All fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas know that the film begins with a few words of rhyme: “’Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems/in a place that perhaps you have seen in your dreams…” This is fitting because Burton’s inspiration for the entire project was a full parody he wrote of The Night Before Christmas.
But did you know that opening rhyme was longer at first? Those who have the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack get a special treat: Patrick Stewart reading the opening monologue, and then another to close out the tale. And they sort of make the movie perfect.
Here’s is the opening monologue, which extends beyond the first lines of the film, setting up the world a little more clearly….
And then the best part, the closing monologue:
While the movie does end beautifully just as it is, the final monologue puts the whole adventure in such lovely perspective, particularly on those last lines—
And I asked old Jack, do you remember the night
When the sky was so dark, and the moon shone so bright?
When a million small children pretending to sleep
Nearly didn’t have Christmas at all, so to speak?
And would, if you could, turn that mighty clock back
To that long fateful night—now think carefully, Jack!
Would you do the whole thing all over again,
Knowing what you know now, knowing what you knew then?
And he smiled like the old Pumpkin King that I knew,
Then turned and asked softly of me… “Wouldn’t you?”
Which is really the moral of the story condensed down to its purest form. No matter how terrible the whole ordeal seemed at the time, Jack’s journey to rediscover himself left everyone better for it. So when something is missing, seek out your bliss—you might discover everything you wanted wasn’t quite so far away.
Super secret extra bonus: Patrick Stewart reading Tim Burton’s original Nightmare Before Christmas poem—which features only Jack, Zero, and Sandy Claus as named characters.