SIXTY-FIVE million people here in America the other night saw a televised version of " Peter Pan," The cast would have had to put on nightly turns for the next 100 years to reach the same sized audience through the theatre.
Put on the air by Ford Motors and a leading broadcasting company, the one shos is reputed to have cost $450,000. It has taken America by storm.
This tremendous success of Sir James Barnes play is revealing. for it reflects something in the psychology of the mid-twentieth century American which we too easily forget. It is his warm senti. mentality.
Revealing was a passage in the New York Herald Tribune's review of the telecast. It said: 'The play has some bits that are a little sticky even for our own sentimental age and these bits were wonderfully bridged by the songs and special material. , . ." The italics are mine--but the acknowledgement of sentimentality comes from an American reviewer • in a leading American paper. No British reviewer. against our English background. would dream of calling this a sentimental age. On the contrary. we are accustomed to contrast our own hard • realism with the sentimentality of our Victorian and Edwardian grandparents. We shall understand American politics. both domestic and foreign,. much better if we do not forget that difference. It is a generous though not very rational thing. which underlies much that is misunderstood in Britain. America's official and public response to situations created by international Communism. in particular, is always liable to issue from a warm heart rather than from a cool head. Americans have retained a capacity for moral indignation which too many of us have lost, It is a good quality and it is not for us to condemn them for it. We need each other.