Release dateMarch 12, 1978 (1978-03-12) WriterDan Curtis (story), Lee Hutson (story), Lee Hutson
When every day was the fourth of july trailer 1978
When Every Day Was the Fourth of July is a 1978 American made-for-television drama film about a Jewish-American family in 1937 Bridgeport, Connecticut. Narrated in first person flashback, the story follows a 12-year-old boy and his family who find themselves defending the town "misfit" after he's accused of murder. The film was written, produced and directed by Dan Curtis, and stars Dean Jones, Geoffrey Lewis, Chris Petersen, and Katy Kurtzman. It was followed by the 1980 ABC television movie sequel The Long Days of Summer.
It's the summer of 1937 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and 12-year-old Daniel Cooper (Chris Petersen) along with his 10-year-old sister Sarah (Katy Kurtzman) are looking forward to summer vacation, most particularly, the annual 4th of July festivities. Sarah soon befriends the town's gentle misfit, Albert Cavanaugh, known by the town's children as "Snowman" (Geoffrey Lewis), a highly decorated and now brain-damaged World War I veteran, after she defends him from the town's resident bully, "Red" Doyle (Eric Shea). When Snowman finds himself accused of a terrible murder, Sarah, believing him to be innocent, convinces her successful attorney father, Ed Cooper (Dean Jones) to defend him. Amid courtroom allegations of communism and insinuations of a potentially inappropriate relationship with Sarah, Ed Cooper and the town's children must try to prove Snowman's innocence, before he can be sentenced to jail for the murder.
Dean Jones ... Ed Cooper
Louise Sorel ... Millie Cooper
Chris Petersen ... Daniel Cooper
Katy Kurtzman ... Sarah Cooper
Harris Yulin ... Prosecutor Joseph Antonelli
Geoffrey Lewis ... Albert Cavanaugh, the "Snowman"
Scott Brady ... Officer Michael Doyle
Ronnie Claire Edwards ... Mrs. Najarian
Ben Piazza ... Herman Grasser
Henry Wilcoxon ... Judge Henry J. Wheeler
Moosie Drier ... Howie Martin
Scott Kimble ... Dave Zimmer
Johnny Timko ... Marty Albert
Tiger Williams ... Charlie Wilson
Eric Shea ... Harold J. "Red" Doyle
Michael Durrell ... Assistant District Attorney
Bruce French ... Court Clerk
Woodrow Parfrey ... Dr. Moss
Michael Pataki ... Robert Najarian
Gloria Calomee ... Clementine
Chris Charney ... Miriam Grasser
George Janek ... Bobby Najarian
John Clavin ... Sergeant Fitzgerald
H.B. Haggerty ... Casey
Ray Nadeau ... Reporter
Charles Aidman ... Narrator (uncredited)
Although fictionalized, Dan Curtis wrote the story based on his own childhood growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with the character of Danny representing himself as a child. Many of the characters are based on real people Curtis knew growing up, including Danny and Sarah's friends in the film, who are each named after Curtis' own childhood friends, however, Curtis did not have a sister, and instead, the role of Sarah was based on co-writer/producer Lee Hutson's sister of the same name.
Curtis had originally wanted to shoot the film in his childhood hometown of Bridgeport, but for financial and logistical reasons, the decision was made to film in California, using Echo Park, Los Angeles for the outdoor "neighborhood" scenes.
Just one day before principal photography was set to begin, Curtis had still yet to find a boy who was right for the part of Harold "Red" Doyle, when veteran child actor Eric Shea came in to read for the role and was hired on the spot. 17 years old at the time of filming, this would be Shea's final role before leaving show business.
Matt Groening has stated that his first job in Los Angeles was as an extra in this film.