Door to Door
2002 | Turner Network Television, HBO Original Programming, Rosemont Productions International Ltd., Angel Brown Productions, in association with Spirit Dance Productions
Door to Door chronicles the life of Bill Porter. Stricken with cerebral palsy as the result of an accident at his birth, Porter went on to become a successful door-to-door salesman with the Watkins Company. But this film is much more than the story of one man’s life, one man’s struggle to overcome adversity. Rather, it is a story of how that one man’s life and work, his commitment and compassion, his wit and his stamina intertwined in the lives of those around him and, in so many cases, changed them for the better. Without a hint of false sentiment, Co-Writers William H. Macy and Steven Schacter open Porter’s story as he secures his first job at Watkins, a position he holds until this day. As we follow him through the years, tracing the gradual decline of the role of door-to-door sales efforts, we also follow the creation of a community of individuals whose lives he touches, lives such as the solitary Gladys (Kathy Baker), to whom he made his first sale, and who buys products she never uses merely to secure Bill’s brief moments of companionship. Much of his indomitable spirit is shaped by his mother, played wonderfully by Helen Mirren. As she descends into her own dementia, Bill never ceases to care for her in every possible way. With his young assistant, Shelly Brady (Kyra Sedgwick), he develops a close, sometimes frustrating relationship. But it is Shelly who pulls him from his own depression and back to his life as a salesman-counselor-friend. Expertly directed by Steven Schacter, Macy offers a tour-de-force performance in which Porter’s physical challenges almost disappear. Executive Producers for Door to Door were David A. Rosemont, Dan Angel, and Billy Brown. Co-Executive Producers were Forest Whitaker and Robert J. King, with Warren Carr as Producer. For the life lived by Bill Porter, and for his story captured on film, a Peabody Award goes to Door to Door.