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 ...
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An African-American senator becomes the designated survivor of a tragic accident that kills the President of the United States. Now the first black President, he attempts to end the bigotry and divide standing in his way.
James Earl Jones,
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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>
Peter Fonda was edited out of this film shortly before it aired, yet he is still visible in a portrait on a wall of the set. See more »
The Andrews Sisters are billed in the closing credits as "The Andrew Sisters". 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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This adaptation is not for the young. Rather, it is more of an adult, thought-provoking view of a hardened man facing a narrow, isolationist future. Sterling Hayden's portrayal of Grudge is solid and restrained. Grudge aches for his war-sacrificed son, but sees his own mourning as weakness.
The home of Grudge is tasteful, large, and heartless; a perfect place for a man whose hopes and dreams died with his son...a mausoleum for the living.
Steve Lawrence is flippant, and on-point is his role of Ghost Past. He is All Soldiers of all nations. He is aboard a ship filled with flag-draped coffins, filled with those who answered their governments' call. The WWI troopship is only one of many of an endless convoy, that bear those who have fallen. But the Hiroshima set is bright, broken, and stark. Grudge see his younger self drawn to a clear, young voice singing from the rubble that is now a hospital.
A doctor tells him that the girl he hears has been disfigured by the bomb. She had heard the plane and looked up. Grudge then sees a small injured boy, who, upon hearing a clap of thunder, needed a hug. The younger Grudge obliges; he still has a heart.
Pat Hingle is Ghost Present, an over-sated, uncaring man who feasts while millions of war- displaced people remain starving within barbed wire fencing. Yet they sing songs of hope, in their own languages...quite beautifully, too. Grudge is lectured by his own earlier words of keeping America's nose out of the world's little wars.
As Grudge attempts to escape from this Ghost, he is surrounded by barbed-wire at every turn. Seeing an exit, he climbs through a broken floor, and into what was Grudge's Town Hall, the place where all people could meet and air their problems. But the Hall is long abandoned and near collapse. And he meets Ghost Future.
Robert Shaw's Ghost is concise. Everybody had the Bomb, and everybody used it. This is all that remains.
Grudge then witnesses a meeting led by Peter Sellers, as ME, a selfish despot who has gathered dozens of survivors and plans an attack to kill those 'across the river'. "They" want to talk, and ME won't hear of it.
Enter Grudge's servant, Charles, and his wife. They have survived. Charles asks to speak. He speaks of humanity and conscience. But he is shouted down, shot and killed.
Grudge awakens in his den. It's Christmas Day. Charles, his servant, greets him, then goes off to prepare Grudge's breakfast. A knock at the door reveals his nephew, Fred. A 3 AM phone call is the reason. Grudge apologizes for his earlier statements, and has a change of heart. They shake hands, and Fred leaves. There is music in the background.
Charles turns off the radio, which is playing Christmas music sung by a children's choir. Grudge turns the radio on, intent upon listening. Grudge decides to have breakfast in kitchen with Charles and his wife, the cook. Grudge sits at the table, lost in his thoughts.
And the credits roll.
Rod Serling wrote this adaptation. And it was worth it!
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