A Special Family

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A Special Family[1]
In The Dark
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Narrative Monologue, 27 minutes
Preceded by: Coma
Followed by: Tomorrow

Ellen was a classmate of mine in high school.

A Special Family is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series In The Dark. It was originally broadcast in 1993.


The story of Ellen, the undistinguished daughter of wealthy parents. She is hospitalized for anorexia, has plastic surgery, vacations in Europa and returns to become attractive and popular. She dates a working class football player, becomes pregnant, elopes, and is disowned by her father. Her husband dies while protecting his retarded brother, who Ellen later marries. They attempt to carefully plan the lives of their children. The first, intended to be a musician, grows up troubled and rebellious, leaves the country as soon as he can and sends them occasional incoherent letters. The second, an intended author, is dyslexic, becomes a beautiful and popular but promiscuous teenager. The third, an intended athlete, is ignored, sets fires as a child, becomes a vandal and shop-lifter. The youngest would-be dancer has heart and lung trouble and allergies. They move to Algiers where the husband gets an important job which he soon loses for incompetence. The 'author' has a child and abandons it to her parents, then commits suicide. Ellen's mother reappears, asks them to care for her new husband's daughter. The husband's retardation worsens, he leaves the family. The 'athlete' goes to prison, has a child and gives it to Ellen. Ellen turns to drink.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with Arthur Miller, and recorded and mixed by Theo Mondle. The editor was Farley Ziegler. Special thanks to Jennifer Ferro."