Great Holiday TV Viewing
with a New Made-for-TV Movie
By Dr. Glen C. Griffin

When Beth Polson called me to tell me about her new movie, Miss Lettie and Me, knowing the uplifting shows Beth always produces (including a CAMIE award winner for Character And Morality in Entertainment), I could hardly wait to see the screener. And I wasn’t disappointed. Mary Tyler Moore who stars as Lettie, said, “This is a perfect holiday movie because it is positive. It has hope.” And she is right. In today’s troubled world, this is exactly what we need. Everything about this movie works: the touching story, the beautiful Southern setting, the excellent cinematography, and the superb

Mary Tyler Moore has been a legend for developing her TV series characters. Now, adding a few years, you’ll really enjoy her make a crotchety Miss Lettie come to life. And then there’s Holli Coleman, who brilliantly stars as a cute, brainy, and feisty, 9-year-old girl named Travis. Burt Reynolds is Samuel Madison. You’ll enjoy the wit and wisdom that come from the mouths of Isaiah Griffin, played perfectly by Charlie Robinson-and Miss Rose, Isaiah’s mother, played by Irma P. Hall. The casting couldn’t be better –
and neither could the filming done in Georgia at the Brookfield Plantation.

Beth Polson has done several LDS-themed films. Beth began her career more than 20 years ago as an investigative journalist for Barbara Walters, and then eventually moved into the writer/producer world. She is an excellent film producer, with high credibility among the networks for whom she has produced films. She did the beautifully-done true story, Go Toward the Light, with Linda Hamilton and Richard Thomas. This is the story of Ben Oyler, the first (LDS) child to die of AIDS from a tainted hemophilia transfusion. She consulted closely with Church members during the filming for assistance in getting the LDS aspects of the story just right. If you saw the film you’ll remember the Family Home Evening where the parents did the ‘hand in the glove’ explanation of death to their dying son.

Since this first film, she has done several other LDS-themed films, including Someone to Love with Richard Crenna and Rhea Perlman, the true story of the LDS attorney in Florida who represented a young boy who was “divorcing” his abusive/neglectful parents. The LDS attorney won the case, and he and his wife eventually adopted the child. Beth also did The Christmas Box, the Richard Paul Evans book with Richard Thomas and Maureen O’Hara, and later its prequel, Timepiece, with James Earl Jones. She has also done Cab to Canada, a film, written by another LDS screenwriter, Jeff Parkin, and starring Maureen O’Hara.

Beth Polson’s films are always very warm, intelligent, honest, and filled with the kinds of values we espouse, with nary a questionable word or scene. Parents and grandparents can sit beside their children, and not have nervous trigger fingers on their remotes.

So don’t miss Miss Lettie and Me. It will premier on Sunday, December 8th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Standard Time. Encores will be that night at 10:00 p.m. and again at midnight, on Wednesday, Dec 11th at 9:00 p.m., Saturday December 14th at 10:00 p.m., Sunday December 15th, at 4:00 p.m. and again at midnight, and Saturday, December 21st at 12:30 p.m.

Our first preview screening was with a group of young adults who, somewhat out-of-character, all started clapping as the credits rolled. Those attending the next screening ranged from young teenage boys to older teenage girls, their parents, to 92-year old great grandparents. And any film that will keep this range of folks interested, has got to be good. It won’t take long for you to see why Miss Lettie and Me has already been nominated for a CAMIE award. Don’t miss it. And let us know what you think.

Starring Mary Tyler Moore, Holliston Colman, Charlie Robinson, Irma P. Hall. Produced by Beth Polson of The Polson Company for TNT Television as a joint venture with Johnson & Johnson. 2002.

2002Meridian Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.