Heidi was a 1968 NBC made for TV film version of the original 1880 novel of the same name which debuted on November 17, 1968. It starred actress Jennifer Edwards, stepdaughter of Julie Andrews and daughter of Blake Edwards, in the title role, alongside Maximillian Schell, Jean Simmons, and Michael Redgrave. The score was composed by John Williams. The film was sponsored by Timex.
The film altered the plot of the novel somewhat by casting Simmons as Fraulein Rottenmeier, the governess, making the character far more sympathetic (thus eliminating the antagonism between her and Heidi), and introducing a romance between the governess and Schell's Herr Sesemann.
It also added a subplot in which Heidi's grandfather, a church organist in this version, has long been unable to play because of a family tragedy. At the very end of the film, he regains his confidence, mounts the steps to the organ, and begins to play.
Different from the book, the scene in which Clara walks for the first time after her accident does not take place in the Sessemann house but on the Swiss Alps. Clara, Fraulein Rottenmeier, and Herr Sessemann have come to Heidi's cottage to visit her and her grandfather. Clara is deliberately left alone on the mountains by Heidi's grandfather. She struggles to get out of her wheelchair, knocking it over and falling down in the process. As she tries to get up, she sees her father, Herr Sessemann, looking at her encouragingly, and haltingly walks towards him.
The film acquired notoriety since its airing in the United States cut off the final minute of a 1968 American Football League regular-season game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets, which became known as "The Heidi Game." During these last few minutes, Oakland suddenly scored two touchdowns and won the game, causing a tremendous upset that television viewers were denied seeing.
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