By MIKE CHAIKEN
Nearby New Britain may have gotten the most name-checks in the television movie “A Very Merry Toy Store,” which aired on Nov. 26 on Lifetime.
But Bristol, which also was used for a setting for the film, had its fair share of familiar landmarks flash across the screen. For instance, Main Street storefronts served as the toy stores in title. And a visit to the Bristol Public Library also helped propel the plot.
And viewers in Bristol also may have spotted a neighbor or two in the scenes, including the three Merrifield sisters—Alexis, 9, Maddie, 7, and Sophia, 5, who are in a scene with the film’s villain Roy of Roy’s Toys (played by Billy Gardell of “Mike and Molly” fame).
The Lifetime film follows the efforts of two rival toy store owners—played by Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez—who team up to thwart the opening of a big box toy store that could put them out of business just in time for Christmas.
The three Merrifield sisters – who are all students at Ivy Drive School— were part of a scene where Gardell is filming a commercial about Roy’s Toys. They were three of several children in the shot.
To see herself on the screen, Alexis said, “It felt exciting and happy. I’ve done things in the past and I’ve always been blurred out and this time I actually saw myself. And I want to do more.”
“I felt tired and wonderful,” said Maddie of seeing herself on television. “The movie was on very late,” she explained
Maddie added, “I was proud because I felt like I did a good job.”
“I felt happy and good,” said Sophie about seeing herself on television. When she did the scene, Alexis said, “I did what the director told me to do. They would say ‘action.’ ‘Roll film.’ And ‘cut.’” However, not all went well during the filming. Alexis said, “My pants got stuck to the seat once and I ruined the scene.”
“I had to wear a winter coat in the summer. It was very hot,” said Maddie. “I had to fake laugh a lot. And smile a lot.”
“We had to do the same scene 10 times in front of a green background. There was an ice cream truck for free and make your own tacos for free,” said Sophie.
Being with her sisters on set was fun, Alexis said, “I got to see my sisters’ good acting skills.”
“It wouldn’t be as fun without my sisters and we got to meet other friends because Lexi went up and met them,” said Maddie
“I would be scared without them (her sisters),” said Sophie.
As for how she liked the rest of the actors, especially Gardell, Alexis said, “They were funny and they were cool. I think they were famous.”
“I liked him (Billy Gardell) because he was funny. But I didn’t like him because he was the bad guy in the movie,” said Maddie.
But Sophie said, “Who is Billy Gardell?”
“A Very Merry Toy Store” is available through Xfinity StreamTV’s app.