In 1974, Marlo Thomas and a group of friends – who happened to be shining stars in singing, songwriting, and storytelling – came together to produce a children’s movie called Free To Be… You And Me.
They also released an album of all the songs, which has since been remastered for CD.
My family had a copy on vinyl, and we played it over and over. And over. And over. Some songs were funny, with a catchy tune. Some were poignant and thought-provoking. Some weren’t songs at all, but conversations between characters.
When my brother and I had children of our own, he found the CD and we shared the music with them. The songs emerged from the social and cultural changes of the 60s and 70s, but the messages are timeless: play fair, be nice, dream big, do your share.
And the overarching message: people come in all shapes, sizes, and genders – and don’t assume you know all about someone based on that. (So, maybe that makes this post Gender Stuff, Part 5?)
Our daughters loved Free to Be… as much as we had. And I think we loved it even more than we had as children.
I didn’t know that it was a movie, until I searched for a link to the CD on Amazon for my last post. I found most of the film segments on YouTube. I’ve posted some of my favourites below.
There were several more that I didn’t find, including Don’t Dress Your Cat in an Apron, and Housework. They are on the CD and the DVD. If there are children in your life, I highly recommend sharing either version with them.
If you get the DVD, you’ll certainly notice how dated the outfits and settings are. No matter. Kids don’t care. And you’ll get a kick out of seeing a MUCH younger Alan Alda and Michael Jackson.
(the production value on this one segment is awful, but it shows you who is in the project and you can hear the theme song)
Boy Meets Girl (Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas)
Parents Are People (Marlo Thomas and Harry Belafonte)
William’s Doll (Alan Alda)
listening to: Chris Daughtry, What About Now