Have a Cold War liberal Christmas!
Or whatever kind your heart desires
Here we are in A Christmas Carol season. Regular readers know I’m partial to the Alastair Sim version — the hammy Victorianism of it suits me (and, I think, Dickens) right down to the ground. But some of the other versions have their charms and sidelights to throw on that grand moral fable of recalcitrance and redemption. A friend tipped me to the relatively obscure 1964 Rod Serling version, A Carol for Another Christmas, and while it doesn’t do much for Dickens it does illuminate a point of view that, from our perspective, may seem every bit as antique as his.
The Serling version was part of a planned series of TV films promoting the work of the United Nations; it was produced by the non-profit “Telsun Foundation” and sponsored by Xerox. They did four movies, the least-unknown of which is the drug trafficking procedural The Poppy is Also a Flower. These came out just when the American conservative movement was at its John-Birchiest and “Get The U.N. Out of the U.S. and the U.S. Out of the U.N.” was one of their rallying croaks; one can imagine the Wise Heads of American monoculture wanting to Do Something about it.
(An interesting Factoid from the Wikipedia entry on the series: “A November 1965 Saturday Review article gave the total number of protest letters sent to Xerox [about the pro-U.N. series] as 61,000 letters written by 16,000 distinct individuals, and the total number of letters in support as 14,500, all written by distinct individuals.” Some things never change!)