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America's FIRST reality TV family...

Author: gogo-latata from Seattle
13 September 2009

An amazing view of a "real family" -- I guess they were reality TV's FIRST family (before there e'en was "reality" TV). Priour to the Louds, the Duggars (sp?) or the Gosselins, the Dukes showed "reality" by just being real. No camera-ready drama, just the e'eryday workings of a very large family who really seemed to love one another (and still do).

This is a family of whom I'm sure many would love to see a "where-are-they-now" special. Sadness on Bill's passing but last I heard Louise is still very active and still living in the family home. I know Bobbi is STILL married to Gene. Ironically, I think most of the Dukes children only had a couple of kids themselves -- that's still a LOT of grands and great-grands for Louise.

MANY thanks to Mr. Wolper and the Dukes family for an amazing programme!

I wonder how much the Dukes and their lifestyle inspired the Waltons...

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Author: zeeland11 from United States
24 August 2006

I went to school with Carrie and John. My two younger brothers (six and ten years younger) each went to school with one of the Dukes. I was wondering is John, listed as Joseph? And wasn't there more children? I had heard that there was a total of 20 children born, but then those are the valley rumors. I had run into Carrie later and she had only one child, say that was it. Is that the same with the rest? I did like the show, because of seeing the RB valley before it changed with the times. Seeing old stores no longer in business (where the parents went to buy the lamp for the daughter's wedding present) There should be a part two to the movie, so to see the changes to the family and the neighborhood, all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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I'm glad people find this documentary interesting

Author: midatlanticoil from United States
19 June 2006

I'm going to say this documentary is ten. But then its hard to be objective when its your family.

You could say it was the start of "reality TV" If you're wondering what happened to the Dukes', they still live for the most part in Washington State. Louise is a beautiful Great Grandmother. Bill passed away in 2000. John also passed away. The rest of the family is doing fine. BTW Bill and Louise shared 50+ years of marriage.

For the most part this documentary is an accurate portrayal of our life at that time. Whether or not our family was the basis of other movies and TV shows can be called coincidence. But certainly it has been a part of film documentary history. One thing that has surprised me is that the film has been shown all over the world and dubbed into many languages. I've personally seen it on German and Greek TV.

I hope you enjoy it.

Kevin Dukes 2006

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A True Really BIG Family

Author: dfortier5 from Northern Ontario Canada
29 October 2005



Original post: This is a 1966 documentary of the Dukes family who have 18 children and lived in Washington State. The spectator goes through a whole week with the family, the week before the eldest daughter, Bobbi's wedding. The documentary is narrated by Henry Fonda, who, oddly enough, two years later would play the father of 18 kids in the movie Yours, Mine and Ours (1968).

The Dukes family consists of Bill Dukes, the dad, a shy man who says he never knew what it was like to have a family since he was an only child raised by "step-parents". More than wealth, leisure or peace of mind, this 41 year old dad wanted children. He wishes he were as good at his job at being a father as his wife is at being a mother. But he surely comes across as a terrific dad! He is a very humble man.

The mom is Louise, who is in the TRUE sense of the word: SUPERMOM! She comes from a family of 15, so lots of kids is the norm for her. She is an extremely patient mom who governs the house with a firm hand, but mostly with a loving one. When the kids are away she misses them. She says in a voice-over, "I'd be lost without them. The noise, the commotion, the 100 little problems. They're my life." Louise is a TRUE mother!

The kids are as follows: Bobbi, 21, is getting married and is busy making bridesmaid dresses for all her sisters.

Mary, 18, who can't wait to be on her own is furnishing an apartment. She said "We are a very close family, but sometimes when you look at a brother or sister, they're almost strangers. There are so many of us that Mother and Daddy just can't give us each a lot of personal attention. So we turn to each other for companionship. And we form pairs and little groups."

Anne, 17 is a loner and complains about lack of privacy. She doesn't want a large family, not more than 8 kids! "Large" is a relative term.

Billy at 16 is a typical teenage boy stuck in the middle of a bunch of sisters.

Then there are Linda, 15, Janice, 14, the studious twins Jimmy, and Jane, both 13. Then there is Theresa, 12, Michael, 11, and Miriam, 10. Then come Mark, 8, and Robert, 7 who love to fight. Next comes Carrie, 6, who can't wait to move from the nursery to the "big girls" bedroom. The younger ones are Gregory, 5, Joseph, 4, Kevin, 3, and finally, baby Angela, 1.

The Dukes family are extremely open and honest about how it REALLY is living in the family... fights and all! One keen observer noticed that in a 3 hour period there were 22 minor incidents, 5 serious skirmishes and one full-scale war!

In 1966, the Dukes' food budget was $260 per month. Any emergency that came up was taken out of the food budget. The Dukes bought everything in bulk. Flocks of 20 live chickens at 50¢ each, 100 lbs of flour and 30 lbs of peanut butter per month. 50 lbs of powdered milk for 4 gallons of milk a day, 20 dozen eggs a week. Louise Duke said "It's senseless to worry. I just keep shopping till the money runs out. Things will work out. They always do." Sometimes she had to stretch the food budget twice as long. They managed, she said.

They also bought groceries "on the hoof". Bill Dukes bought whole, live cattle, which he butchered himself and stored in the family meat locker. 500 lbs of beef lasted 3 months.

All in all we get a true sense of what it is like living in this family. No holds barred here. They tell it like it is. A wonderful documentary!

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