Theater: A Ghost Sonata in Sitcom Land Home Front

by James Duff

Are these the Cleavers or the Bunkers, this family of four preparing for an ordinary Thanksgiving in 1973? There's Dad (Carroll O'Connor), screwing himself into his easy chair, deflecting harsh words and harder responsibilities. Mom (Frances Sternhagen) is patrolling the house in her robe and bunny snood, calling "Wakey uppy! Wakey uppy!" in the tinny cascades of Texas motherhood. Sis (Linda Cook) is chatting on the phone with her boyfriend and threatening to "devote my entire life to crisis counseling for the holiday-impaired. My mother can be the poster child." And young Jeremy (Christopher Fields), just back from the war, slouches...

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