29 or 30 years ago I was writing and story editing a new CBS espionage series called “Adderly”. I had never worked so hard and couldn’t imagine having time to do anything else but catch some extra sleep.
Then I got a call from a guy I’d never heard of named Steve Scaini, who had an idea for a short film. A Christmas special for CBC. I tried to plead that I was up to my eyes in spies and international intrigue. But Steve persisted and I agreed to meet him.
What intrigued me most in our first meeting was that despite CBC being in one of their “we’re so broke we have no money for shows” periods, Steve had found a pocket the network didn’t know they had. A pocket with just enough cash to do a real-low-budget half hour.
I liked his idea and we both had a couple of other things in common, a huge love of movies and a particular affection for films by Frank Capra.
Both of us wanted to make the kind of “feel-good” features that Capra made famous.
So I said “yes” and a few weeks later “The Silent Bell” went into production and made it onto TV screens a couple of days before Christmas.
It won some awards and did well with audiences. So well the network had us do another real-low-budget Christmas special a year later. Then one for Easter and a couple of just generally Capra style feel-good stories, “The Silver Cloud” and “Calendar Girl”.
29 or 30 years later, Steve and I are still trying to make that “Feel-good” feature and might finally do it next year with “Ghost Train” .
But “The Silent Bell” still has a special place –- especially at Christmas.
I hope it fills you with the Spirit of Christmas and makes you feel good too.