The Tifton Gazette - Tiftarea TV
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Big names, small screen
The Hallmark Hall of Fame brings another all-star cast to primetime
By Jacqueline Spendlove
hristmas is on its way and
prime time is starting to roll
out all sorts of programming to
get us into the holiday spirit.
ABC will be adding to the
season's warm and fuzzy feelings with its third Hallmark Hall
of Fame production of the year.
"Christmas in Conway" airs
Sunday, Dec. 1, and boasts an
impressive cast, including MaryLouise Parker ("Weeds"), Andy
2 x 2"
Griffin Ford Lincoln of Tifton
Dr. Clay Dorminey
2 x 2"
Garcia ("Ocean's Eleven," 2001)
and Mandy Moore ("A Walk to
Though most of the world
knows Duncan Mayor (Garcia)
to be a bit of a grouch, he has
no end of love and devotion for
his wife, Suzy (Parker). To cheer
her up on her return home from
the hospital, Duncan has come
up with the ultimate grand gesture and Christmas present: a
ride on her very own Ferris
wheel, set up in their backyard.
It seems the mostly sourpuss
Duncan is a closet romantic as
well as a doting teddy bear
where his wife is concerned, as
it was on a Ferris wheel that he
asked Suzy to marry him years
On the air for more than 60
years, it's safe to say that The
Hallmark Hall of Fame knows
what to deliver to an audience,
and the holiday season is the
perfect time of year for these
heartwarming productions. Last
year's Christmas-themed movie,
"Christmas With Holly," brought
in big numbers and generated
ABC's second-largest audience
of the season in its second hour.
Viewership was up from the last
Hallmark Hall of Fame movie,
"Firelight" (2012), giving ABC its
best-ever ratings with the franchise.
After all, who doesn't love a
good holiday romance?
"Christmas in Conway" has not
one but two. Tommy (Riley
Smith, "Eight Legged Freaks,"
2002) is a former student of
Suzy's. With her help and guidance, he's grown from a troubled youth on a bad path into a
successful landscape designer.
After Duncan tracks down his
prize in an abandoned amusement park (the only logical place
to acquire an enormous, used
Ferris wheel), he needs help
assembling the 45-foot-high
structure, and Tommy's the man
for the job. At the Mayor house,
he meets Suzy's kindhearted
Mandy Moore stars in "Christmas in Conway"
home-care nurse, Natalie
(Moore), and the two develop
an immediate interest in one
another. Though it's not quite
love at first sight, "there's certainly an attraction at first
sight," said Moore of the scenario. With this second storyline,
the movie explores both love
that has stood the test of time
as well as a new love that has
all the potential to turn into
what Suzy and Duncan have.
The wholesomeness of the
relationships is part of what
makes the movie fit so well into
the Christmas setting. Parker
calls the story "unabashedly
romantic. ... There's pure devotion between these two characters, Suzy and Duncan," she
said. "There's no dark history, no
betrayal. Just total love between
two human beings."
Parker explained that this is a
departure from the roles she
tends to opt for, being typically
DECEMBER 1, 2013
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