The Corner

Drunk in Charge

Czech TV seems to have been celebrating the ‘worker’s holiday’ of May 1st in appropriate style, with a 24 hour special dedicated to the joys of Communist TV: Now, that’s what I call a real Twilight Zone marathon.

Amongst the delights:

“On a 1978 visit to Prague, the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev is shown very obviously drunk during a live broadcast of the presentation of medals to party officials. The producer increased the volume of the Czech interpreter’s voiceover in an attempt to mask Brezhnev’s slurred speech. But there was nothing he could do to conceal the Soviet strongman’s swaying or the serial kissing that followed.”

If I remember correctly, the late, unlamented Leonid Ilyich was also responsible for one of the more amusing moments in the history of British journalism. When, some time after the old tyrant’s, er, ‘final’ death, it was revealed that a stroke had left Brezhnev incapacitated for his last couple of years, one of the tabloids ran with this headline:

“Russia ruled by red cabbage.”


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