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 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 intended as a one-shot character, Scrooge proved to be so popular that he made many reappearances since then, eventually replacing Donald as the starring character in Barks' stories. 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
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.
The very next Christmas special to feature Scrooge, A Magic Kingdom Yuletide Special, marked one of Scrooge's earliest 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.
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 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.
Scrooge has a more prominent part 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's 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.
Scrooge appears in Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special, which notably marks the character's first and only animated appearance in which he is 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 missing his nephew, who decided to stay behind in Mouseton for Christmas.