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Free Country

1 9 7 8 (USA)
5 x 30 minute episodes

This was the story of a Lithuanian immigrant named Joseph Bresner (Rob Reiner) who came to New York in 1906. His bride-to-be, Anna (Judy Kahan), followed suit in 1909.

Reiner got to play dual roles, beginning each episode as the 89-year-old Joseph Bresner in the current day, and when he’d reminisce, we would see the same Joseph Bresner in his youth at the turn of the century.

The Bresners had neighbours named Sidney and Ida Gewertzman (Fred McCarren and Renee Lippin); a friend named Louis Peschi (Joe Pantoliano) and a boarder named Leo Gold (Larry Gelman).

Stories each week dealt with how the Bresners adapted to the sometimes odd customs of this “free country.” Joseph was always afraid of being deported because he was something of a revolutionary in the old country.

Rob Reiner was not happy with ABC’s treatment of this show. He wanted 13 episodes, ABC gave him five and relegated it to be a summer replacement series.

Joseph Bresner
Rob Reiner
Anna
Judy Kahan
Sidney Gewertzman 
Fred McCarren
Ida Gewertzman
Renee Lippin
Louis Peschi
Joe Pantoliano
Leo Gold
Larry Gelman