Van Citters wrote about the conversation in his book.
"Let me tell you something, Lee," Disney told Orgel. "Not only is this generation going to watch it, but your children, your children's children and your children's children's children will watch this show. That's how good it is."
Walt Disney's stamp of approval was the ultimate gold star.
"Here's this guy that practically invented animation as we know it," Van Citters told CNN, "who takes the time out of his day to watch it and call this guy up and tell him how much he liked it."
Much to the dismay of fans, a "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" soundtrack has never been released. Plans for a storybook record were scrapped, and the audio master tapes are long gone. Van Citters said there's a chance they've simply been mislabeled and are somewhere in the vaults.
"We're still looking for them and hopefully one day there will be a CD release," he said.
Van Citters also explained that the cast and crew had no idea that "Magoo" was destined to become a classic.
"Everyone who worked on this simply thought they were doing a special for that year," he said. "Nobody thought it was going to last as long as it did. Everyone was surprised it did as well as it did. They were so happy with it they aired it for the next five years and it was still getting good ratings. The second year it got better ratings than the first."
The Baby Boomer fans of "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" remain dedicated to keeping their beloved special's memory alive. At a December 2009 screening at The Paley Center For Media in New York City, many of those in attendance sang along and called out lines similar to midnight screenings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." (But with far fewer fishnets, one would imagine.)
"The fans are very dedicated," said Van Citters. "Those who remember it remember it very well and are very passionate about it. So it's exciting that NBC is putting it back on and it will be exposed to a whole new generation of viewers."
That whole new generation of viewers may never grasp the concept of a television event.
"It's funny, isn't it, that TV specials have kind of disappeared," said Van Citters. "At one time a special was special. There used to be just three networks and when someone did something unique, everyone knew about it and they set aside time to watch it. But now we have access to everything at any time of the day, at any place in the world, and you can watch it on a postage stamp or a screen almost as big as a movie theater screen."
But back in the 1960s of course, Van Citters pointed out, if you missed your favorite Christmas special you were forced to wait for the next airing.
"You only had that onc chance, and then 52 weeks later you could see it again."