In the early 1960s, American popular support for the United Nations was generally high but starting to wane, and some U.S. politicians favored limiting the United States’ involvement with the organization. UN officials decided to produce a series of what we now call “made for TV movies” to to educate the American people and promote an understanding of the UN’s mission and goals.
The task of writing the first of the films fell to Rod Serling, the now-legendary creator of The Twilight Zone, and on December 28, 1964, “Carol for Another Christmas” was broadcast to the American people on ABC.
Serling’s Carol took its main story line from Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” from over a century before. But instead of Ebenezer Scrooge ruled by greed and avarice, the updated tale follows Daniel Grudge, whose passionate isolationism was influenced by the death of his son in WWII.
As in the original story, Grudge is visited by three ghosts. The first is the Ghost of Christmas Past, who shows him a World War One troopship in 1918, and his memory of Hiroshima, where he visited a month after the atomic bombing in 1945. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him a version of his own Christmas table, loaded with a feast fit for multiple kings, with a camp full of hungry “displaced persons” looking on.
And finally, the Ghost of Christmas Future returns Grudge to his own hometown, which now lies in ruin, destroyed in a nuclear war.
Will Grudge’s experience on this fateful Christmas Eve soften his heart and begin to change his thoughts on international affairs? I’m sure you can guess, but you’ll have to watch the film for yourself to be sure.
“Carol for Another Christmas” is available on YouTube, albeit in fairly low quality. If you’d rather wait for a cleaner version, the film is scheduled to be shown on Turner Classic Movies at noon on December 23, 2021, as part of their classic Christmas movie marathon.