Where are they now? The guys who committed to watching every Hallmark Christmas movie
In October, readers were introduced to the men behind the increasingly popular 'Deck the Hallmark' podcast – three Greenville guys who committed to watching every newly released Hallmark Christmas movie this holiday season and reviewing them on their podcast.
That's 37 movies in roughly two months, including a burst of 9 new releases during the busy Thanksgiving week.
The commitment was daunting, as they noted, but for Brandon Gray, Daniel Thompson and Daniel Pandolph, it was worth a shot.
The guys are best friends; each married with young children. When they spoke to The News earlier this year, they said their time together had been limited since having children.
They welcomed the podcast as a new way to guarantee they'd get some additional quality time together, and despite the challenging schedule, they've accomplished that main goal.
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"I feel closer to the guys through all this," Pandolph said. "We've spent a lot of time together and we've had some great laughs. If anything, it has just reaffirmed what I already knew – we have a very special friendship."
But further solidifying that friendship wasn't without challenges.
When they mapped out the movie schedule, they realized the pressure they'd be put under during Thanksgiving – with travel plans and nine original movies released over the course of seven days, they'd have to figure out when and how to produce the podcast reviews without getting behind on new releases.
"It was definitely the most difficult week of the season for us," said Thompson. "Between spending time with family and knocking out nine movies in seven days, we were exhausted."
"It was the most painful week of our lives," Gray said. "It sucks all the joy that was to be had at Thanksgiving. Nine movies in one week – we would not advise. The only upside is it's made the rest of the season seem easy. So, glass half-full, right?"
They made a fun evening out of the the night they had to record seven podcasts back-to-back; gathering all of their families together for a podcast family dinner before the guys stepped away to record.
Despite the challenges, they've had fun along the way and they've seen the podcast grow in unimaginable ways.
"This has been far and away one of the most memorable things I've ever done after marriage and kids, obviously," Thompson said. "I honestly thought we'd watch a couple, no one would care and we'd move on with life."
Instead, the guys have been on Good Morning America, had stars from Hallmark movies on their show and racked up fans around the world.
As of earlier this month, they'd racked up nearly 325k listens with each episode getting more than 10k listens within a few days.
Podcast listeners only have to tune in for a few moments to learn where the three men stand on the movies. As they tell it; Gray loves them, Pandolph likes them and Thompson despises them.
And it seems those opinions haven't changed much over the course of dozens of films.
"Mine certainly hasn't; it's tough sledding watching these movies," Thompson said. "I guess I do see why they're so popular, because Christmas brings a yearning for the familiar and these films are all very familiar. They're just not for me, I guess... but I'm trying. I really am!"
They say they'd do the whole thing again. They've been asked by fans to make it a yearly tradition, but they would likely change the formula.
"With Hallmark adding more and more movies every year, this podcast will likely have to evolve," said Gray, "no way we can watch 50 Christmas movies in two months, but we'll do something, that's for sure!"
'Deck the Hallmark' is available on podcast apps and at deckthehallmark.com
Where are they now?
This is part of a series during the holidays in which The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail are taking time to update some of our most well-read stories of the past year, and some other stories that our readers regularly ask about.