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American Playhouse; Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, The

Part of New Television Workshop.


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American Playhouse
Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, The
Series Description

Weekly series of drama, comedy and musical productions. See individual titles or press kit for more info. or description. First production: John Cheever's "The Shady Hill Kidnapping." AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE productions have included filming stage presentations; theatrically released films; produced for television dramas. Series release date: 1/1982

Program Description

Jean Shepherd’s hilarious and universally appealing television memoir of a Fourth of July holiday in middle America, when children and adults behave exactly alike. starring Matt Dillon as the young Shepherd, James Broderick and Barbara Bolton. In “The Great American Fourth of July” writer Jean Shepherd, as an older “Ralph,” recalls his memory of a particular Fourth of July from his high-school years in Hollman, Indiana. Ralph plays the sousaphone in the high-school band to the instructions of the baton-twirling drum master Wilbur Duckworth. Ralph is grudgingly set up on a blind date, only to find himself in the company of the gorgeous Miss Junior Corn Blossom, who rejects his advances. On the Fourth of July Duckworth causes a power outage by twirling his baton onto an electrical line during a parade; the town drunk Ludlow Kissel sets off an enormous firework that explodes under his own porch; and Ralph’s father entertains the neighbors with his annual dramatic display of fireworks.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Fourth of July
Marching bands
Shepherd, Jean ()
Olivia Tappan (Producer)
Linda Merrill (Producer)
Cox, Arnie (Subject)
Broderick, James (Subject)
McCullough, Andrea (Subject)
Blood, John (Subject)
Daphne (Dog) (Subject)
Moore, Mike (Subject)
Smiar, Brian (Subject)
Lampley, William (Subject)
Edinberg, Ruth (Subject)
Hardwick, Dana (Subject)
Childs, Christopher (Subject)
Yonis, Jeff (Subject)
McMaster, Paul (Subject)
Jacobsen, Lisa (Subject)
Ine, Jay (Subject)
Wilson, Harriet (Subject)
Dillon, Matt (Subject)
Riker, William R (Subject)
Bolton, Barbara (Subject)
Dolan, Frank (Subject)
Chicago: “American Playhouse; Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, The,” 02/26/1982, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed May 26, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_600E7CC2452949C1B8F7B384CA160703.
MLA: “American Playhouse; Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, The.” 02/26/1982. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. May 26, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_600E7CC2452949C1B8F7B384CA160703>.
APA: American Playhouse; Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_600E7CC2452949C1B8F7B384CA160703
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