American Playhouse (TV Series)
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This is the definitive Fourth of July movie, an encapsulation of several of Sheps fondest stories from his days on the radio. The movie climaxes with the "Ballad of Ludlow Kissel" sung and performed by Sheps late wife and co-writer, Leigh Brown. If you can find it on DVD, or VHS, it is worth the effort.
This is a gem that deserves to be reintroduced to the American Public. Thanks Shep for the stories, and Exclesior, You Fatheads!
Most memorable is the lag lamp scene. It is just like in "A Christmas Story". There is even a reference to it in the 1983 Christmas movie. As the father is admiring his major award, he says "It's like the fourth of July". If that isn't a reference back to this show, I'll eat my shoe.
I'm told this is not available for purchase which is really too bad.
Director Richard Bartlett follow much of the same style that infused Hearth with a combination of comic hyperbole and bittersweet existence all tempered by the teen glee of Jean Shephard's narration. James Broderick and Mary Bolton as the parents are back giving superbly understated performances while newcomer Matt Dillon shines as the narrator in his youth botching his blind date with cringing results.
A Christmas Story by Shephard was turned into a minor film by a Hollywood studio in 83 and has since attained an amazing cult status and justly so. But for my money 4th of July along with Hearth do Shephard and his story more justice because they are more subtle, less in a hurry to get the big laugh and have James Broderick.