Home’s where Beth Polson’s heart remains

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

A new holiday movie, &uot;Secret Santa,&uot; airs 9 o’clock tonight on NBC-television, and viewers in this area may feel a sense of dj vu as they watch the mystery of an unknown Christmas-time philanthropist unfold. As the story’s author, Beth Polson, said, viewers will &uot;see a lot of Gates County (N.C.) in the movie.&uot;

By her own admission, every book and movie Polson has created contains a little of her heart and a lot of Gates County. She has achieved major success with respect to her career, but an even greater success in her pastoral life back home in Corapeake, a little town on Route 32.

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&uot;I am so blessed to have such good friends in Gates County, and my 95-year old mother is there and she is such a joy,&uot; said Polson, the author known as the Christmas Movie Maven. &uot;I come home from Pasadena, Calif., where my production company is located, at least once a month to see my mother and I visit with my friends. People like Ora Baker, my cousin. We graduated from Gates County High School together and we are still very close friends.&uot;

Polson is an extremely prolific writer these days, but she’s been writing all her life. Even as a child, she wanted to be a writer. She began as a reporter for two newspapers and never had any intention of writing a book. She was working for CBS-television when a producer asked her if she could turn a movie into a book.

&uot;I just said yes, and forgot all about it,&uot; she explained. &uot;Then, about three days later he said get ready to go to New York to meet with publishers about the book. I asked, what book? I had no idea where a book was coming from at that point.&uot;

Polson may have had no idea she had a book in her, but from that point on, she has been prolific and earned the title of &uot;Christmas Movie Maven.&uot; A partial list of her credits include &uot;Miss Lettie and Me,&uot; a movie for TNT staring Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds; &uot;Santa and Pete&uot; for CBS with Hume Cronyn and James Earl Jones; A Christmas Wish&uot; for CBS, staring Debbie Reynolds and Neil Patrick Harris; and &uot;The Christmas Box,&uot; again for CBS with Maureen O’Hara and Richard Thomas.

&uot;I believe that the greatest gift is when you give and expect nothing in return,&uot; said Polson. &uot;If we could all give to each other… That’s what Christmas is all about, and I think that comes through in Secret Santa.&uot;

Polson said she was at first a little disturbed that NBC pitted her movie against CBS’s &uot;Survivor,&uot; but that thought was quickly banished as she recalled the book of 1Samuel, verse 32; And David said to Saul, let no man’s heart fail because of him (Goliath).

&uot;I guess they (NBC) thought Secret Santa was good enough to go up against ‘Survivor,’&uot; said Polson. &uot;I feel like David, from the Bible, who went up against Goliath. It will be interesting to see what people choose to watch.&uot;