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Safety and the movies… The Muppet Christmas Carol!

By Matt King

I haven’t done this for a while, but since the holidays are right around the corner, we at Heads Up thought it was about time for something a little festive, and what better way to celebrate the season than with some safety and a movie.

For today’s edition, we’re taking a look at 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol starring Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, and most importantly, the Great Gonzo as our narrator and guide, Charles Dickens.

If you hadn’t guessed from the title, The Muppet Christmas Carol is based on Dickens’s novella of the same name (minus the Muppet part). It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy man in love with money, who frowns at anything remotely related to Christmas. But on Christmas Eve, as he goes to sleep, he is visited by the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, though in this version, there are two partners, Jacob and Robert Marley. Soon, he is visited by three other spirits, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

While you have probably heard this story before, and maybe even seen this movie, what about the safety of it all? Well, let’s see what the Muppets have to say…

1. Keep the weather outside

Early in the movie, we see Scrooge in his office, a dank, Victorian place with very little warmth, both in its colour palette and temperature. At one point, Kermit – err, sorry, Bob asks if they can turn up the temperature. He is surrounded by a group of shivering rats, all wearing scarves and jackets and those fingertip-less gloves. This is a point of safety – the heat in there is obviously horribly low and it ought to either be turned up or, if there is a problem with the furnace, then another solution needs to be figured out. If neither of these things happens, they could get frostbite or hypothermia or pneumonia. Good on Kermit and his fellow workers for asking.

2. Flying (through space and time) without fall protection?

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

When the first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, visits Scrooge, the first thing they do is fly through the window. The Ghost obviously has some sort of special power and Scrooge is able to fly simply by holding onto her tiny porcelain doll-like hand. But imagine if he were to let go. I’m not even sure what would happen. This is why Scrooge should have fall protection. Maybe a harness with some gear attached to the ghost. That seems like the very least she should provide. If Scrooge fell while they were falling through space and time, he might end up somewhere in those awkward teen years with no way of getting out.

3. Putting out the fire

At one point, Gonzo and Rizzo are sitting on a lantern, with Gonzo lighting all the lamps. Fire, if you didn’t know, is a pretty dangerous substance, and Gonzo and Rizzo learn this quite quickly. Gonzo goes to light the wick but isn’t paying proper attention. He lights Rizzo’s tail instead, to which Rizzo yells, “Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!” As Rizzo screams and hollers, Gonzo analyses his environment and sees a way out. He apologizes ahead of time and pushes Rizzo into a bucket of icy water below. A person should always be aware of his or her environment, but it is especially important when this person is dealing with a dangerous substance like fire. Learn from Gonzo’s mistake.

Well, that’s all for now. Have you seen The Muppet Christmas Carol? What kind of safety notes can you think of? What’s your favourite holiday movie? Anything safety-related in it?

As always, work smart, work safe, and on behalf of the Heads Up team, merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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