Overmatter: Ghost of Christmas (cards) past

Jo Francis
Friday, December 18, 2020

Team working in 2020 has involved some of us rapidly getting to grips with online collaboration tools such as Slack, Trello and Microsoft Teams.

Boardroom discussions
Boardroom discussions

It was delightful, then, to see a glimpse of print-related collaboration 1953-style courtesy of the excellent BBC Archive service.

The black-and-white clip features a group of colleagues in a boardroom, speaking in received pronunciation tones and sounding like characters from an early episode of The Crown.

The boss man, smoking a cigarette, deliberates over which paintings would make the best Christmas cards as he inspects an artwork featuring a design of Christmas roses and holly.

While saying: “I don’t want to influence you at all…” it’s absolutely clear he’s doing just that as his colleagues nod in agreement.

“I’d like to know what you all think individually,” he says next, in the sort of slightly menacing tone familiar to anyone who’s ever been put on the spot in a team meeting.

The absolute highlight of the clip, however, comes when the action moves to the ‘wording’ department, where the crucial decision about whether to have a simple plain prose greeting or a verse inside the card is decided under the watchful gaze of a black cat.

‘Goodwill and friendship are the flowers that bloom in happy Christmas hours’ was rejected due to not having enough of a reference to holly, much to Overmatter’s disappointment.

To enjoy a blast of card publishing’s past, the clip can be found here.

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