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LOWTHER STEALS SHOW FROM HEPBURN

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Katherine Hepburn has top billing in "One Christmas" (8 p.m., Ch. 2), but local actor T.J. Lowther steals the show.

While Hepburn appears in but a few scenes, this movie - based on a Truman Capote short story - revolves around Lowther's character, 8-year-old Buddy.Buddy, who's lived all his life with his elderly cousin (Julie Harris) in Alabama, travels to New Orleans for Christmas 1929 to visit the father (Henry Winkler) he doesn't even remember.

The boy has been led to believe that his father is a successful businessman, but discovers he's a ne'er-do-well whose schemes involve turning on the charm and wheedling money out of women.

Winkler's character has his sights on a wealthy spinster (Swoozie Kurtz), whose aunt (Hepburn) tries to warn her off.

Lowther, whose credits include the movie "Perfect World," is great. His range is amazing, and there's a nice scene in which Lowther asks Hepburn whether there really is a Santa Claus.

You won't see much of Hepburn, but even a glimpse is worth watching. Winkler turns in one of his best performances, and Kurtz brings life to a difficult role.

In the end, this is a story about growing up and accepting the realities of life - something both father and son are forced to do.

"One Christmas" is also touching without being overly sentimental or maudlin. And just when it seems headed down a perfectly predictable path, the plot veers off into something more closely resembling reality.

This is the best made-for-Christmas made-for-TV movie of the season.