Semi-standard ABC Afterschool Special about Francesca James, a teenage daughter dealing with her alcoholic mother through the support group Ala-Teen.



(teleplay), (novel) (as Joan L. Oppenheimer)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Francesca James
Lillian James
Dennis Bowen ...
Tara Talboy ...
Peter Brandon ...
Elizabeth Herbert ...
Jo Lynn
Benny Medina ...
Doney Oatman ...
Scot Marc Sovie ...
Mona Tera ...
Lee Kessler ...
Miss Handley
Jody Britt ...


Teenage Francesca James has had to pick up the slack at home, to cover for her father Bix's long trips away working, and for her mother Lillian's drinking, which has become worse in the months since Francesca's brother died in an accident. New neighbor Connie helps out, but can't prevent Lillian from ruining Kate's birthday party. Lillian also endangers them by dropping a lit cigarette on her pillow after a binge, nearly causing a house fire. Enough clues have slipped out to Francesca's friends to be concerned, and they invite her to AlaTeen. Angered at first by the approach, Francesca comes to value the things they teach her, and helps Lillian begin to help herself. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

6 October 1976 (USA)  »

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Referenced in Teenage Superhero Pregnancy Scare (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A Brilliant Fim About Denial and Intervention
2 July 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This is a brilliant film, and Walt Disney should be ashamed of themselves for letting it fall into obscurity.

I first saw it on 16mm around 1980, and even then it was little known. It is a tear jerker, and appropriately so. The point is it gets its message across.

As a resource for teaching about denial and intervention (in this case an alcoholic mother) the movie is very powerful. The scene where the girls prepare a fire escape in case their mother accidentally sets fire to the house (she smokes and drinks in bed), is one of the most powerful I have ever seen.

Although it may appear a bit dated today the message is timeless. This movie should be resurrected and shown in all schools to all children.

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