Presented without commercial interruptions, this "United Nations Special" was sponsored by the Xerox Corporation, the first of a series of Xerox specials promoting the UN. Director Joseph ... See full summary »
Presented without commercial interruptions, this "United Nations Special" was sponsored by the Xerox Corporation, the first of a series of Xerox specials promoting the UN. Director Joseph Mankiewicz's first work for television, the 90-minute ABC drama was publicized as having an all-star cast (which meant that names of some supporting cast members were not officially released). In Rod Serling's update of Charles Dickens, industrial tycoon Daniel Grudge has never recovered from the loss of his 22-year-old son Marley, killed in action during Christmas Eve of 1944. The embittered Grudge has only scorn for any American involvement in international affairs. But then the Ghost of Christmas Past takes him back through time to a World War I troopship. Grudge also is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future gives him a tour across a desolate landscape where he sees the ruins of a once-great civilization. Written by
Bhob Stewart <email@example.com>
In Rod Serling's original script, the lead character's name was Barnaby Grudge--i.e., B. Grudge, a play on the word "begrudge". ABC censors thought that viewers would miss that allusion and instead believe the name was chosen as a slap at U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, a man associated with nuclear war, and ordered the author to change the character's name. Serling settled on Daniel Grudge. [Serling's original name would also have made more sense, because it is a play on another Dickens novel, "Barnaby Rudge."] See more »
The Andrews Sisters recorded "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" for Decca Records, not RCA Victor. See more »
If we let them seep in here from down yonder and cross river - if we let these do-gooder, these bleeding hearts, propagate their insidious doctrine of involvement among us - then my dear friends, my beloved Me's"
"we's in trouble. We must carry our glorious philosophy through to its glorious culmination! So that in the end, with enterprise and determination, the world and everything in it will belong to one individual Me! And that will be the ultimate! The absolute ultimate!
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When I saw this when I was in high school, I remember my hair curling. I remember there were threats of boycotts and protests against the politics of this work, which really express just basic humanitarianism, with some liberal fear of nuclear destruction.
Three memories of this production: James Shigeta, playing a doctor in post-nuclear Hiroshima, answers the Scrooge character's (Sterling Hayden) cliched comment about nuclear-damaged girls (singing, with cloth over their scarred faces). Scrooge says, `Well, at least their children will not face this horror." Shigeta answers: "Children?! These girls?!"
The second is Pat Hingle eating the massive chicken leg, with barbed wired keeping out silent, wraith-like, starving refugees. Scrooge: "How can you sit there and eat like that, when these people are starving?" Hingle: "Oh, do they bother you?" And he snaps his fingers and the lights go out, and the refugees disappear. "Feel better?" asks Hingle, taking another chomp out of the turkey leg.
The third is Peter Sellers as "The Imperial Me," a deranged leader of a deranged sect meeting in a post-nuclear bombed-out church. Sellers' turn is both hilarious and disturbing, working the followers (all with Mickey Mouse Club-like shirts that say "Me") into a frenzy.
The teleplay is crammed with earnest, liberal good intentions. But why weren't there a lot more of this kind of artistic effort on television? (I recall a second UN/Xerox special, with Theo Bikel playing a leader of refugees on a ship, but it wasn't nearly as good).
Political and marketing restrictions cost us dearly when more efforts like "Carol for Another Christmas" were not made.
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