Hello, Hearties! Welcome to another #WisemanWednesday! I’d like to begin offering my sincerest apologies for missing Friday, but my family does come first. As fans of one of the biggest family-friendly networks around, I know you understand.

However, I do think that this post is worth the wait, and I think you will too. Presenting for the second time at Hooked Heartie, Dr. Carson Shepherd himself, Mr. Paul Greene! He agreed to be a guest on the Hallmarkies Podcast after I begged him endlessly. Kidding! I asked him, he had an opening, and he graciously accepted my invitation. 

And speaking of Paul, don’t forget that tonight is the premiere of The Christmas Cookie Match Up on Hallmark Drama at 9/8c, if you have it, featuring the cast of When Calls the Heart. So without further ado, here’s our little chat with Paul.

Here’s the link for the podcast. Just copy and paste, then listen and enjoy! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hallmarkies-podcast/id1296728288?i=1000456548732

P.S. For a little bonus fun, here’s a picture of Paul and other favorite Hallmark stars at the Christmas Con in New Jersey this past weekend. Credit goes to Paul’s Twitter.

It’s beginning to look a lot Christmas, Hearties! Welcome to our first Christmas movie review, and fair warning, you’re going to be seeing several of them in the next couple of months. That’s right! Hooked Heartie is jumping on the festive bandwagon. I figure, the 10th anniversary of Hallmark Channel’s #CountdownToChristmas is a milestone worth celebrating. So this is now another holiday headquarters, hence the new hashtag. And there are two more you’ll see. With so many movies being filmed and shown this year, we’re taking a little break from our beloved show, and we’re having some Movie Months. I’ll still be posting twice a week, and each post will be centered on a Christmas movie. But rest assured, every film reviewed will still have at least one WCTH actor in it. I only break THAT rule for family. 😉

First up: “Merry and Bright” with the adorable Jodie Sweetin, and yes, the VERY charming When Calls the Heart guest star, Andrew Walker. This is a pairing I never would have thought of, but it made a whole lot of sense. I thought they were adorable together! And here’s a fun fact you may or may not have heard: neither actor is a huge fan of peppermint. When it comes to Christmas goodies, they go for the chocolate and the baked goods. Jodie remarked “that made it easy” to not scarf down all the candy canes with which she was surrounded.

And here are three pieces of trivia I never knew! The writers of this one really did some digging! Did you know December 26th is National Candy Cane Day? That’s a lot merrier and brighter than what I usually call it…me and Warren Christie’s character Morgan from “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: “ the saddest day of the year”. Pouring chocolate on a spoon to temper it before it hits the mold is a cool trick I’d never considered. And I had no idea that the legend of the candy cane centered on a choir director trying to keep children’s attention! Quite clever when you think about it!

Let’s talk about my favorite thing about this movie – you know what it is – it’s not a #OneKissWonder! At precisely 1:31:12, there was a perfect, chemistry-filled smooch. Now, even though the circumstances surrounding it are less than ideal, and it’s dismissed as a “nice moment”, it still sticks with us. I especially like it because the next time we see them kiss, a year has passed, and he’s proposing. I think it was really important to establish that connection between them to make us all the more excited for them at the end.

Speaking of which, I really loved the juxtaposition of the two couples: Gabe and Cate, and Pete and Sophie. Despite the fact that Pete was scared to propose, they were a very happy and settled pair. That cute little hand hold when they said hello while he was on the phone was proof of that! And call me crazy, but I adored the fact that the diamond was so small. They were a young couple with jobs that weren’t incredibly lucrative, but they don’t need lots of success to be happy. Sophie was just as thrilled with that tiny stone as she would have been with a full carat. The other cool thing is that by talking with the two of them, Gabe and Cate are able to figure their own issues out because they say them out loud, and talk themselves through them.

Let’s backtrack a bit, to a scene Jodie claimed as her favorite, and Andrew agreed: the first meeting. Here’s one of the places Andrew earns the title of Wise Man, or rather Wise Guy! 🙂 This scene is so crucial in romantic movies; it creates a domino effect, so it’s gotta be good. And this one WAS good; the banter and timing were exceptional! Cate puts the pieces of the wrong puzzle together, and assumes that Gabe is Gary, someone from Akron who her matchmaker mother is setting her up to meet. He’s actually from a corporate consulting company, but he happens to say just the right words that seem to confirm her suspicions. Embarrassing! You’ll have to watch for yourself to hear the full exchange, it’s too funny to try to explain in print. But he may have mentioned being her “last chance to turn this ship around”. Yikes!
You know that scene in so many movies when one of the people involved overhears the wrong part of a phone conversation, or misinterprets an appearance. Well, no need in THIS movie, because there was nothing to misinterpret. He flat out called the business model a dinosaur, and her a brick wall. Good thing they were able to move past it, huh?

This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Happy Halloween, #Hearties! Welcome back to Podcast Week, and welcome to our last #FallHarvest themed post for the year! This year, I’ve decided to not fight the early Christmas madness, and try to make it until after Thanksgiving to post Christmas content. 😉 I had Chridtmas on before Thanksgiving last year, but I protested harder. 😀 But, I just couldn’t bear to do too much before HALLOWEEN, so I’m standing my ground, and posting one more autumn post before the #HookedHeartie Christmas season begins.

Now, I did warn you that I might have to invoke family privilege here at the end, and I’m cashing that in! For your listening and/or watching enjoyment, I present the Hallmarkies Podcast of the Fall Harvest Recap, featuring talk about “Love Fall and Order” right in the middle. This movie had personal significance for me for several reasons, which I’ll let you listen to yourself. But here are some fun tidbits from talking to Clare Niederpruem the director, and my sister-in-law Shelly. By the way, this picture of Shelly was from her filming of a Balsam Hill commercial. So if you watch the right one, and you don’t blink, you just might spot her.

   

Photo credit: Clare’s Facebook, Shelly’s Facebook               

– Shelly stayed at her daughter’s apartment, so she got to walk to set.
– Shelly said the catering was amazing! The salmon was better than some restaurants
– Clare’s of the opinion that this is definitely one of the funniest movies she’s been involved with.
– Clare’s favorite scene was Gregory Harrison’s monologue.
– Clare loved working with Greg. He was there for a week, and made a great dad because he has daughters himself.
– Shelly said Erin was lovely to work with. She tried to convince Shelly to buy the business suit that was her costume because it looked so good on her.
– Shelly told me Erin had a trick for not losing her wedding ring during filming, at least their scene. She would safety pin it to the inside of her pants waistline.

Photo credit: Crown Media 

 

 

Have a safe and happy Halloween! We’ll see you Friday for the start of the Christmas season…here. 😉 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom

Okay, the secret’s out! My final “mystery guest” for Hooked Heartie’s Mystery Month is self-proclaimed “Hallmark Channel’s favourite bespectacled bald guy”, the one and only Milo Shandel! (Gotta love the Canadian spelling!) He was my second cast Skype interview, Laura Bertram being the first, and what an interview it was! He made me feel so comfortable, it was like talking to one of my brothers. No seriously, he literally sounded like one of them! Speaking of which, he is such a great family man! He’s out doing sports with his boys almost every Saturday from morning to evening. AND he’s a fabulous actor, as we all know. He’s certainly one of OUR favorite bald guys, right Hearties?! FAIR WARNING: I haven’t laughed this hard since I interviewed Elliott Wallach! Some gems are going to get lost from video to print, I know, but I’m going to try my best to convey the hilarity of our conversation, at least in part. 😀 For example, at one point when I downright snickered and lost it, I told him he was making it very difficult for me to remain professional. His response? “Are you kidding? Laughing at my jokes is the best thing you could do!”

 

Another one is when I apologized for taking so long to write down his answers because I didn’t have access to recording equipment. He said, “No problem, I’ll just talk slower.” Then he proceeded in this deep, dragging voice: “He…………….was…………….a…” It was hysterical!

 

And here’s a fun fact! Did you know that his name is pronounced “Meelo” even though it’s spelled like “Milo”. And his last name is not SHANdel, like I thought for so long. It’s ShanDEL. He’s resigned to it though, “as long as they feed me lunch, and my check clears.” 😀 There’s that humor again. So let’s get to know him a little better.

1. Tell us about your family, past and present.
– I have a half brother, 2 half sisters, and a stepsister.
– Now, I have 3 boys: ages 13, 10, and 7. My 10-year-old loves When Calls the Heart. He’s my biggest fan!
– My wife and I have been married since 2001, but we’ve been together since 1989, when she was 20 and I was 19. Yes, my wife is older than I am. (Here’s when I admitted that I’m also older than my husband.)

2. Were you born in Vancouver?
– Yes! I’m one of the few in the industry actually from here, and I happen to also be in the Directors’ Guild.

3. What is your favorite place to go out to eat, and what can you be found eating there?
– With 3 kids, we almost never go out. But when we do, there’s usually “Pizza” in the name. 😉 My wife and I go out once in a while, but not much. When we do, my favorite is a French Bistro, Les Faux Bourgeois. There are no reservations, so there’s always a line-up. There’s a fabulous dish of strip line steak with garlic butter. They serve amazing Belgian fries, you know, sometimes simple is best. And of course, lots of red wine! (This is where I interjected that I’d have to take his word for it because I don’t drink. Without missing a beat, he says, “Oh, well, then lots of sparkling cider.” 😀 )

4. What is your ideal vacation and/or pastime?
– A beach by the ocean in a lounge chair. My wife and I worked on a Disney Cruise ship, so our week off was usually in the Bahamas.

5. Do you like portraying the authority figure? You seem to get that type of role often.
– I’ve been totally typecast, but I’m okay with that. I’m very comfortable with who I am. Mr. Young was my 1st non-theater job, so I was typecast from the very beginning. But I thought “I should be so lucky!” If you’re typecast, you’re working. I’ve been in lots of interesting shows, met lots of great people.

6. Speaking of authority figures, how much research did you have to do to portray the scientist Dr. Sully for “Love on the Menu”, and sound like an authority figure on that subject?
– After a while, you develop a sense for the techno babble, so I just used the script. I did need to look up a couple words. There was this one word; I don’t remember what it was, but even Kavan didn’t know what it meant, and HE wrote the script!

7. Do you have any hidden talents?
– How hidden? I toured with “Mamma Mia” for 6 years, so I’m a singer. Fun fact about that – we did LIVE harmony backstage; it sounded really cool! I play bass guitar and trumpet, at least I did. I speak a little French, and I played football in high school and university.

8. You’ve been around the Hallmark genre board quite a bit! Is there a particular genre you like best?
– I really love Summer Nights, even though it’s FREEZING when we film them, because summer is my favorite season.

9. Well then, tell us more about “A Summer Romance”.
– It was shot under the name “Dude Ranch” before it got changed to “A Summer Romance”.
– The carnival scene was THE coldest, but Erin is impervious to the elements. We eventually got to move into that beautiful barn, which was great!
– Erin, by the way, is one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with!

10. What’s your favorite Hallmark and non-Hallmark role?
– Non-Hallmark is Mr. Young on Disney XD. I’ve never had so much fun filming a role. I played an idiot principal, so there were 4-5 jokes PER PAGE in the script! At one point, I was covered in honey, blasted with Rice Krispies, then thrown into something that at least resembled milk.
– Favorite directing project is “Some Assembly Required”. It’s about a group of kids taking over a giant toy factory.
– Favorite stage role was the Australian dad in “Mamma Mia”.
– Favorite Hallmark role is Mr. Jenkins. (Here, I pretended to get frustrated, and said, “Besides him!” He totally went with it, doing the whole, “Oh, oh, okay!”
– Favorite Hallmark role besides Mr. Jenkins would have to be Rick Fitch from Mystery 101. He’s just SO pathetic, so it made him fun to play. He falls off a cliff, what’s not to love?!

 

Milo as Mr. Young

 

11. Your character, Rick, in “Mystery 101: Words Can Kill” was very intriguing! Especially with the dating of Amy’s mom. We’re there any deleted scenes from there, because I wanted SO much more of that dynamic of former best friends torn apart between Rick and Graham.
– Don’t think so. I just had to pack it into the scenes we had. I tried to play him as a man with lots of personal and professional jealousy, but also with a sense of regret.
– Something else I’ll tell you about my experience: Kris was terrific, Jill was funny, and Betsy and I had a lot of fun filming together!

12. Do you have any projects coming up?
– “Nancy Drew”, “Babysitters Club”, and “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” In those last two, guess what I’m playing! A teacher!

13. What is your dream role? Who would you love to work with someday?
– Dream role would be Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing”, opposite my wife. Doing it on stage would be ideal!
– Will Ferrell in his world would be awesome, and Jeff Goldblum gets more interesting as he gets older. So, I’d love to work with them one day.

14. Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories from any projects?
– In WCTH, in my scene with Lori talking about the bank, it was raining so hard that we were having trouble with the sound. When the robbers take me hostage to get the payroll, it was TORRENTIAL. We were completely soaked!
– (He sent this to me after because he remembered “the best story ever, of course the minute I hung up.” How sweet is that!) I was in a Netflix movie called “Okja” starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. We shot for three days in Manhattan, and one day on set this guy shows up that I saw out of the corner of my eye. He was wearing white jeans, a white T-shirt, and a white Fedora. As I was walking past on my way to set, I thought, “who’s that loser?” It was Brad Pitt. He was one of the movie’s producers.

15. Okay, time to really talk WCTH! First of all, does Mr. Jenkins have a first name?
– It was never scripted. Let’s go with Jerald. He goes by JJ. 😀

16. Why do you love playing him so much?
– I’ve gotten to play him a lot over several seasons. I really love horse country, so I love going to set; it’s like stepping back in time. I love history!
– I actually auditioned for Ned Yost, and a couple others, so I got to know the show well.
– Peter DeLuise, one of our directors, is such a great guy! Very talented, VERY funny!

17. Mr. Jenkins was not a very popular character in Season 5. Did you get a lot of negative audience reaction?
– It was more “Naughty, naughty, Mr. Jenkins. You rascal!” with the finger wagging. But I’m glad he could redeem himself. All Hope Valley people are good people, so they gave him a chance.

18. If you could write any plot for Jenkins, what would that story entail?
– First of all, Jenkins should NOT be a banker. He’s really bad with money! 😀 I picture him having lost all proceeds from selling the bank because he made a bad investment. He shows up destitute, scraggly beard, clothes are a mess, and he’s trying to get into mining. He has to rely on the kindness of others to help him get back on his feet, and he definitely needs a romance, (I suggested Florence, and he loved the idea!)

 

Well, that’s all for now. But come back on Friday for Milo’s favorite Jenkins moment in #FlashbackFriday. I hope you loved hearing more about Mr. ShanDEL as much as I did! He really was an amazing person to get very to know!

Please keep in mind as Christmas shopping season starts bustling: if you go to the bottom of the blog and click on an Amazon link you can do ANY Amazon shopping, (you don’t have to purchase the item you click on!), and you’ll be supporting the blog, which I would really appreciate! 😀 So that, and taking a moment to click on an ad would sure help out a lot, because every little bit helps. Have a great rest of your week, everybody! This is Hooked Heartie, signingoff! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Welcome to #WonderWednesday…albeit a day late! Sorry. Family stuff. Time to reveal who our mystery spotlight is. Funny coincidence, or maybe it was planned from the get-go, that the weekend of this man’s birthday, (there’s your hint! It’s a man!) coincides with the same weekend he’s being featured in a marathon. Does that give it away at all. Well, let’s do the big reveal, and find out, shall we? Drum roll please…………………………………….

 

 

 

And the mystery guest is…………….

 

 

 

 

This guy!

 

Photo credit: hallmarkmoviesandmysteries

 

Mr. Niall Matter is celebrating his 39th year of life this Sunday. And beginning this Saturday, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries is airing an Aurora Teagarden Mysteries marathon. Seeing as how Niall is a key character in 4 of those films, looks like several #Sleuthers will celebrating Niall’s birthday WITH him.

Quick sidenote since we’re talking about Aurora Teagarden – the other man I suspect to be front and center in the run of librarian mysteries is Yannick Bisson. He portrayed Martin, the spy boyfriend. But I just finished the BEST series on Hallmark Movies Now that was aired in the early 2000’s called Sue Thomas: FBEye. He plays an amazing FBI agent named…wait for it…Jack! So if you own the app, or you’re thinking about getting a free trial, try that show on for size. You will NOT regret it, especially if you love American Sign Language…and that’s all I’m going to say. 😉

Photo Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States

Okay, back to Niall. In honor of his birthday, I am reviewing Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse, the first of the trilogy that premiered in August. This is the first Aurora movie in which Nick is officially a significant other; he’s only been potential up to this point. It’s only fitting that we spotlight the installment in which the villain is obsessed with “Professor Charming”, as she calls him. Actually, there are THREE women obsessed with him in this film: Aurora, Valerie the housekeeper, (hence the socks in the title,) and Tammy’s character. Funny enough, Tammy’s character, Brie Carson, celebrated her birthday in this movie.

I admit, the saddest thing to me is when a murder mystery begins, and it becomes obvious that one of the victims is engaged. Just the thought of someone being taken down right before they begin their life with someone. It makes the homicide doubly tragic. And when we see the ransacked home of the first victim, there’s a knocked over vase of pink roses that I’m betting were from her fiancé, so it’s just sad.

But she doesn’t move on well, because she tries to kill the woman dating the next object of her affections. Nick’s (Niall) face upon learning that all this could be surrounding an obsession with him reminds me a lot of Lee when Bill asked him to fill in for him as sheriff. He laughs at the absurdity, then sobers when there’s no joke about it. You gotta feel sorry for the guy, discovering that people are getting hurt because of someone’s fixation on him. Interesting how she tries to justify and explain it. When she’s holding Roe at gunpoint, she lays into the killer’s soliloquy, saying that when “you study murder long enough,” you begin to wonder, “What are the rewards?” She answers herself immediately: “Control, power, the ability to right wrongs”. Apparently in her mind, Nick and Roe is a wrong to be righted, because she goes into a little tantrum, talking about how she quit her job to be with Nick, and it wasn’t fair that Roe cut in line when it was Brie’s turn…talk about childish!

To quote Oliver on Signed Sealed Delivered: From Paris With Love, it seems like “poetic justice” that Nick figures out that Brie is the murderer. He is the one who connects the handwriting Brie scribbles on the photos to her notes on students’ papers, then links that to her compulsions and habits that remove all doubt. The real justice, I think, is when Brie is searching through a barn for Roe, gun raised at the ready. Nick has come after Roe, thanks to a location app, and he’s searching the barn with a crowbar in hand. They stumble into each other. Busted! If she HAD gotten away with getting rid of Roe, I’m very doubtful she would have succeeded in securing his affections after THAT encounter. Hard to develop feelings for a person who offed your significant other; right, Gowen fans? 😉

Okay, let’s talk about the man of the hour. Niall plays really great romantic leads, and his characters are always so easy to talk to, among other things. For one thing, when Roe’s best friend, Sally, (not Roe herself, but her friend,) is in danger, Nick spends the night on the couch. He’s awakened in the middle of the night by a prowler, and chases after the shadow. He tells Roe to go back to bed, promising to stay up, and keep watch. And after all that, he leaves to teach an early class. And even though Roe brazenly declares, “I read modern detective novels, where women know how to rescue themselves!” he’s always there to “aid” in the rescue, (even though, in my opinion, he does quite a bit of rescuing!) What a guy!

My favorite moment, though, is toward the end, after the harrowing experience is finally over. Nick asks Aurora if she’s okay. She graciously and gratefully admits, “I’m okay because of you.” When she reciprocates the question, at first he just passes it off with, “Yeah.” Then he thinks better of the mundane answer, and starts spilling: “No. This past hour, thinking I might never see you again…” He interrupts himself to take her into his arms, and plant a very desperate kiss on her. He pulls back, very relieved, and almost sighs, “Now I’m okay.” Hard to resist that!

And that is where I leave you. If you haven’t seen A Game of Cat and Mouse, I’m betting you’ll have the chance this weekend, so stay tuned. Then we have a brand new episode of When Hope Calls dropping on Friday, the Good Witch Halloween movie on Saturday, and another Crossword Puzzle Mysteries on Sunday. Busy, busy! And stay tuned for Monday’s post, which will have another recap of When Hope Calls. See you then! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!