"It seems strange that we haven't worked together," said Long, who came to fame 30 years ago as waitress Diane Chambers on
"We shared a nanny," recalled Williams, who demonstrated her uncanny mastery of slapstick as Shirley Feeney from 1976 to '83 onABC's"Laverne & Shirley." "I had a nanny who left me and went to work for her. We were talking about Nancy on the set, who we both loved. This was eons ago when the children were babies!"
Their styles of
As Shirley, Williams, along with
The styles merge in "Strawberry Summer." The story revolves around a small-town music teacher (Julia Mond) and queen of the annual Strawberry Festival, who finds love with a country singer (Trevor
But it's Long, 62, and Williams, 64, who really are the stars of this souffle. Long plays the teacher's caring mom who not only is a mean cook but a guiding force for her daughter. Williams is her good friend Ruth, who is heavily involved in the festival but is also fretting that she and her husband will lose the family farm.
"She has this innate rhythm," said Williams of Long. "You just know you could throw a ball and she could catch it. I don't know how to explain it."
"They are so funny and witty and clever and fast," said the film's director, Kevin Connor ("The Land That Time Forgot,"
The Hallmark Movie Channel and its sister network, the
Over the last few years, Roger Moore,
"Here are two of the most celebrated comedic actors in television," said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming for Hallmark Movie Channel, referring to Long and Williams. "Having them play off of each other reminds us of some of our favorite television shows."
But the Hallmark channels aren't the only ones that have struck gold with baby boomers using this formula.
Long and Williams aren't lacking for work. Long, who occasionally appears onABC's
And Williams is soon to get in the habit as a singing and dancing nun on a national tour of Dan Goggins' ("Nunsense") latest musical, "Nunset Boulevard."
And maybe the broadcast networks are studying Hallmark and TV Land. "It getting a bit more competitive out there [to hire veterans]," said Vicary. "The industry is taking notice."
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