`New Plan' has air of familiarity

Film: Made-for-TV movie tells of a dying mother's urging her husband to wed their baby's nurse.

February 18, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Local TV viewers may have experienced some serious deja vu Tuesday night while watching the CBS film "God's New Plan."

The movie starred Katey Sagal ("Married With Children") as Alex, a new mother who finds out she suffers from a terminal disease. Realizing she won't be around for her daughter, Alex pens a series of letters for young Emmy to read as she grows into womanhood. And, worried about her husband, Brian (Tom Irwin), she urges him to marry Emmy's nurse, Claire (Annabeth Gish) -- the better to ensure both his and Emmy's happiness.

Two years ago, The Sun published "God's Other Plan," a 16-part series by reporter Patricia Meisol. The stories centered on new mother Marci Glazer Crosby, who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, wrote a series of letters to her daughter, Jessica. After Marci's death, her husband, Bob, married her neonatal care nurse, Anita Root.

Coincidence? Tough to say.

Although it was billed as based on a true story, the production company responsible for "God's New Plan," Orly Adelson Productions, refuses to say who the film is based on or even where the family lived. Meisol says she was contacted by Adelson but referred her to the Glazers and the Crosbys. Marci's parents, Lowell and Harriet Glazer, say they were never consulted about the film. Bob Crosby, now living in California, was reluctant to discuss the film. "I appreciate where I am and don't want to go back," he says.

But surely one story begat the other. It doesn't take a great leap of faith to move from "God's Other Plan" to "God's New Plan." Jody Hotchkiss, who works for a New York literary agency, acknowledges having conversations with both Meisol and Adelson. And snatches of dialogue from the film, as well as some of the literary devices used in it, can be found in the Sun story.

One person who has no doubt that "God's New Plan" is the story of Marci Glazer Crosby is her mother, Harriet.

"Obviously it was," she said after watching the film. "There's no question about that there isn't a person in Baltimore who didn't know that."

Harriet Glazer said she wasn't overly impressed with "God's New Plan," but she wasn't angry that it aired. Still, she felt the film made some odd choices.

"My husband was not mentioned at all," she said. "It was like he never existed, and he was like No. 1 in her life."

Pub Date: 2/18/99

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