An American Family Screenings
12:15 PM ET
FREE for Paley Center Members.
Included with admission for the general public.
PBS's An American Family was a twelve-part documentary series that recorded the everyday lives of the Loud family from May 30 through December 31, 1971. Producer Craig Gilbert spent many months to find that one family in over fifty million available in the early seventies that would serve as the real-life counterpart of such idealized TV families as Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show. Pat and Bill Loud were a handsome, affluent couple with five children, living in Santa Barbara, California. More than three-hundred hours of their family life was shot on 16mm film. Although there were various story lines in An American Family, the dominant themes were the marital problems of the parents and the flamboyant lifestyle of the eldest son, Lance. Divorce was a novel topic for prime time, and few TV viewers had ever encountered an openly gay man before. An American Family opened up the institution of the family and issues of gender, sexuality and interpersonal relationships for public discussion, becoming a touchstone for a new generation of documentary and reality producers later on.
An American Family has never been distributed on DVD and the Paley Center is pleased to screen the entire series over two weekends.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Episode #1The show begins with the last night of filming the Loud family—Bill spends New Year’s Eve at a nightclub while Pat and the kids have a party at their home. It segues into the beginning of filming prior to Bill and Pat’s separation.
Episode #2Pat visits son Lance in New York. The two go to a transvestite play, an Andy Warhol exhibit, and the musical No, No Nanette.
Episode #3Delilah and Michele perform in a dance recital. On her way back from visiting Lance in New York, Pat stops in Baltimore to check on a shipment for Bill’s company.
Episode #4Lance, after moving into an apartment on Eighth Avenue, is thinking of going to Europe with a theater group. Pat visits her mother in Eugene, Oregon, and the two reminisce.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Episode #5Pat, Michele, Delilah, and Delilah’s friend Suzanne go to Taos, New Mexico. Bill arranges for Grant to get a job pouring concrete in Orange County and for Kevin to accompany some business associates to Austria and Southeast Asia.
Episode #6Pat and Bill discuss finances and their differing attitudes towards the children. The Louds’ home is threatened by a brush fire. The family receives calls from Kevin in Indonesia and Lance in Paris.
Episode #7Pat and Bill attend the Santa Barbara fiesta and also begin to discuss the idea of a separation. Grant becomes worried after he accidently damages the family car.
Episode #8Pat decides to file for divorce. Bill goes on a cross-country business trip.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Episode #9When Bill returns home from his business trip, Pat asks him to move out of the house.
1:30 pmKevin returns home from his trip abroad and the Loud children begin a new school year. Bill moves into his own apartment. Lance’s trip has now taken him to Copenhagen.
Episode #11Lance visits the family. The family celebrates Pat’s forty-fifth birthday.
Episode #12Bill disagrees on how much alimony he should pay Pat. Bill and Pat separately meet with friends and discuss their divorce and the future.