Free to Be... a Family

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Free to Be... A Family is a television special hosted by Marlo Thomas broadcast on December 14, 1988.[1] It was especially notable as a joint production of ABC and Soviet Russia, then three years from collapse. It was a sequel to the popular 1974 ABC Afterschool Special Free to Be... You and Me, also hosted by Thomas.[2] Among the performers on the 1988 show were The Muppets, Jon Bon Jovi, Penn and Teller, Carly Simon, Lily Tomlin, and Robin Williams.

After her husband, talk show host Phil Donahue, hosted a series of U.S.-Russian space-bridge telecasts throughout the `80's, Thomas decided that this kind of international understanding and cooperation should start at a much earlier age. "The purpose of the special was to emphasize the fact that kids in the U.S. and Russia are much the same and can relate to one another, in hopes of bringing peace between the nations."[3] Prior to the television special, there was a book, with contributions by Christopher Cerf among others, and a record album, both under the same title.[4]

It won the 1989 Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.[5]


Other editionsEdit

  • A&M Records SP 5196, 1988 soundtrack, Free to Be... A Family
  • Family Home Entertainment, 1993 VHS, Free to Be... A Family
  • Marlo Thomas. Free to be a Family: A book about all kinds of belonging, Bantam, October 1987, ISBN 978-0553052350


  1. ^ Rotskoff, Lori (November 2012). When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0807837238.
  2. ^ Douglas, Susan Jeanne (February 2004). The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0743259996.
  3. ^ Leal, Andrew (May 2009). Garlen, Jennifer C.; Graham, Anissa M. (eds.). Muppets and Money. Kermit Culture: Critical Perspectives on Jim Henson's Muppets. McFarland & Company. p. 213. ISBN 978-0786442591.
  4. ^ Mickenberg, Julia; Vallone, Lynne (March 2011). The Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature. Oxford University Press. pp. 533–534. ISBN 978-0195379785.
  5. ^ "Outstanding Children's Program – 1989". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 5, 2014.

External linksEdit