In the original story Fred is presented as an average middle class young English gentleman. While good natured and open-hearted, Fred also has a sly sense of humor and a dry wit.
(Above: Barry MacKay as Fred in the 1938 film version of the story.)In "A Southern Christmas Carol," Fred remains an average middle-class young man--good natured and open-hearted with a sly, dry sense of humor. But now he is a Southerner...something of a "good ol' boy," but in the best sense of the word. Looking to the 1930 icons of the American stage and screen, the role was written with a young Jimmy Stewart type in mind.
(Above: Jimmy Stewart as the quintessential idealistic young American male in Frank Capra's immortal 1939 film classic "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.")
True, Stewart was no Southerner (though later in his life he played in plenty of Westerns and rural dramas), but he was a unique average-Joe American type. During the Depression he emerged as one of the most popular young actors in film, and by the 1940's had become the embodiment of the idealistic young American male--usually funny and good natured, often times cranky, but always sincere. The talented Matt Gibson (below) perfectly captured this quality of the character in the 2005 prodouction of "A Southern Christmas Carol."