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Home Fires aired from June until July 1992 on NBC.

This family " worry-com" from the producers of St. Elsewhere opened each episode with its family , appropriately in therapy. Not that the Kramers really had much to worry about, with their nice pleasant life in a nice pleasant suburb. But Dad ( Teddy, played by Michael Brandon), fretted about his inability to bond with his kids, Mom ( Anne, played by Kate Burton), pined for her lost youth as a social activist, boy-crazy Libby( Nicole Eggert), wanted her independence, and Jesse ( Jarrad Paul), wanted nothing more from life than a new Ferrari. Anne's busybody mother, Nana ( Alice Hirson), drove everyone crazy. Mike ( Tyagi Schartz), was Libby's current boyfriend, whose dad dropped dead in the 4th episode, putting the Kramers complaints in some perspective.

NBC ran 3 episodes of this summer entry in one week and 3 more over the following 3 weeks. Then it was gone.

An Article from the Washington Post

By Patricia Brennan June 21, 1992

Yes, Kate Burton is the legendary Richard's daughter. She's done several Broadway plays, one movie and not much television, although two of her small-screen productions were with him.

That out of the way, she'd rather talk about NBC's "Home Fires," airing in an unusual pattern: three installments, on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9:30, with the remainder scheduled for three more Saturdays in a row.

Burton plays Anne Kramer and Michael Brandon is her husband, Teddy, with Nicole Eggert as Libby, 18, and Jarrad Paul as Jesse, 14. Alice Hirson is Anne's mother, Nana; Tyagi Schwartz plays Libby's boyfriend, Mike, and Norman Lloyd is the family therapist, Fredrick Marcus. Two handsome golden retrievers are Nick and Nora, the family pets.

It's a series that Burton calls "different, but not radically different." Given the bickering that pervades the early shows -- the series title carries a double meaning -- one wonders if the series will turn into "Kramer vs. Kramer." But Burton was reassuring, saying that the six installments will present relationships among various characters, but not disintegrating relationships.

Unfortunately, the series is equipped with a laugh track that viewers could well do without and seems particularly intrusive during the counseling sessions that open each episode.

The Kramers' house is built around a courtyard, with two-story window-walls. That allows more imaginative camera work than most sets, and it makes the point, as the camera follows them from room to room, that the family members live together, but separately.

The show was once considered a mid-season replacement but was shelved because it isn't a traditional sitcom.

"Home Fires" comes from The Paltrow Group -- Tom Fontana, John Tinker and Bruce Paltrow -- producers of NBC's "St. Elsewhere," where Lloyd played hospital administrator Daniel Auschlander.

"Because this is a Paltrow show, it depends on a combination of critical and audience response," she explained. "The pilot had some interesting, complicated things about it, and some of these characters were not so endearing. When they tested the pilot, people didn't know how to deal with us. We seemed like the cranky family.

"So one of the things we did was to really find those endearing things in each of the characters. At first we were a little bit rocky, but within a day of shooting, we fell right into it."

Burton, 34, appears as a woman described in NBC's advance material as "a '60s radical-turned-homemaker" with children 18 and 14. It was a role that her agent didn't think she'd get.

"When I was cast in 'Home Fires,' my agent said, 'You're kidding,'" she related. "They sent me 'Home Fires' on the Tuesday night I arrived in Los Angeles. Got the script at midnight. They wanted to see me at noon. I said, 'Guys, I'm too young for this,' but they said, 'We're looking for a certain quality ...' Within less than 48 hours, the same day I auditioned for 'Home Fires,' I went to play baseball for 'A League of Their Own.' Alas, I didn't play well enough." She didn't get the movie role, but she did win her spot in the TV series.

Paul, who Burton said lives with his parents in Miami, apparently has almost no resume, but he's got a bright future and carries the Thursday episode.

Anne Kramer's 60-ish mother, slender and youthful in appearance, frequently undermines her daughter's authority and then accuses her of maintaining a poor relationship with Libby.

"She is our one classic, outrageous character and she says the most astonishing things, including incredibly racist remarks," said Burton. "We look at her as though she's totally insane, wacky in a major way."

Kate Burton comes by her acting talent naturally. Born in Geneva, she is the child of two Welsh-born actors, Burton and Sybil Williams Burton, who met on the set of an Emlyn Williams movie. When Kate was 5, Burton left his wife of 14 years for his "Cleopatra" co-star, Elizabeth Taylor. Sybil Burton took her daughter to New York and opened Manhattan's first celebrity discotheque, Arthur, where Kate came to do her homework after school. Sybil Burton married actor/musician Jordan Christopher and, when Kate was 10, gave her a sister, Amy.

For a few weeks each summer, Kate visited her father, whom she called Dada, and Liz, sometimes on movie sets, sometimes on yachts. She said she is friendly with her former stepmother.

Richard Burton had been enrolled at Oxford University for six months, his daughter said, and wanted her to be the family's first college graduate and a writer. "He was an incredible snob about where I should go to college," she said.

Kate had attended the United Nations School in New York and was thinking of a career in diplomacy, so she chose to study history and Russian at Brown and appear in theatrical productions. But eventually both writing and diplomacy fell by the wayside when, with her mother's encouragement, she decided to act on a professor's suggestion that she follow the family trade. She earned a master's degree in fine arts at Yale School of Drama, passing her apartment along to actress Jodie Foster, a Yale undergrad.

"The first year at Brown was hard," she recalled, "because I knew I wanted to act. But to become an actress is such a capricious choice, and I had such a good {academic} background, that I knew it had to be something that I absolutely had to do. I wish there was was something else I wanted to do as much, but I don't really, to be truthful. I'm having a nice time; I'm enjoying my work. But I don't think I would do this if I did not enjoy it so much. There's too much rejection and difficulty. I don't know if I want to be hustling around and doing auditions at 55.

"You have to look at your life as an open book," she said, "and there are other things I'd like to do. I've thought about working in the environment. I'm a very organized mover-and-shaker type of person. I also have been working with the 52nd Street Project, working with kids from Hell's Kitchen. They write plays and we write plays and they act in them."

Burton makes her home outside New York City with son Morgan and husband Michael Ritchie, a stage manager and producer. They were married in a chapel at Celigny, Switzerland, in 1985, less than a year after her father's funeral there. After the wedding, she visited his grave. Because she had studied Russian since she was 13, the couple spent part of their honeymoon in the then-Soviet Union.

Ritchie was stage manager at the Circle in the Square Theater when she arrived in 1982, the day after she was graduated from Yale, to begin rehearsals for Noel Coward's "Present Laughter." The play, produced by and starring George C. Scott, was her Broadway debut. Her father had never seen her act before, and when she won the Theatre World Award as most promising newcomer, he presented it to her. Later, when he and Taylor were appearing in "Private Lives," they made a point of seeing her in Brian Friel's "Winners," which was playing at an off-Broadway theater.

By 1986, she had done four Broadway plays, adding "Wild Honey" with Ian McKellen, "Doonesbury" (she was J.J.), and the musical version of "Alice in Wonderland." Her father was reportedly upset by disparaging remarks from New York Times' theater critic Frank Rich, and when "Alice" was made into a television version, he made a cameo appearance as the White Knight. He also appeared with her in the 1984 miniseries, "Ellis Island," her small-screen debut.

In 1986, Burton did her only feature film, the mediocre "Big Trouble in Little China," then returned to the stage, doing regional theater. Two years ago, she got a Drama Desk nomination for "Some Americans Abroad" at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Currently she's appearing in New York in Neil Simon's "Jake's Women" with Alan Alda.

An Article from the Chicago Tribune

Dad On Nbc`s New `Home Fires` Calls It `father Knows Nothing`
June 27, 1992|By Thomas D. Elias, Scripps-Howard News Service.

HOLLYWOOD — To some, the new NBC sitcom ``Home Fires`` may look like a ``Father Knows Best`` for the 1990s.

But not to Michael Brandon, the amiable, bumbling patriarch of this summer series that made its debut at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and will be seen at 8:30 p.m. Saturdays on WMAQ-Ch. 5.

``This is really `Father Knows Nothing,` `` Brandon says with a grin, over lunch in a Hollywood eatery. ``But at least he`s an authority on it.``

Brandon`s own life has lately taken on some of the hard-luck qualities that plague fictional paterfamilias Teddy Kramer.

Brandon moved back to Los Angeles from London a few months ago after spending three years playing a New York detective assigned to Scotland Yard in the British TV series ``Dempsey and Makepeace.`` (His wife, Glynis Barber, played Makepeace.)

``For me, it`s a switch to come back to comedy,`` says Brandon, who has starred in dramas opposite Maureen Stapleton, Shirley MacLaine, Anthony Hopkins and Diane Keaton. ``But this show is something special. It has a real texture.``

Part of the program`s unique quality, he says, is that viewers see the separate realities in the lives of Kramer, his wife (Kate Burton) and their teenage kids (played by Nicole Eggert and Jarrad Paul).

``Each one lives in their own world,`` Brandon said. ``I once asked Bruce Paltrow, who also produced `St. Elsewhere,` what the common denominator is and he said, `The roof.` I think that`s like any family.``

Brandon, 45, and his wife don`t yet have a family of their own, but he remembers his family and his father`s peculiarities very well. ``He owned a service station in Brooklyn, right across the street from Ebbets Field. He used to carry Sylvester Stallone back when Sly couldn`t afford to pay his bills. Boy, times have sure changed.``

And Brandon says he sometimes feels like teaching his screen son the same lessons his dad taught him. ``But I can`t. This is the `90s and times have changed.``

If `90s families act like the Kramers, times certainly have changed.

In one scene, Kramer`s 14-year-old son fantasizes about sex with his French tutor. In another, his college freshman daughter announces she`s bringing a boyfriend home for the weekend and he`ll sleep in her room.

``I`m a father who grew up in the sexual revolution, and now I have to hear my daughter tell me this. I don`t think there`s ever been a show quite like it,`` Brandon says. ``It`s like one line Kate has where she says, `I`ve never been the mother of a 14-year-old before,` and Jarrad answers, `I`ve never been a 14-year-old before.` ``

To read some articles about Home Fires go to and and

For Michael Brandon's Official Website go to

For a Website dedicated to Nicole Eggert go to

For some Home Fires-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to
Date: Sun April 17, 2016 � Filesize: 74.3kb, 299.1kbDimensions: 1257 x 1390 �
Keywords: Home Fires Cast (Links Updated 7/29/18)


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