WASHINGTON (November 29, 2000) -- The U.S. bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign is distributing an hour-long program, Once Upon a Christmas, to NBC-TV stations nationwide for broadcast during the holiday season.
Once Upon a Christmas features two enchanting Christmas stories told through the use of charming clay animation and introduced by film and TV star Margaret Colin. The first tale, Martin the Cobbler brings to life memorable characters from a Leo Tolstoy classic. The second features the biblical story of The First Christmas itself.
Written by the great Tolstoy and narrated by his daughter, Alexandra, Martin the Cobbler is a timeless and inspiring tale about a special Christmas in the life of a despairing shoemaker. Martin is lonely and without hope as he anticipates the arrival of Christ. Instead, he is visited by several people with problems and helps them in various ways. By the end of the day, Martin is filled with life, but puzzled that Christ hasn't come. Or has he?
Simply called The First Christmas, the second of the clay-animated tales is the Gospel account of the Nativity according to Matthew and Luke. Narrated by actor Christopher Plummer, this familiar story is enlivened by the addition of charming characters, including an awestruck shepherd boy and the Bethlehem innkeeper's petulant daughter. The musical background of this Carnegie Medal-winning production includes a number of instantly-recognizable Christmas carols. Once Upon a Christmas host Margaret Colin is an accomplished actress who has shown versatility and range in all mediums including film, television and theater. Her film credits include The Devil's Own, (1997), in which she starred opposite Harrison Ford, and 1996's box office smash Independence Day, in the role of the president's press secretary. Currently she can be seen in a recurring role on ABC-TV's Madigan Men, which airs Friday nights at 9:30 p.m. (ET). Ms. Colin starred as Lisa Wiseman in the CBS series Now and Again during the 1999-2000 season and recently made her Broadway debut as the title character in Jackie: An American Life.
Once Upon a Christmas is the 2000 Christmas season program for NBC affiliates from the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC). In addition to USCC, IBC's members include the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Council of Churches, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The program will be delivered to the stations in an NBC satellite feed on December 13. A list of station air dates and times will be posted on the Catholic Communication Campaign Web pages (www.nccbuscc.org/ccc) in early December.
The U.S. Catholic Conference is the public policy agency of the U.S. bishops. Through its Catholic Communication Campaign, the USCC produces and distributes a variety of media projects including television documentaries that examine spiritual themes, Christmas and Easter specials, and public service campaigns about issues of national importance. It also sponsors a toll-free movie review line, 1-800-311-4CCC.