Sunday, December 2, 2007
Caring Enough To Broadcast the Very Best
Back here I wrote about the first Hallmark Hall of Fame program, which debuted in 1951. Tonight the Hall of Fame airs its Christmas 2007 edition, Pictures of Hollis Woods. This Christmas-themed story boasts a good cast, including Sissy Spacek and Alfre Woodard, and like all of the contemporary Hall of Fame programs, will very likely be an above average made-for-television movie. Most of the Hall of Fame’s TV movie productions have been a cut above the average and have won high ratings, and though its challenging to argue with success I wish the Hallmark Hall of Fame would at least occasionally return to the kind of programming for which it earned its reputation for quality. Hallmark has always been a class act (they are a superior Disney, Peanuts and Warner Bros. licensee) and reflecting the quality which is the Kansas City greeting card company’s, well, hallmark, their TV showcase used to proudly present true classics, everything from Shakespeare (including, in 1953, Hamlet starring Maurice Evans, the first Shakespeare production for TV) and plays (The Man Who Came to Dinner, Harvey), to original productions (A Storm in Summer, Teacher, Teacher) and musicals (Kiss Me, Kate). In 1973, there was even a presentation of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (live-action, mind you). Not for nothing has this unique TV showcase won a record 78 Emmys and dozens of other awards, including Golden Globes, Peabodys, Christopher Awards and Humanitas Prizes. Is it too much to hope that cable’s Hallmark Channel might occasionally air a classic program from the rich history of the Hallmark Hall of Fame?