For, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

The TV movie "The Thanksgiving Treasure" (1973) is a sequel to "The House Without a Christmas Tree" (1972) and features the same cast — Lisa Lucas as Addie Mills, Jason Robards as her grumpy father and Mildred Natwick as her sweet grandmother, Robards' mother. (Two more sequels would follow.)

The gentle story is adapted from Gail Rock's novelized memoirs for youth readers and the production values are vivid in this period piece.

It's the 1940s in a small rural town in Nebraska and Addie's schoolteacher encourages the children to make friends of enemies. So Addie suggests inviting to Thanksgiving dinner an elderly man (Barnard Hughes) with whom her father is feuding. Needless to say, Dad says not. Adamantly.

So Addie takes some of her Thanksgiving Dinner to the man and, despite his being twice as grumpy as her father, befriends him and stars taking care of his horse.


     Jason Robards, Lisa Lucas, 'The Thanksgiving Treasure'

It's a sweet story and the cast is wonderful, although it's directed a bit more like a play than a film or TV show. As a result some of the performances are quite theatrical and occasionally off-putting. Especially Lisa Lucas as Addie.

In the end, the warmth of the show stands out more than its weaknesses and watching three old pros like Robards, Natwick and Hughes in action is well worth the price of admission.

This is the DVD debut of "The Thanksgiving Treasure" (it was on VHS in 1998 under the title "Holiday Treasure") and it has been made part of a double-feature disc that includes the first in the series, "The House Without a Christmas Tree," which was previously released as a stand-alone DVD.