Home front a Look at Small Town Americana


Back in the 90s, a great television show was introduced on ABC Television between September 24, 1991, and April 26, 1993. Unfortunately, this highly acclaimed program which critics raved was yanked around so much that the public barely had the opportunity to embrace the families in a small town in Ohio right after World War II. Created by Lynn Latham and Bernard Lechowick.

The drama plays out kind of innocently during the early episodes and ends up more like a soap opera. To follow the story, here is the character breakdown:

The Metcalf Family –

Anne Metcalf (Wendy Phillips) is the matriarch of the family. Her husband died some years ago before the war and was unfaithful in the marriage. She worked at the Sloan plant during the war in order to support her family but was laid off when the men came back home. A very devout Catholic who likes to analyze the correctness of every thought, word, and deed.

Jeff Metcalf (Kyle Chandler) is the youngest in the family. His dream is to be a baseball player. He had a fling with his brother’s girlfriend while he was off at war, but had his heartbroken when she married his brother. He eventually fell in love with his sister’s best friend, Ginger, until they had a falling out. Then a brief fling with Charlie’s ex-wife until he realized he loved Ginger after all. When not playing ball, he works in a bar, although he had a brief fling with radio commercials for Lemo Tomato Juice.

Hank Metcalf (David Newsom) is the oldest son. He just came back from war hoping to find things exactly as he left them and was disappointed to find the changes. He was worried when his girlfriend seemed to avoid him, but delighted when she decided to marry him. It wasn’t until her death that he realized how she and his brother betrayed him. He left town after his wife dies.

When he came back to town, he worked for the Sloan plant and was made a manager in an effort to keep him out of the union. His position was in direct opposition to his sister who was a very active union member.

Linda Metcalf (Jessica Steen) is the middle child and best friends with Ginger. She worked at the Sloan plant (as it seems everyone does). She has been fired when the men came back from the war but made such a protest that they took her back. She has fired again for going to her brother’s wedding. Then they took her back.

That was when she became really active in the union. Her heart was broken in the beginning when not only did she realize her boyfriend got married to someone else while overseas and she was having his baby, but he was also killed.

Sarah Brewer-Metcalf (Alexandra Wilson) was not much of a pivotal character beyond the first episode. She had a fling with Jeff while her boyfriend, Hank was at war. Eventually, she married Hank. She felt a pang of jealousy when Jeff found love elsewhere, but she eventually got over it. She gets killed when someone protesting the Sloan plant lockout came by and shot at the house.

The Hailey Family –

Charlie Hailey (Harry O’Reilly) before the war promised to marry Ginger but came back with his British bride, Caroline. When he came back he worked at the plant that everyone works. We come to realize his attitudes were all too common for that era, closet racist and sexist. He expected his wife to have a lot of babies, cook, clean, and want to stay at home. She had other things in mind. Eventually, he divorces her and marries Gina.

Caroline Hailey (Sammi Davis-Voss) arrived from England after the war ahead of her husband. In a few words, she is a scheming gold digger. She does not want to have children. She only married Charlie in order to live in the United States. She would do anything to save her own interests including being unfaithful, blackmail, and betraying her husband’s confidence with secrets of the union which would eventually cause death and many injuries for her actions.

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