The first film I ever saw in a movie theater was The Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992. My dad brought my sister and me to see the film because we were both big fans of Jim Henson’s work on Sesame Street and connoisseurs of the Muppet franchise. I had only turned three maybe a month or so before, so I fell asleep during the beginning titles. I remember waking up and still feeling proud of my accomplishment of going to the movie theater with my dad and big sister. The Muppet Christmas Carol would always hold a special place in my heart, especially the worn out VHS we still watch every year at my parents’ house. And, one of the best parts of the movie is the song "When Love Is Gone." And, it turns out, the song has a surprisingly complicated history.
For example, you won't find the song on any of the new releases of the film because it has since been cut from the movie. Brian Henson, who was a producer on the 1992 film, told UPROXX that "'When Love is Gone' was not in the theatrical release, and is presently missing, which is a real shame." He did clarify that it was on the video release, which is why my VHS held the tune. But, you won't find it on streaming services or in newly released editions. According to Digital Spy, there's a pretty simple reason for that. The outlet reported that "Walt Disney Studios' Jeffrey Katzenberg ordered the scene to be removed from the original cinema release, believing that it would not appeal to young children."
But, as a child who saw the film on VHS with the song, I know that it's sad but beautiful. It's pretty much the best '90s movie song you forgot about. Just look at these lyrics:
There was a time when I was sure
That you and I were truly one
That our future was forever
And would never come undone
And we came so close to being close
And Though you cared for me
There's distance in your eyes tonight
So we're not meant to be
The love is gone, the love is gone
“We came so close to being close” is supposed to move the audience, even if it was a little sad. Seeing old Scrooge crying and singing along with his memory of the breakup may be one of the most powerful scenes I ever saw in a movie growing up. Hell, it may be one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen in a movie as an adult. It also doesn’t hurt that “When Love Is Gone” is the only scene in the entire movie where a human woman (sorry Miss Piggy) has lines. A lot of the music in the film is built around “When Love Is Gone.” The score and the lyrics are reprised throughout the movie. The finale is even called “When Love Is Found.”
I guess I feel so passionate about the song because it was with us '90s kids every Christmas. My sister and I would gather with our family, eat some holiday cookies, and sing along to The Muppet Christmas Carol’s memorable soundtrack. In speaking about the now-missing song, Brian Henson told UPROXX that he remastered the movie a couple of years ago. Henson claims that version has gone missing, but he's hopeful it will show up again in the future.
And, until then, there's always YouTube.
Image: Jim Henson Productions/Walt Disney Pictures