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Carol for Another Christmas

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Carol for Another Christmas, scripted by Rod Serling as a modernization of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and a plea for global cooperation between nations, was telecast only once -- December 28, 1964. The only TV movie ever directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, this was the film in which Peter Sellers gave his first performance after suffering a near-fatal heart attack. Sellers portrayed a demigod in an apocalyptic Christmas. Sterling Hayden, who costarred with Sellers in Dr. Strangelove earlier that year, was also featured.

Bhob Stewart provided some background on the production:

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 (Sterling Hayden) has never recovered from the loss of his 22-year-old son Marley (Peter Fonda), 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 (Steve Lawrence) takes him back through time to a World War I troopship. Grudge also is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present (Pat Hingle), and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Shaw) gives him a tour across a desolate landscape where he sees the ruins of a once-great civilization. In the final weeks of post-production, Peter Fonda's scenes were deleted, but his image remained in the film, recognizable in a portrait on the wall.


Others in the cast were Percy Rodriguez, Eva Marie Saint, Ben Gazzara, Barbara Ann Teer, James Shigeta and Britt Ekland. Henry Mancini wrote the theme music, which was recorded for his 1966 holiday LP, A Merry Mancini Christmas.

The film is not commercially available, but it can be seen at the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles and the Film and Television Archive at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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