Jacob and Robert Marley are the former business partners of Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Scrooge says that they have always criticized him, while the two geezers say that they were always heckling him.
Both dead and "decaying in their graves," the Marley brothers return to haunt Scrooge. The pair are initially rather jovial about being able to heckle again, but soon, through their song "Marley and Marley", explain their plight. Due to their unbridled greed and cruelty, the pair are forced to wander the earth, bound by an endless chain and laden with Cashboxes and Locks, their earthly plunder now burdening them in the afterlife. They are the vanguard of the other three spirits, Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and warn Scrooge that if he rejects their visitations, his fate will be as dire as theirs.
Later, younger versions of the Marley brothers are seen at Fozziwig's Christmas party, enjoying the revelry. They heckle Fozziwig from a balcony in the rubber chicken factory about his speech; they're glad that the speech was short. As the music gets jazzy, Jacob starts dancing. Robert watches his brother closely, commenting "you dancing fool!"
The Marley brothers were included in Palisades Toys' 2003 line of Christmas Carol Mini Muppets toys, complete with chains and translucent skin. The pair also surfaced as the bosses for the Christmas Carol stage in the 2000 Muppet RaceMania video game.
Behind the Scenes
In the original Dickens text, there was only one ghostly partner, Jacob. But by giving him a brother, Brian Henson was able to use both Statler and Waldorf. However, rather than break entirely from the original text, Jacob Marley is still the only face to manifest on Scrooge's doorknocker.
The way the filmmakers shot Statler and Waldorf as ghosts was to powder the puppets down and make them much whiter. The characters were filmed against black velvet with the puppeteers, also clad in black. The images were then superimposed over the backgrounds and Scrooge to make them transparent. Brian Henson said in the DVD audio commentary that "it's really nice to shoot on black fabric because the puppeteers can be right in shot, and you don’t know it 'cause the black doesn't superimpose."