This wonderful Christmas film debuted in 1986, and stars Ed Asner as a mean crook named Horace McNickle who escapes from jail- his partner in crime got off, and he wants revenge. When he escapes, he meets some kids who live in an apartment building who are faced with a grim Christmas. Their parents are struggling financially, and may be evicted if they can't make the rent. The landlord is Rene Auberjonois (Odo from Deep Space Nine), and has a son who is the "bully" played by Zachary Ansley (The Journey of Natty Gan). Asner is following the clues left to him leading to a fortune, and he enlists the children (who have no idea that he is an escape convict- they even think he's Santa!) to help him find it. There is a great scene where Ed is on a train and has a supernatural experience, very Scrooge-like, which changes his life forever.
As the movie progresses, the mean are transformed and all begin to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. I remember watching this on the Wonderful World of Disney which at the time was hosted by Michael Eisner (the current President of Disney). I am delightfully surprised and glad that Disney is releasing this great film on dvd. If you want to see Ed Asner in a role like never before, get this movie in time for the next holiday season. You won't regret it!