I love my country, so I don't want you to think I am an America-basher. However, sometimes something can be so patriotic that it is cloying--and a bit embarrassing to watch. This is exactly what I thought as I watched "The Last Signer"--an episode I downloaded from archive.org--a website whose downloads are frequently linked to IMDb (though in this case, the link is missing).
The show begins with a classroom of kids and the teacher is asking them to name the signers of the Declaration of Independence. One after another, they name the more famous folks who signed this document...that is, until a kid mentioned a name that is NOT in any history book. However, the kid insists he's right--he read it on the copy that they have at the town hall. And, low and behold, it's true! Someone has added their name to the document! People are outraged (too much to be realistic) and soon folks are looking for this guy. Kevin McCarthy plays a reporter who hears of this and he plans on making a story out of it. However, as the show progresses, he slowly comes to care for the old immigrant who signed the paper--but never does he or anyone actually bother to ask the man WHY he signed the paper! And, in the end, there is a LONG speech by the old guy and it melts everyone's hearts. God bless America!! As I said, I do love my country, but this was pure saccharine as well as bad writing. Patriotism is one thing--cloying, treacle couched in patriotism is another. Even by the 1950s standards, this was probably a bit hard to take! With a slight re-write, this could have been a lot better--such as having people react NORMALLY and having people bother to even ask the guy why he did this. Weird and probably not all that interesting to most folks.
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