Ghost of Christmas Past: Betty White in the Christmas episode of Golden Palace. In the holiday episode of this short-lived Golden Girls spin-off, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia appear as ghosts to bring the holiday spirit to their cook Chuy. Rose, appearing in veil and halo, briefly confuses Christmas dreams with wet dreams before escorting Chuy first into his bathroom and then into his past, where it’s revealed that Chuy’s hatred of the holiday stems from his father’s making him dress as a giant Navidad cake.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Carol Kane in Scrooged. Bill Murray’s yuppie Dickens update frequently sags, but never when Kane is on screen beating the hell out of the TV executive who’s forgotten how to love.
Ghost of Christmas Future: Guthrie Theater, 2010-2012. If you like your Ghosts of Christmas Future to be pants-fillingly terrifying, the dramatic first appearance of this spirit—a giant crow-like prop dropping suddenly from the ceiling with a shuddering gong strike—will not disappoint.
Bob Cratchit: Kermit the Frog, The Muppet Christmas Carol. Is there any Cratchit more touching than Kermie, trotting down the street on his little Muppet legs?
Nephew Fred: Joe Gabler, St. Mark’s School ca. 1997. I’m sorry that most of you didn’t get to see my little brother playing Scrooge’s merry nephew, but those of you who caught him in Ivory Tower Burning can imagine the defiantly sunny impression he made bursting into his uncle’s dank office.
Jacob Marley: Steven Epp, Guthrie Theater, 2009. The Jeune Lune alumnus brought great physical presence and a menacing moral rectitude to the Guthrie’s last production of Barbara Field’s script.
Ebenezer Scrooge: Patrick Stewart. The actor best known as Captain Picard and Charles Xavier has a close relationship with A Christmas Carol: for decades he’s performed a one-man adaptation of the story on stage. His solo version is available on audio, and he can be seen as Scrooge in a fine 1999 TNT movie that’s now available on DVD. He’s pitch-perfect throughout: stony at the beginning, then slowly cracking as the ghosts visit, and finally breaking into possibly the only Scrooge laugh that will make you laugh too—maybe even cry.
Tiny Tim: Gary Coleman in The Simpsons, 1999. “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, every one!”