SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIE, THE: A SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS (TV)

Summary

This made-for-television Christmas fantasy-musical dramedy features original songs written and performed by Dolly Parton. The story begins as country star Lorna Davis grows frustrated on the set of her new music video for "Country Memories," feeling that the song doesn't truly embody her artistic style. Manager Ned advises her to take some "downtime" over the holidays, and Lorna soon accepts her friend Mary Lou's offer to borrow her remote mountain cabin for a restful Christmas. Lorna's dogs then catch nosy paparazzo Harry lurking outside of her home, and he manages to snap a picture of the cabin's address before she tosses him out. Lorna rushes off to the cabin, accidentally breaking a window as she goes, and she tries to stay incognito during a brief encounter on the road with Sheriff John Jensen. When she departs, the vengeful Jezebel appears to Jensen and, observing his interest in the attractive stranger, angrily reminds him that she is "hers forever."

Back at home, Ned and butler Vernon spot the window and fret that Lorna has been kidnapped, while elsewhere Lorna is surprised by the arrival of seven young kids, some of whom wonder if she is an angel. Skeptical young Jake quickly tells Lorna that their parents are "on a trip" and considers calling the cops on the potential intruder, but Lorna suggests spending a merry Christmas together before taking any drastic steps. Harry follows Lorna's trail to the cabin, determined to get the exclusive scoop on the famous singer's disappearance, and when Jake pessimistically worries that Lorna too will abandon the kids, as many other adults have done, she urges him to "Look on the Bright Side." The kids tell her about "Mountain Dan," a monstrous, kid-hating recluse who supposedly prowls through the nearby woods, but she reassures them with talk of visiting the North Pole, agreeing that "I'd Like to Spend Christmas with Santa." Later, when little Mary comes down with a fever, Lorna takes her to the local doctor – who is also both a veterinarian and a veteran.

Both Harry and Jensen spot Lorna in town with her "daughter," and Harry questions a local bartender, claiming that he has to find the mystery woman in order to deliver her lottery winnings. Jezebel bursts in and, displaying her magical powers, also demands to know Lorna's whereabouts, while back at the cabin Lorna continues bonding with the kids, telling one uncertain young girl that "Pretty is as Pretty Does." Jezebel calls to Lorna and lures her into the forest, and Lorna finds herself by Mountain Dan's campfire. Dan, who turns out to be a harmless woodsman, warns her about the dangerous witch and her "mountain magic," though Lorna, familiar with such superstitions, seems unconvinced. As Harry struggles to find a way to trek up the snowy mountain to the cabin, the kids are shocked when Dan, having been invited by Lorna, appears at their door – but when he presents them with a fruitcake and kindly Christmas wishes, they begin to reassess their view of him.

Lorna enjoys "A Smoky Mountain Christmas" with her new friends as Dan tentatively befriends Jake, and out in the woods, an increasingly desperate Harry has an encounter with Jezebel, who believes him to be her enemy Lorna's "friend." Alarmed, Harry flees to a nearby home, which turns out to be Dan's, and tells him about the bizarre specter. The seven kids take a vote and decide that the kind and caring Lorna should be their new "mama," but before she can fully explain about legal adoption proceedings, the cops arrive to arrest the kids, revealing that they have run away from a children's home and engaged in petty crimes while on the lam. Lorna too is arrested when she attempts to defend them, and Dan alerts Jake, who has been hunting out in the woods. As Jezebel bakes a sinister apple pie in her lair, Dan, Jake and Harry follow the police back to the children's home, which is run by the humorless Applegate sisters. The two spinsters are immediately suspicious when Harry poses as a child welfare inspector, while elsewhere a sweet elderly woman visits her favorite singer in her jail cell and offers her a pie. Lorna realizes too late that Jezebel has tricked her, and a few bites send her into a deep sleep that will last "many, many years," according to the triumphant witch. Jake, Harry and Dan break into the jail and find Lorna in her catatonic state, and a kiss from Dan fails to awaken her – but Jake's sincere tears for his surrogate mother are enough to do the trick.

Lorna awakens and learns that the other six kids will soon be split up and sent to different homes. Jezebel reappears, furious that the "white witch" has defeated her magic, but Lorna manages to trick her into eating some of her own magic pie, sending her into the same enchanted sleep. Sheriff Jensen and Deputy Frank are baffled to find their prisoner – and their back wall – somehow missing, and the Applegate sisters grudgingly allow "Santa and Mrs. Santa," really Dan and Lorna, to visit the children one at a time. Jake and Harry use the distraction to free the other kids and lock the two sisters up within their own home, but the sheriff and his men catch up with the gang before they can escape. The cops, the kids, the Applegates, Lorna, Dan and Harry all find themselves hauled into court on a wide variety of accusations, but when Lorna agrees to pay for the property damages, the exasperated Judge Harold Benton dismisses all of the charges. Lorna, having rediscovered the joy of home and family, requests to take the children home with her, and she is supported by Dan – revealed to hold a law degree – and by "Uncle" Harry. Baffled by the bizarre case, Judge Benton grants her temporary custody, and the new family happily celebrates the holiday, "All Wrapped Up in You" together. Includes commercials and promos.

Details

  • NETWORK: ABC
  • DATE: 1988/12/xx 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:55:23
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:13488
  • GENRE: Comedy
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Christmas; Comedy; Country music; Drama; Fantasy/science fiction
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV, 1986
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - Florida orange juice^TV - Commercials - Energizer batteries^TV - Commercials - Chevrolet automobiles^TV - Commercials - Sante Fe cologne^TV - Commercials - Tylenol pain reliever^TV - Commercials - Cadillac automobiles^TV - Commercials - Anacin-3 painkillers^TV - Commercials - Wendy's restaurants^TV - Commercials - Vaseline Intensive Care lotion^TV - Commercials - Hidden Valley Ranch-Style Italian salad dressings^TV - Commercials - Isotoner slippers^TV - Commercials - Pentax cameras^TV - Commercials - Skil Super Twist screwdriver^TV - Commercials - Hallmark stores^TV - Commercials - Planters peanuts^TV - Commercials - Triaminic children's cold medication^TV - Commercials - Pierre Cardin men's cologne^TV - Commercials - Corningware Visions cookware^TV - Commercials - Butterball turkeys^TV - Commercials - Clorox detergent^TV - Commercials - Trident chewing gum^TV - Commercials - Benylin cough syrup^TV - Commercials - Hyundai automobiles^TV - Commercials - Norelco coffee makers^TV - Commercials - Prince Matchabelli Hero fragrance^TV - Commercials - Partnership For a Drug-Free America program^TV - Commercials - McDonald's restaurants^TV - Commercials - Toyota automobiles^TV - Commercials - Carrington fragrances^TV - Commercials - Old Spice fragrance^TV - Commercials - Brut André champagne^TV - Promos - "Canvas of Ice"^TV - Promos - "Who's the Boss"^TV - Promos - "Roseanne"^TV - Promos - "Moonlighting"^TV - Promos - "thirtysomething"^TV - Promos - "Head of the Class"^TV - Promos - "The Wonder Years"^TV - Promos - "Hooperman"^TV - Promos - "Good Morning America"^TV - Promos - "All My Children"^TV - Promos - "Dynasty"^TV - Promos - "ABC News: A Farewell Interview"^TV - Promos - "China Beach"^TV - Promos - "Cannonball Run II"

CREDITS

  • Sandy Gallin … Executive Producer
  • Carol Baum … Supervising Producer
  • Robert Lovenheim … Producer
  • Henry Winkler … Director
  • William Bleich … Writer
  • Dolly Parton … Writer, Music by
  • Dana Kaproff … Music by
  • Paula Abdul … Choreographer
  • Lee Majors … Cast, Mountain Dan
  • Dolly Parton … Cast, Lorna Davis
  • Bo Hopkins … Cast, Sheriff John Jensen
  • Dan Hedaya … Cast, Harry
  • Anita Morris … Cast, Jezebel
  • Danny Cooksey … Cast, Jasper
  • Gennie James … Cast, Cindy
  • Chad Sheets … Cast, Jake
  • Daryl Bartley … Cast, Freddie
  • Ashley Bank … Cast, Mary
  • Micah Rowe … Cast, Buster
  • David Ackroyd … Cast, Video Director
  • Rene Auberjonois … Cast, Ned
  • Douglas Seale … Cast, Vernon
  • Rance Howard … Cast, Dr. Jennings
  • Jeanne Hepple … Cast, Matty Applegate
  • Linda Hoy … Cast, Hatty Applegate
  • Carl Franklin … Cast, Lt. Danvers
  • Chris Nash … Cast, Deputy Frank
  • Claude Earl Jones … Cast, Bartender
  • Marc Flanagan … Cast, Cop
  • Jean Speegle … Cast, Old Lady Jezebel
  • Debra Christofferson … Cast, Nurse
  • Clint Parton … Cast, Clint
  • Bryan Seaver … Cast, Bryan
  • John Ritter … Cast, Judge Harold Benton
  • Marc D. Robinson … Cast
  • For "ABC News Brief":
  • Tom Jarriel … Anchor
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