Watching Ernest Borgnine, it’s hard to imagine he’s 91. Sure, there’s snow on top, but that booming voice remains, as does the huge gap in his kisser. All that was present when Borgnine and 12-year-old Juliette Goglia teamed on this film about a grandfather and his estranged granddaughter. The two begin icily but, you guessed it, warm up at holiday time. A plus was the chemistry between them, on screen and off. Asked by reporters how she got on with Borgnine, Goglia answered innocently, "I’ve never met anyone older than him." Borgnine led the laughter that ensued.

Fast Facts

  • Borgnine received a Golden Globe nomination for this film, 50 years after his win for Marty.

  • Grandpa was Hallmark’s third-best-rated original film.

Honorable Mentions:
Genie Francis, The Note, Hallmark Channel: We remember Genie Francis as the fairer half of General Hospital’s Luke and Laura. Days before The Note ran, she issued an apology for leaving GH abruptly in ’82. That and her soulful performance as a highly principled journalist (we identified with that, of course) helped propel Hallmark to the top of cable’s ratings for prime time, Dec 8.

Nancy Travis, The Bill Engvall Show, TBS: Want insight into Nancy Travis’ character Susan? See how she handles husband Bill (Bill Engvall). She cheerily asks Bill what he’d like for dinner. Pizza or pork chops? Bill answers pork chops. Susan deflates immediately. "They’re not even defrosted yet," she moans, as Bill says, "OK, it’s not important." "Oh, yes, you want those pork chops, I can tell," she says, ignoring Bill as she rushes to the freezer. "Do you think you could give me more notice next time?" she says with resignation.

Return to 2008 CableFAX Program Awards table of contents.

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