Episode 5: The Dance
From the Production Journal of Michael Landon Jr. and Brian Bird, Executive Producers and Creators of "When Calls the Heart"
Now that the script is finished for Episode 5, which we’re calling "The Dance" -- written by our pal Ken Lazebnik, famous for his many brilliant scripts for "Touched By An Angel" and "Prairie Home Companion" -- most people will probably have their eyes on the love triangle Ken created for this episode. The handsome stranger comes to town and slathers on poetry and charm in an effort to woo our heroine, Elizabeth, away from her feelings for Mountie Jack. But what I think will be most arresting in the episode is the other love triangle, in the powerfully simple story of a young boy, Caleb, who is still mourning the death of his father and reacts angrily to the idea of his Ma being courted by a new man. He’s not ready after six months to have his father replaced. The memories are too fresh and painful and he’s afraid if his Ma finds love again, they’ll all soon forget his Pa. Of course, Caleb’s mother Mary is only trying to look out for her son’s future. She’s a poor widow with no appreciable means for caring for her son, and marrying again would mean provision. It’s a catch 22 for all of them. The storyline climaxes movingly when Caleb shows up to the town-dance where his mother and her new man have gone, and the boy is dressed in his father’s best Sunday suit coat. The symbolism of that act transfixes the crowd at the dance and galvanizes the power of grief for the entire town. It’s a terrific story by a terrific writer. Can I just say, "It’s a pleasure to work on this show and I love my job." I hope the audience loves this show as much as I do.