Bay Village author pens Hallmark movie

Michael Heaton holds a film slate from his television movie “The Christmas Heart,” airing during the month of December on The Hallmark Channel.

Michael Heaton, the Plain Dealer's Minister of Culture, author, speaker and Bay Village resident, once said that he used to live in the shadow of his dad: much loved sportswriter Chuck Heaton. Then it was his little sister, Patricia Heaton, who became well-known for her television roles.

But now he can celebrate the attention he is getting for his television movie "The Christmas Heart" replaying during the month of December on The Hallmark Channel. The film was truly a family affair: when Hallmark approached Patricia's production company Four Boys Films for ideas, she remembered the script her brother had written. Hallmark fell all over it, the theme was perfect for their holiday lineup of family-friendly movies.

The idea for the story was inspired by the luminaries lining Arthur Avenue in Lakewood every Christmas. "When my kids were little, we lived a street over and had never seen such a thing. Every Christmas Eve we'd head home from holiday festivities with a detour down Arthur," Heaton recalled.

Without giving the plot away, the luminary tradition, Lakewood and many of Heaton's old neighbors are all stars of the movie. But the best character might be that of "old man Bob Feagler," named after Heaton's friend from the Plain Dealer and fellow Bay Village resident Dick Feagler. Feagler called to congratulate Heaton, saying "I'm happy to see you found some redemption in me!" and that he enjoyed the film.

Upcoming airings of the movie on the Hallmark Channel are: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16, noon; Thursday, Dec. 20; 10 p.m.; and Christmas night, Tuesday, Dec. 25, midnight.

Heaton is at work on his next script which also takes place in Ohio and has many familiar characters. Stay tuned!

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Volume 4, Issue 25, Posted 10:54 AM, 12.11.2012