“Holiday Memories from Nashville” is her first Thanksgiving program and also marks the first time that someone besides Hand has been responsible for the script. The head writer for the show is Martha Bolton, a former staff writer for Bob Hope.
Hand said Bolton paid her a high compliment for a performer during filming by comparing her to Hope.
“She said, ‘Edie is just like Bob was. I feed her the lines three times and she gets it,’” Hand said.
Hand will be joined by country music singers Ronnie Milsap, Andy Griggs, Jeff Cook, Buddy Jewell, Ronnie McDowell and others.
Local resident Jilda Watson will help Hand cook the traditional Thanksgiving turkey in one humorous sketch.
The show will also carry a serious message about the work being done at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Terre Thomas, daughter of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, will make an appearance. Hand said that local advertising revenues to her Edie Hand Foundation will be donated to St. Jude in each sponsor’s name.
Hand said the special will also include favorite holiday memories from the stars and several uplifting songs.
Former Statler Brothers member Jimmy Fortune will debut the tune “Through It All,” which was written by Grammy-winning songwriter Ben Peters. Fortune will share the singing duties with Peters’ son, Justin.
Both of the holiday shows were filmed in Nashville at the home of Peters’ wife, Jackie. Ben Peters, who penned hits such as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” and “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” died in 2005.
Hand said “Through It All,” which was never published before Peters’ death, is sure to tug at the heartstrings of Americans living through two wars and tough economic times.
“This song is going to touch all ages,” Hand said.
Filming for the Thanksgiving special was scheduled to end at 7 p.m. when the show was taped in February. However, there was so much content that filming was extended to 1 a.m. and Hand decided to produce a second special, “Holiday Memories: A Tribute to Charley Pride and the Music of Ben Peters.”
“We had so many talented people there that we couldn’t get them all in one show,” Hand said.
Jackie Peters will be sharing the story behind her husband’s hit made famous by Charley Pride, “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.”
Peters had a habit of kissing his wife every morning. When she found out that she was expecting the couple’s third child, she said she wanted to name the baby Angela if it was a girl.
“He said, ‘Well, I guess I’ll be kissing my angels every morning.’ He was inspired by that and wrote the song,” Hand said.
Pride, Milsap, Griggs and McDowell will form a quartet for a rendition of “Silent Night.”
“Holiday Memories from Nashville” will air Sunday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. on ABC 33/40.
“Holiday Memories: A Tribute to Charley Pride and the Music of Ben Peters” will debut locally on Saturday, Dec. 25 at 1 p.m.
Both specials will be viewed by national and international audiences throughout November and December and will also be available online at iTunes and Hand’s website, www.ediehandfoundation.org.