“The real problem we had with ‘Christmas of Many Colors’ was creating the biggest snowstorm in the history of the Smokey Mountains in the mid 50s,” reveals Sam Haskell about the second TV movie he executive produced along with country superstar Dolly Parton for NBC. In our recent webchat (watch above), he discusses the holiday telefilm featuring another true-life story from Parton’s childhood. He adds, “That snowstorm buried Dolly and her family for three days, and they thought they were going to die. It was a miracle that brought the sun and the melting away of the snow and allowed their dad to get home to them.”
Following the smash success of “Coat of Many Colors” from the previous December, “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” was another big holiday hit for NBC a year later. The plot has Dolly’s father Lee (Ricky Schroder) away trying to earn enough money to buy his wife (Jennifer Nettles) a long-awaited wedding ring. The children decide to sacrifice their Christmas presents to bring him home and give him the money themselves. While waiting on Lee to return, the snowstorm trapped the family and almost killed them. Daytime Emmy nominee Alyvia Alyn Lind (“The Young and the Restless”) returns as the young Dolly.
One added bonus for the second movie is that Parton herself took a role in the project. She plays “Painted Lady,” a local harlot who Dolly thinks is the most glamorous woman in the world and wants to grow up dressing like her with the make-up and hair. Of that decision, Haskell says he told her that it would be “a great wink to your audience that this beautiful little child looks at someone like you and grows up to look just like you. It just went viral, and people went crazy.”
After the success of both movies for NBC, Haskell and his team will begin work on an adaptation of Parton’s classic song “Jolene” next. He is also the executive chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization and former Worldwide Head of TV for William Morris.
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