas episode, there was a specially-made Christmas-themed piece of promotional animation aired in commercials during the Disney Afternoon's second season, set at Scrooge's mansion, in which he has apparently invited the stars of Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin over for Christmas. However, Scrooge himself only appears at the very end of this particular promo.
Scrooge makes a very brief cameo in the Mickey Mouse Works short "Mickey's Christmas Chaos"; while battling with Mortimer Mouse over decorating their houses for the annual decorating contest, Mickey gets Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, and Louie to stand as carolers in front of his house.
The extended Mickey Mouse Shorts episode "Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special" notably marked Scrooge's first animated appearance in which he was voiced by John Kassir (following the death of Alan Young). In this special, Scrooge and the rest of the Ducks migrate to Florida for winter, but he soon finds himself worrying about Donald, who decided to stay behind in Mouseton for Christmas. After learning how deathly ill his nephew is becoming due to the cold northern weather (even though he has never had such a problem in any previous or subsequent Christmas specials), Scrooge and the rest of the family prepare to drive back to Mouseton to pick up Donald right when Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto crash Santa's sleigh bringing Donald over. At the end of the special, Santa accidentally gives Scrooge a stethoscope meant for Ludwig Von Drake, who got a bag of money, so the two exchange their gifts.
The very next year, Scrooge (as he appeared in the DuckTales reboot) showed up in the stop-motion "Share the Joy" network ID promos that ran on Disney XD for Christmas. In one of the spots, titled "Scrooge's Present", the nephews and Webby Vanderquack say they have a gift for him, despite his assurance that, being the richest duck in the world, he doesn't need one. The kids, however, give him a gift anyway - a visit from Baymax from Big Hero 6, who gives him a hug. In another spot, "Decorating the Tree", Scrooge finds the Amulet of Mallard-Ra in the bag of presents they're supposed to be giving out, and asks if Dewey placed it in there.
Scrooge again has the starring role in "Last Christmas!", the first Christmas episode of the DuckTales reboot. At the beginning of the episode, he at first seems just as petulant about celebrating Christmas as his namesake, and also holds a grudge against Santa. However, as Dewey soon discovers, he actually doesn't hate Christmas at all (aside from his grudge against Santa), and instead enjoys spending the holiday hanging out with a trio of time-traveling ghosts whom he met years ago when they mistook for "some other Scrooge".
Scrooge's most recent Christmas special was the DuckTales reboot's second Christmas episode, "How Santa Stole Christmas!" In it, he is forced to team up with Santa to save Christmas after the latter seemingly injures his leg. The episode reveals through flashbacks that Scrooge (during his days as an unsuccessful coal salesman) and Santa were actually once friends who had gone into business together as "McDuck and Claus Deliveries". The two planned to distribute Santa's gifts by Christmas Day by finding the Feliz Navidiamond, an artifact that could slow down time. They succeeded in this quest, during which they tamed flying reindeer (who later became Santa's sleigh-pulling team) and battled an abominable snowman. However, when Santa suggested that they not monetize their gift-giving operation, Scrooge furiously ended their friendship. Back in the present day, Scrooge gradually finds himself getting along with Santa once again as he assists him, but it's soon revealed that Scrooge has been giving out coal to everyone, believing it to be a more practical gift than the toys Santa gives out and not realizing coal is typically given to bad children. Eventually, Scrooge sees the error of his ways after a little girl named Jennifer makes a doll out of the coal he gave her, and, after getting the rest of the McDuck family to help deliver the gifts, deactivates all of his Santa traps, finally ending his feud against Santa.