"Miriam": Miss Miller has spent her life as a governess for children in some of the most fashionable homes in New York. She is shocked one day to learn that one of her "babies" is expecting... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Donnie Melvin ...
Buddy (segment "A Christmas Memory")
Lavinia Cassels ...
Aunts (segment "A Christmas Memory")
Christine Marler ...
Aunts (segment "A Christmas Memory")
Josip Elic ...
HaHa (segment "A Christmas Memory")
Lynn Forman ...
Woman in Car (segment "A Christmas Memory")
Win Forman ...
Storekeeper (segment "A Christmas Memory")
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Beverly Ballard ...
Nina (segment "Miriam")
...
Ivor Belli (segment "Among the Paths to Eden")
...
Narrated by (segment "A Christmas Memory") (voice) (as Mr. Capote)
Jane Connell ...
Mrs. Connolly (segment "Miriam")
...
Miriam (segment "Miriam")
Phyllis Eldridge ...
Woman in Automat (segment "Miriam")
Niki Flacks ...
Clerk in Shop
Carol Gustafson ...
Miss Lake (segment "Miriam")
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Storyline

"Miriam": Miss Miller has spent her life as a governess for children in some of the most fashionable homes in New York. She is shocked one day to learn that one of her "babies" is expecting a baby of her own and rejects Miss Miller's offer to be the nurse for the forthcoming child. That night, Miss Miller meets Miriam, a strange young girl who resembles Miss Miller when she was a child. Miriam, critical of everything Miss Miller has or does, constantly taunts her about a loveless existence, leading to a violent confrontation and chilling denouement. "Among The Paths To Eden": Mary O'Meaghan, a spinster, strikes up a conversation in a Queens, New York cemetery with a widower who is putting flowers on his deceased wife's grave. After establishing a modest rapport, Mary reveals to the bemused man that she had come to the graveyard specifically looking for a lonely widower, inasmuch as a friend of hers had found two husbands in a cemetery. "A Christmas Memory": As Christmastime approaches... Written by Richard <ccbaxter@webtv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An Event. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

G
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

6 November 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Truman Capote's Trilogy  »

Company Credits

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 »
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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A compilation of three short films produced for ABC Television: Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (original airdate December, 1966), Among the Paths to Eden (original airdate December, 1967), and Miriam (original airdate April, 1970). See more »

Goofs

Although set during the Depression, a Dr Pepper sign is painted across the front of a general store. The product was spelled Dr. Pepper (with a period) until the 1950's redesign. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: This is our last Christmas together. Life separates us. Those Who Know Best decide that I belong in a military school. And so follows a miserable succession of bugle-blowing prisons, grim reveille-ridden summer camps. I have a new home, too. But it doesn't count. Home is where my friend is, and there I never go. And there she remains, puttering around the kitchen. Alone with Queenie. Then alone.
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Connections

Edited from ABC Stage 67: A Christmas Memory (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

For My Sake
Music by Meyer Kupferman
Lyrics by Eleanor Perry
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User Reviews

 
A Christmas Memory-TV's finest hour
17 December 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Over the past 6 decades American television has given the world some fine programs, but nothing as superlative as "A Christmas Memory." It was originally filmed in 1966 but I'm guessing it was included in this "Trilogy" with two other Capote short story adaptations to round out the program. This was indeed TV's finest hour, or rather, TV's finest 50 minutes. It deserves to be seen not only at Christmas, but any time you need an emotional lift. It's a timeless, sentimental masterpiece.

Truman Capote's short story, "A Christmas Memory", based on his childhood in Alabama where he grew up in a household full of older women, is also the superlative short story. His elderly cousin Sook, portrayed in this adaptation by the absolutely perfect Geraldine Page, was his closest friend and confidante. Their yearly Christmas tradition (baking fruitcakes and sending them to acquaintances, as well as making each other Christmas gifts) encompasses nearly the whole of this wonderful teleplay. Capote's story comes through virtually intact, which makes all the difference; he also serves as narrator, giving the show the feel that it all actually happened in exactly this way. Donnie Melvin, who plays Capote as a child, has none of the sugary-sweet cuteness rampant in some child actors. His is a perfectly natural performance, unaffected and poignant.

The depiction of the South in the Depression is portrayed not as a detriment, but as an asset to the story. Despite the hardships, these two have genuine feeling for each other which transcends the bleakness of the rural economy. The family's market basket is an ornate baby carriage that was Capote's as a baby, kept under the porch of the ramshackle old house they live in, and is a potent sign of better times that have come and gone. Page doggedly pushes the carriage all over the countryside to gather the ingredients for the fruitcakes; stealing through barbed wire to gather a windfall pecan crop from a neighbor's forbidden orchard; hauling all the fruitcake ingredients home from the general store; and finally, making a trek to the notorious cafe whose owner, Ha-Ha Jones, sells bootleg whiskey. This is the final ingredient for the fruitcakes, and causes one of the funniest yet heartwarming scenes in the film.

In short, this is the best thing to come out of televisionland, and should not be missed. It's a classic that should be shown every Christmas.

The second short story is "Miriam." This was Capote's first published story and brought him instant success. It deals with a nasty little girl and her nanny.

The final story, "Among the Paths to Eden," won Maureen Stapleton the "Outstanding Single Performance By an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama" Emmy in 1967-68 for her role in this teleplay. This is the story of a single woman in New York who took care of her recently-deceased father. Now all alone and lonely, she has taken up talking to widowers in the local cemeteries, as they decorate their late wife's grave, hoping to meet the right man. Stapleton is great as always, but the story itself is a little strange and rather difficult to watch. As a story it works, but when played live it loses a great deal.


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