I do not own a television and so could not have watched anyways, but last night Turner Classic Movies aired Rod Serling’s A Carol for Another Christmas. I know a fair amount about Rod Serling and the Twilight Zone, but my first thought when I read about this was: Rod Serling once made a tv movie called A Carol for Another Christmas? Indeed he did, in 1964 to be exact. Maybe I am wrong–it was over 25 years ago–but I do not recall any reference to this in the well-thumbed copy of Marc Scott Zicree’s The Twilight Zone Companion that I carried around in high school. According to the movie’s Wikipedia page–yes, it warranted its own Wikipedia page–the film aired on December 26, 1964 and was subsequently put into the vault.
Serling covered the Christmas theme a few years earlier on Twilight Zone, when Art Carney played a skid row Santa in Season Two’s “The Night of the Meek.” I’ll be pulling out my box-set over the next few days to watch that one as I do every year around this time.
Serling was involved in many projects in the decade after TZ and before his 1975 death; Night Gallery, Liar’s Club, and Planet of the Apes are three that come to mind. It is no secret that Serling was looking beyond TZ during its final season, but I find it interesting that Serling did this in 1964, the same year Twilight Zone ended its five-year run. How such a project could be sitting in the can for nearly half a century is beyond me. For one thing it starred Peter Sellers, Sterling Hayden (The Godfather; Dr. Strangelove, with Sellers, Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest; On the Waterfront), and other notables. Henry Mancini did the score. Hollywood lined up to work with Rod Serling.
Who knows, maybe the film was a turkey and was justifiably consigned to the dustbin of history. If nothing else though, it would deserve to be remembered as both an artifact of the Cold War and part of the Serling catalog. Viewers will have one more chance to find out for themselves when TCM re-airs A Carol for Another Christmas on Saturday December 22nd.