Dec 22 2012

Lake NeuronLake Neuron: Scrooge in the nuclear age

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/LakeNeuron/~3/dTnhToVOEFk/

I just finished watching “Carol For Another Christmas” on TCM, and it’s fascinating. It was funded by Xerox and presented on commercial TV (but without interruption) in 1964 as a pro-UN, anti-isolationist message. It’s an updated story with a “Christmas Carol” structure that has a script by Rod Serling (!!!) and is directed by Joseph Mankiewicz. The all-star cast includes Sterling Hayden as the Scrooge surrogate; Steve Lawrence, Pat Hingle and Robert Shaw as the ghosts; Ben Gazzara; Eva Marie Saint; and Peter Sellers, playing a loony post-apocalyptic warlord preaching a gospel of self-interest that would make even Ayn Rand blush.

The script, with its references to nuclear war and global poverty, is a bit heavy-handed at times (as some “Twilight Zone” episodes could certainly be), but fascinating and with its heart in the right place. It apparently hadn’t been seen on TV in years until TCM showed it just a few weeks ago.

Amusingly, according to IMDb, Serling wanted to name the main character “Barnaby Grudge,” so that the sign on his door could be B. Grudge, but the network thought that, given the references to nuclear war in the script, the audience might take the initials “B.G.” as a swipe at Barry Goldwater, who had just been defeated in a presidential election, in part because of a perception he was too hawkish. So the character ended up as Daniel Grudge instead.

Coming up next, as I pointed out on Facebook, is “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” one of my favorite comedies, but I’m going to have to DVR it. My brother and sister-in-law and the kids have just arrived from North Carolina, and I’m meeting them, Dad and Ms. Rachel at Bocelli’s.

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