June Lockhart started her career in A Christmas Carol alongside her real-life parents

Gene and Kathleen Lockhart were Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit while June played Tiny Tim’s sister, Belinda.

Classic TV fans know June Lockhart for her beloved turns as Ruth Martin in Lassie and Dr. Maureen Robinson in Lost in Space. But her Hollywood career began decades before these famous roles.

June was born in 1925, the only daughter of actors Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. Gene was a prominent stage actor and Juilliard professor who played character roles in many films throughout the 1930s and '40s. Kathleen, who was born in England, had much the same career. She often played aunts and mothers, including Jimmy Stewart's mom in The Glenn Miller Story.

It didn't take long for June to follow in her parents' footsteps. She got her first acting gig at 13, right alongside mom and dad in the 1938 adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Though it's one of the oldest full-length film renditions of the classic tale, there were plenty of short films of the Dickens classic produced in the silent era. In fact, one of the earliest scenes in film history — dating all the way back to 1901 — features Scrooge and his ghosts.

British actor Reginald Owen — who Bewitched fans might remember as Aunt Clara's boyfriend, Ocky — played Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1938 version. Gene Lockhart played Scrooge's kind and compassionate employee, Bob Cratchit.

When the Ghost of Christmas Present escorts Scrooge to the Cratchits' house, we see the large, loving family preparing for a special feast. Mrs. Cratchit, played by Kathleen Lockhart, prepares the food with the help of her daughter, Belinda, played by Kathleen's real-life daughter, June. Tiny Tim actor Terry Kilburn is the only Cratchit kid to receive an official credit in the film but June's bit part as his sister was just the start of a long career.

While there have been dozens of Christmas Carol adaptations over the years, this early version has a unique connection to TV history. The family scene that begins to melt the ice in Scrooge's soul is made even more heartwarming by the fact that the Cratchits, at least three of them, were family members in the real world.

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L 30 months ago
This is one of my favorite adaptions for two reasons: 1) The love between Bob Cratchit and his wife (which I'm certain extended to real life). 2) This is the one my parents watched as children (in 1938 my mother was 7 and my father was 10 years old).
vinman63 30 months ago
Marley led Scrooge to salvation but poor Jacob for all we know is carrying his chains through Lodintown.
bagandwallyfan52 30 months ago
June Lockhart also played
Dr. Janet Craig on Petticoat Junction. I have VHS Tapes of
all the Scrooge Movies on
4 VHS Tapes that I can taped
On different TV channels
Some of the Versions of A
Christmas Carol I have feature
the following actors as Ebenezer Scrooge: Reginald Owen
Alastair Sim George C. Scott
Albert Finney Patrick Stewart.
Sir Seymour Hicks Mr. Magoo
(Jim Backus) as Scrooge Etc.
Gene Lockhart was excellent as
Bob Cratchet in the Reginald
Owen version of A Christmas
Bah Humbug!!
CurleyGirl1018 30 months ago
This is my favorite version of A Christmas Carol!!! Reginald Owen was a great last minute substitute for Lionel Barrymore who suggested Owen when he was unable to perform the role. I may be wrong about Lionel, however I know it was a Barrymore originally slated to be Scrooge.
CurleyGirl1018 30 months ago
Alastair Sim is my favorite Scrooge. 😊
Nala92129 cabugi 30 months ago
Mine, too.
WandaBaker cabugi 29 months ago
Mine, too!
RichLorn 30 months ago
I'm amazed that I never put 2 + 2 together and realized June was the daughter of Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. You learn something new every day.
RichLorn 30 months ago
Me too! 🤦🏻‍♀️
jonnieking 30 months ago
This version, with the always spot-on Reginald Owen as "Scrooge" & long-careered Gene Lockhart as "Bob Cratchit", has been my favorite since I was a child. Just a superb cast and crew ! And, I've always known that the sweet child playing "Belinda Cratchit" was June Lockhart. PLUS, there's the beautiful Anne Rutherford playing the "Spirit of Christmas Past", and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s" Leo G. Carroll as "Marley's Ghost".

BUT, since it was first broadcast in 1984, I give it a "tie" with the near-perfect version starring one of America's best actors George C. Scott. Filmed and produced in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in England, it too has a fantastic cast including David Warner, Susannah York, and as "Spirit of Christmas Present", Edward Woodward. Many forget that Edward Woodward was "The Equalizer" in the original CBS-TV Series that ran from 1985 to 1989...and in 1986 won a Golden Globe for "Best Television Drama Actor", while being nominated each year from 1986-1989 for a PrimetIme TV Emmy Award.

(There was also a film version of "The Equalizer" starring Denzel Washington, and, NBC-TV has rebooted "The Equalizer" in a different style in 2021 which stars Queen Latifah.)
Bill 30 months ago
The 1939 version is good, yes, but the 1951 version with Alistair Sim is better!
Bill 30 months ago
StrayCat Bill 30 months ago
I believe the critics agree with you considering the 1951 version the finest screen depiction of the story. It doesn't seem to be anywhere on any channel this year but fortunately I have it recorded.
StrayCat 30 months ago
Me too
KeithJ 30 months ago
My favorite version of CC. Overly sentimental yes, but still good.
KeithJ 30 months ago
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KJExpress 30 months ago
While the Cratchits are a delightful couple, I always felt he was a little too "well-fed" looking for someone in his circumstances. I guess I was probably over-analyzing things. It's still a good version from what I remember. I haven't seen it in ages.

It's sweet, though, how June was in it with her parents. I remember reading something she said about how he would touch the back of her head with his hand as a gesture of fondness and you can see him doing it in this film.
Mac2Nite KJExpress 30 months ago
My guess is that they were "well-fed" on breads & puddings because they couldn't afford meat & fresh veggies. 😉
KJExpress Mac2Nite 30 months ago
Ha ha. That would do it! 🤓
vinman63 Mac2Nite 30 months ago
No wonder the Crachits may have TB (two bellies)
MrsPhilHarris 30 months ago
I had no idea they were her parents.
ndebrabant 30 months ago
This is my favorite A Christmas Carol movie, the 1939 version.
Catman 30 months ago
Fantastic story! Hope I can find that version of the film somewhere so I can check it out.
Mac2Nite Catman 30 months ago
In case you get desperate to see it... here's a "miniature" screen version on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t_1rd9g3lM 😊
Runeshaper 30 months ago
That is so cool that the family got to perform together! Thanks for sharing, MeTV!
Moody 30 months ago
I could never work with my parents, especially my father. Just helping him with stuff around the house drove me nuts!
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