Episode 11: Rules of Engagement
From the Production Journal of Michael Landon Jr. and Brian Bird, Executive Producers and Creators of "When Calls the Heart"
Producers’ Note: Since this journal entry was written, the ‘tsunami of support’ for When Calls the Heart Michael Landon, Jr., writes about below is now cresting on the shores of social media with the rise of #Hearties fan group. Thank you for your tireless efforts to spread the word about the show! Move over Trekkies, the #Hearties are in the house!
“There is a bite in the air this morning in ‘Coal Valley,’ but as the cast and crew are reporting for work on Episode 11, which we are calling ‘Rules of Engagement,’ we all have a sense of warmth and pride in our hearts about the work we’ve been doing all these months. This is a family in the truest sense of the word and Coal Valley is becoming an honest-to-goodness community. Yes, it is a fictional place, thanks to the help of our inspiration, Janette Oke, but I have to say the values and virtues this place represents feel very real and powerful to me. When I was a kid, I remember my Dad coming home one night and telling me the same thing about ‘Walnut Grove’ (thanks to Laura Ingalls Wilder). Where else in all of television right now, can we go every week to see and hear characters encourage each other through their hardships? Where else are we going to see characters stand up for their convictions or put their lives on the line to protect one another from harm and the challenges of life? Our culture desperately needs what Coal Valley stands for. Our kids need teachers like Elizabeth Thatcher. Moms need role models like Abigail Stanton and Cat Montgomery. Dads need heroes like Jack Thornton and the hardworking miner-fathers in this town to emulate. Yes, we almost finished with our work on the first season of ‘When Calls the Heart,’ and we hope the audience will make their voices heard loud and clear that Coal Valley is a place they want to return to for years go come. And now that the early ratings are coming in on the first few episodes, we are sensing a wave of support growing. People are saying ‘this is the show we’ve been waiting for, hoping for, this is a show our families and society needs.’ We hope it is more than a wave. We hope it’s a tsunami. But not just for ‘When Calls the Heart.’ For all the life-and-hope-affirming TV the Hallmark Channel and others are working hard to put on the air.” -- Mike Landon, Day 1, Episode 11