by SCR Staff
"Was Ever A Scarf So Red?"
Ebenezer Scrooge's whimsical red scarf has become a symbol of A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory, but you won't find any mention of Fred's cozy gift to his uncle in Charles Dickens’ original version. Adapter Jerry Patch added the bright element to the script to offer a visual, tangible symbol of Scrooge's transformation following his visit from the spirits.
"Scrooge doesn’t want the holiday gift from his nephew, so he leaves the gift box at the office,” says Patch. “On Christmas morning, however, the box shows up his bed. He wants to explain it away, but he can't. It's a mini-miracle."
Costume designer Dwight Richard Odle says there were a number of factors to consider when he created the original scarf.
“It could not be too bulky, heavy or difficult to handle,” Odle recalls. “It had to be extra-long in order to wrap and hang properly, but it also had to fold flat to fit within the relatively small prop gift box. And, in order to make an impact, it HAD to be plain, solid bright red.”
Off-the-rack scarves didn’t meet those requirements, so Odle found The Broadway Knitting Mills, in the industrial section of downtown Los Angeles. The company had been established in 1924 to knit men's and women's wool bathing suits—yes, 100% wool! The company did one-of-a-kind, custom projects and worked quickly on the project. It created the special, very intense red color dye and then threaded the wool onto a unique 100-year-old narrow-weave loom. This one-of-a-kind, 12-foot scarf from the original production of A Christmas Carol is still worn today by Hal Landon Jr. as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Red scarves are available for purchase in SCR’s Theatre Gift Shop in the lobby. For those interested in scarf-making, simply use a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn. Plan to use a simple garter stitch to get the DIY project started. Beginning knitters should try an acrylic-blend yarn that isn't too slippery or too "hairy" to the touch.