Original image: The Knowles Gallery
A Korean Christmas Carol
Starring: Bill Lipton
Originally aired: 20 December 1959
Plot synopsis: While driving a truck at night, a soldier stationed in Korea gives a lift to a muddy and disheveled GI, who recounts the story of a battle in which he fought seven years previously.
Favourite line: 'Machine gun fire always was better getaway music than Christmas carols.'
Review: Set a few years after the end of the Korean War, this episode is a rather curious one, a sort of sub-Twilight Zone tale. The part in which the story of the battle is told is reasonably effective, but the scenes that bookend it either side are not terribly gripping. The basic problem is that listeners will almost certainly have guessed what is going on long before the truth is revealed, as the identity of the hitchhiking GI is pretty obvious. Some may nonetheless find the final scene heartwarming, though if you listen to this at any time other than Christmas, you don't need to be especially hard-hearted not to be particularly moved by the sentimental conclusion. (For a vastly superior story about a mysterious hitchhiker, try the episode The Hitchhiker.)
Rating: * *