Saturday, September 5, 2015

Literary Toons (and other things): Free to be....You & Me (1974)

Actress-turned-activist Marlo Thomas (ex-That Girl) was the founder of the Ms. Foundation, formed in 1972. In November of that year, the Ms. Foundation released a picture book, Free to be....You & Me, which was turned into a primetime special for ABC in March 1974. Amazingly, it was never repurposed as an ABC Afterschool Special, though it could've easily done so.

Thomas leads an all-star cast, including football player-turned-actor and sometime singer Roosevelt Grier (ex-Daniel Boone), Alan Alda (M*A*S*H), Tom Smothers, and Michael Jackson, in a enriching, educational, and enlightening, tune-filled hour, which was last seen on TV Land a few years ago. Glen Murakami & Fred Wolf's studio provided the animation, but there were some live action moments, too, including musical numbers by Grier and Jackson.

I can recall my 6th grade music class performing the title song at a school function a year later, but, today, I couldn't remember the lyrics if I tried. Just saying and sharing.

To give you some idea, we present an animated clip, "William Wants a Doll", a duet between Alda & Thomas.

Today, Marlo Thomas is the national spokesperson for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, founded by her father, Danny Thomas. And while there was a Free to be..... sequel, produced in 1988, you'd think there'd be interest in doing another, but not now.

Rating: B.

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