Muppet Christmas Carol “When Love is Gone” Version Coming to Disney+ for 30th Anniversary!
One highlight of the 2022 D23 Expo was “Magic in the Air: 30 Years of The Muppet Christmas Carol.” In this post, we’ll share photos from the panel, news about the full version of the film including “When Love is Gone,” and more.
The panel was moderated by Nina West, who was joined by director Brian Henson, core Muppet performer Dave Goelz (who plays Gonzo/Charles Dickens), Oscar-winning songwriter Paul Williams, and costume designer for the film Polly Smith. It was a distinctly festive presentation–a salute to all holiday films, but mostly Muppet Christmas Carol.
Let’s not bury the lede: the big news out of the Muppet Christmas Carol 30th Anniversary panel is that the full version of the film including “When Love is Gone” will be available on Disney+ starting December 11, 2022. Brian Henson revealed this news on stage, suggesting that the this version of Muppet Christmas Carol would be available under extras as an extended version.
Brian Henson also shared the story of how “When Love is Gone” was cut from the film in the first place. He explained that Jeffrey Katzenberg was the one who had the scene cut, saying it was too emotional and adult for little kids to stay connected to the film. Katzenberg had indicated that, despite strong audience scores in screenings, he had seen kids disengaged during the song and wanted it removed for the theatrical run.
According to Henson, the two agreed that the song could be removed for the theatrical run but would be immediately restored thereafter for every home release. Henson was okay with this arrangement because Katzenberg had been a strong advocate for the film and since most people would see the movie at home anyway.
Henson said that when they cut the film, they first made a version for home video using the prevailing standards for British television at the time. After that, they removed “When Love is Gone” and made the theatrical version from that. Unfortunately, as the high definition era started, there was not 1080 (or higher) cut of the film. Disney wanted a high def version, so they went back to make a new cut.
According to Henson, Disney could not track down the “When Love is Gone” footage. He said that he was given multiple reassurances that it wasn’t lost–that where the footage was stored was a high-security Technicolor facility and it had to be somewhere. He gave Disney credit, saying they had two people tasked with finding the footage–but they never had any luck for years and years.
Henson continued, “almost two full years ago–and you’ll notice I’m emphasizing that–they told me they finally found it.” He continued to clarify that what they found wasn’t technically the original film negative, but a secondary reproduction of that. (I’m sorry, I don’t recall the precise term used.)
We reported on this almost two years ago when Henson shared on BBC Radio 2 that “When Love is Gone,” had been found by Disney and would soon be reinstated. At that time, Director Brian Henson had recently received a call from Disney telling him the film was being remastered in 4K and he was asked to approve the new version.
Upon reviewing the reels two years ago, Henson was surprised to see the original song restored: “I was like, ‘No, you did not!’ and they said, ‘Yes we did! We found it!’ I was so happy, I was so happy. They are all set with the full-length version again. I don’t know if they are going to get it up on Disney+ in time for Christmas…but it is coming back, the full-length version is coming back.”
As Henson reiterated during this panel, all of that was nearly two full years ago.
In case you missed the #1 title on our Best Disney Christmas Movies List or haven’t noticed this blog’s incessant hyping of all things Muppets at Walt Disney World, we’re huge fans. To my recollection, I’ve actually never seen the original cut of the movie–I cannot wait to see anew this Christmas classic that I’ve watched (literally) more than any other film. This is really great news!
The rest of the Muppet Christmas Carol 30th Anniversary panel was awesome. There were some really great anecdotes shared by Brian Henson, Dave Goelz, Polly Smith, and Paul Williams. I’d share some here, but Disney had a lot of cameras filming the presentation–suggesting it’ll (hopefully) be released online, or maybe even Disney+, soon. Anyway, I’ll leave you with some additional photos…
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What do you think of Disney+ restoring “When Love is Gone” for the 30th Anniversary of Muppet Christmas Carol? Will you be watching the extended edition or the theatrical cut this Christmas? Agree or disagree that Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the best holiday films of all time? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!
i’ll probably have my muppet fan card revoked for this, but…
i was one of thsoe kids who would fast-forward through the song on vhs, and as an adult i haven’t missed it when watching the dvd. we prefer widescreen films to standard, so the dvd gives the option and we choose widescreen with the song missing instead of standard screen with the song.
Never really was a Muppets fan but I have caught your enthusiasm through your blogs ( now a big fan of Muppets thing at DHS) have never seen this Muppet movie but looking forward to seeing it – and a few other muppet movies – so thanks for converting me
I had a version of the film on VHS and had to upgrade to DVD years ago – was devastated to find the song missing but had no VHS player anymore so couldn’t go back. I have waited for the original – full – version to be available for about 15 years now. It is not right without it. I actually cannot wait – and hope I can buy it on DVD as well so I never ‘lose’ it again. I am beyond happy about this – my favourite Christmas film ever!
I must be forth right and say it has been a Christmas tradition to watch the movie on x mas eve but after we open presents(Grandma’s). So it’s always started at 9pm and so when the song starts we usually hit the skip button. Our copy I burned from our original VHS tape. We also skip the depressing scene with the spider gathering inventory for what I assume at the time was stocking the muppets pier one imports. It cuts run time down to a little over an hour. So my 5& 3 year old can get to bed. Yes still the best x mas movie since it’s a wonderful life.
Any news concerning Epcot’s Candlelight since the American Theatre caught fire this past week?
I swear that I have a DVD version with the full uncut song on it! I distinctly remember mentally comparing it to the ending version, The Love We Found, sung by Michael Caine’s Scrooge and the Muppets. The cut song was during younger Scrooge and his fiancee breaking apart, iirc.
It’s a specific release of the dvd I had to hunt down when I let go of my vhs. But its under settings and you have to choose full screen over wide screen to have the full version.
I own a version with the song When love is Gone. First off it may be the best song in the film. Second and most importantly the film makes little sense without it. You need that portion of the story to understand Scrooge and for his redemption and transformation to make sense.
Excellent film but NOT even close to the best Christmas film. Not even the best version of a Christmas Carol though certainly the best humorous version. Sorry Bill Murray.
What is the best version of a Christmas Carol, in your opinion?
It was a fantastic panel. That finale with the penguins was perfect.
Thank you for sharing your experience (and photos).
I usually watch this movie as my first Christmas movie of the year (some time in November) ;).
I have actually seen that song done before. I think it was on some sort of special feature on a VHS or something like that. But I have never seen it since so good to see the full thing is coming out. Love it love it love it.
Hands down the best Christmas movie ever!
This is the best Christmas movie! I dont know the aknv, but I’m glad its being restored.