You might have taken time out of your schedule today between opening presents and sipping on some 'nog to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol on Disney+, and if you had seen it in the theater or on VHS as a kid you might have remembered a song that wasn't present in the version currently streaming. "When Love Is Gone," a sequence previously included in some versions of the film but removed from others at the behest of a former Disney executive but luckily for purists, Muppet fans, and frankly audiences everywhere, the full song is set to debut in a newly restored version of the Christmas classic.
Director Brian Henson (son of Jim) revealed the news in a new interview with BBC Radio 2, where he revealed that both the video master and original camera negative for the song had been presumed lost for some time. In a Christmas miracle though, they've both been found as the team was preparing to assemble the remastered version for 4K. Henseon revealed that he was asked to check the new copy of the film to make sure it looked okay, where it was sprung on him that they'd recovered the sequence and put it back into the film.
"I was so excited. They actually hid it... so I went down and they said: 'But before we show it to you, we've got something else we want to show you,'" Henson revealed. "And they put up reel four of Christmas Carol with When Love Is Gone. I was like, 'No, you did not!' and they said, 'Yes we did! We found it!' I was so happy, I was so happy."
He continued, "They are all set with the full-length version again. I don't know if they are going to get it up on Disney Plus in time for Christmas because they have all these processes but it is coming back, the full-length version is coming back."
Henson went on to explain that the reason the song was cut from the theatrical version was executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg (now famous for the implosion of Quibi) believed that the song was "sophisticated emotionally" and kids in the audience wouldn't like it. The director "reluctantly agreed," making a deal to put it back in for the television and home media versions.
The inclusion of "When Love Is Gone" however wasn't in every version of The Muppet Christmas Carol. VHS and Laserdisc copies did feature it but when it came to DVDs only full-screen versions of the film featured the song and eventually that ended up with no DVDs or blu-rays including it in the main cut. "When Love Is Gone" could be found in many bonus features sections for these releases, and can even be seen on Disney+ in the Extras tab. It's unclear when the version of the film that includes the song in its runtime will be available for purchase or streaming but as Cinema Blend theorizes a 2022 release seems likely since that would mark the 30th anniversary of the movie's release.