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Bah, humbug! Fred Hitch as Scrooge, 1926

Christmas Scrooge, 1926.

From this 1926 publicity still we’d have to say Bloomington’s Fred Hitch captured the essence of the character Charles Dickens described as a “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” From the mid-1920s into the 1990s, the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts) staged a version of the “A Christmas Carol.”

This adaptation of the Dickens’ classic was one in a series of ambitious theatrical productions created by Delmar D. Darrah. The late Bloomington Masonic leader and theater impresario is best known for “The American Passion Play,” which holds its 93rd consecutive season in the spring of 2016 (Fred Hitch played the Passion Play’s Jesus for many years). Back in 1926, performances of Darrah’s “A Christmas Carol,” featuring an impressive cast of 150 actors and extras, were held Dec. 12, 17, and 19.

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

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